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Compositional Devices 14-15 Art I

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lola lola

on 15 September 2014

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Transcript of Compositional Devices 14-15 Art I


This is one of the most important things that you can learn as an artist!

It is the STRUCTURE OF A PICTURE – how the elements and principles are laid out on the page.

How YOU select and organize lines, shapes, value, etc….AND how you use the Elements of Art and Principles of Design!

Focal Point...The Center of Interest

Most compositions are built around a main
focal point

Focal Points are created many ways...
...Making something stand
apart from its' surrounding area

- Contrast of Size

- Contrast of Color

- Contrast of Value

- Contrast of Texture
Focal Point May Be Emphasized
Through Lead- In Lines
(Converging Lines) or (S-Curves)
A center of interest or
focal point may be created
through rhythm or
of an element such as line,
to bring the eye to the
focal point.
A successful composition involves a balance of unity and diversity
Compositions may be a
symmetrical or asymmetrical
balance of masses.

Good composition involves
looking at
mass, visual weight of objects and
color values.
In addition to planning a focal point, the artist must consider the placement of objects around it.

Artists may use the golden mean, rule of thirds (which is a modified golden mean), or other grids to plan the design.
A viewfinder can be helpful in planning compositions
and in helping determining what portion of an image to include in a painting. Moving the viewfinder in and out can help the artist to visualize what size to make the subject,
and how much to crop.
When planning a composition, ask yourself:

What do I want to emphasize?

How will I emphasize it?

Where will I place it? (on a grid, triangle, etc)

What elements should be diverse?

What elements should be unified?

What type of balance will the design have (formal, informal or radial?)

What visual weight do the objects have?

What kinds of spaces exist around the objects?

How should the viewer's eye travel around the design?
Henri Matisse: The Red Studio, 1911. Matisse said, "The whole effect of my paintings depends on composition. The place occupied by figures and objects, the empty spaces around them, their proportions, each has its place.
Sometimes compositions are
planned using geometric shapes
such as a triangle, ellipse, V or L
to place objects.
Some artists, like Wasily Kandinsky even
titled their paintings "Compositions".
This is called, "Composition #8".
Asymmetrical Balance
Formal Balance (Symmetry)
Image Format

Portrait or Landscape

Depending on what your subject matter is, you will want to choose how to orient your paper.


By far, the most well-known design rule
If you divide the paper into thirds, objects should be places where the ‘thirds’ cross.
Again, stay away from putting things into the center of the paper!

More “rules”…

Avoid dividing the picture plane in half…
Unequal divisions are more interesting and less monotonous

Bad Good
Rules for creating successful works of art.
Once you get to know how to use them, then you can break them!!!
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