Painting Composition 2 – Cranes Dancing

In reading about composition in my painting book I also read some of the things NOT to do in composing a picture:

  • Don’t let edges just touch – it can confuse the viewer spacially.
  • Don’t let lines for different objects join to look like the same line – that can be confusing.
  • Don’t make accidental star shapes in the picture because they draw the eye and can also be distracting
  • Don’t have objects or people which face out of the picture  – they draw the viewer’s focus away.
  • Don’t have objects directly on top of one another  – it looks a bit odd.
  • Having objects too far apart at opposite sides of the paper with nothing much in the middle looks odd too.
  • Avoid putting everything together in a tight space becuase this looks odd too.  I think this is because this is not the way things normally lie on a surface  when they’ve been put down in nature – one or two objects nearly always move further away from the rest.
  • And finally don’t put two object too close together without allowing them to touch as it can create a distracting tension.

Having read all of these my feeling is that the unwanted effects of some of these things could, perhaps,  be used actively in the right picture.  For instance – the tension between two objects which don’t quite touch could be distracting in the wrong place, but it could equally be used, I think, if the picture warrents it.

So here is a picture I’ve made which breaks the rule. It’s a picture of two cranes dancing in courtship.  Because it’s a courtship I want there to be a tension between the two creatures – so having them close but not touching is perfect.

Here’ my sketch:



Here’s my background (sorry it’s so badly lit – it’s a very dark day today where I live):



And here’s my finished picture (properly lit artificially):



This is going to be my last post for a week as I’m in the process of moving house and I have a lot of preparation to do.  So I’m going to be taking a week off.  After that I’ll be posting three times a week instead of five to keep on top of the work I need to do at home.  I might keep it like that or I kmight go back to five times a week once I’m settled.




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