View Full Version : Aspects Of Composition

06-10-2003, 01:48 PM
Great article Jackie, i have just finished that chapter in your book, thank you for sharing with everyone.:clap:

06-10-2003, 02:58 PM
:D Sorry...in case anyone is wondering what i am talking about go here...


06-10-2003, 11:28 PM
I found this article so helpful.
I am a brand new member & have been painting just 12 months. I have a mock-up of a proposed painting to ask advice about the element of composition.

I will attempt to attach the file here.

I want the Captain of the boat to be the focal point.
He is actually around a quarter into the scene as part of the picture is cut off. There is some of the sea & a distant island behind him.

thank you

tricia migdoll

PS On preview, the attachment is not showing - what have I not done.?

Kathryn Wilson
06-10-2003, 11:37 PM
Bikki: Did you use the "Uploader" at the top of the page? Find your image in the Browse box, upload the image, copy the image URL, open a "New Reply" box in the thread you want to attach the image, and paste or image URL into it.

Hope this helps - :cat:

06-11-2003, 12:46 AM
thanks Kat

this didn't work for me as the file is too large - i don't know how to reduce it in my default imaging thingy. ( lost my good one recently)

However, could i email it to someone & they can load it for me.?



06-11-2003, 12:55 AM
I had an idea to post it to my web page.

maybe this will work.?



06-11-2003, 04:45 AM
hello Tricia

If your image is too large, the Uploader should tell you that it has resized it and you should still then be able to capture the image callout code and paste it into your post.

I hope you don't mind but I've taken the liberty of doing it for you so that others can see your image without having to click on the link.


If you want to post this also to the Composition and Design forum [which might be a good idea], copy the code below and then all you'll need to do is paste it into your post there [WITHOUT any of the spaces I've put in, tho. If I'd left them in, the image would just have come up again rather than the code]:

[ IMG ] http:// www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jun-2003/13865-dreamboat. jpg [ /IMG ]

Hope this helps.

I'm off now to read 'Aspects of Composition' :)

06-11-2003, 10:33 AM
Composition is one aspect of painting that really gives me the heebie-jeebies ... I don't have much of a clue about it ... it seems very hard to set up a still life and know whether anything's right about it. So thank you for writing this article, which makes the elements of composition seem a little less mysterious.

In particular, that the distribution of light and dark values works in combination with shapes and colours as part of a picture's composition is quite a new thing for me.

I remember saying at the time of painting my copy of the Degas bather that I was at least able to recognise the echoing shapes, but that there was surely more going on in the composition than I was aware of. I am going back to the picture to analyse what precisely gives it that "something secret and special" you refer to.


06-11-2003, 11:21 AM
Great article Jackie!
I've printed it out and will refer to it often. I have used some of the techniques quite deliberately but often forget to think about some of the more subtle techniques you explained so well. . .you know, such things as more closely defining the focal point purely through the use of complementaries.

I'd be keen to see how others have used these techniques deliberately in their work. Although that could be another thread altogether maybe??? :rolleyes: sheesh . .seem to be doing THAT a lot lately!! LOL

Anyway, Congrats!!

06-11-2003, 01:02 PM
This is a fab article .....very much like the chapter in the book .....but a bit more personal.......I am working through the book now.......and composition is one aspect i find quite hard.......
pity Jackie has stopped doing live teaching......i would run to a real workshop with her!

06-11-2003, 01:35 PM
Thanks Jackie!

This is the sort of stuff I've been learning from a myriad of sources, and it's great to see it all combined in an easy to read essay with examples. Definately worth visiting and revisiting. :)

- Greg

06-11-2003, 01:39 PM
Again a super article from Jackie.

Easy to follow and really helpful !

Craig Houghton
06-11-2003, 02:21 PM
I'd like to take this opportunity to THANK YOU Jackie. That summary article was absolutely the best introduction to composition I've ever read. I know I've seen a thing or two here and there in the various books I've read, but I've never felt I had a real grasp fo the basic elements of composition until now. Thank you, thank you, and THANK YOU!


06-12-2003, 07:24 AM
Ooer, I am blushing! Thanks for all the praise, just glad some of you found it helpful.

As for the mock-up pic of the boat with all the people in it........... as far as "focal points" goes, my eye is not instantly drawn to the Captain, I am afraid. In fact,my eye is drawn to the area of most intense colour, in a picture which is fairly light on colour, and tone, in general, and that is the tall guy with a girl in a yellow dress in front of him. The profile of the tall guy also attracts attention, as it is quite dark and I find my eye drawn down from his profile into the darkness of the girl's hair. Look at this picture through half-closed eyes, and you will see what I mean. Squinting is a very useful tool. I realise you will work with more colour in the real pic, but I had to make this observation based on what you've posted so far.

I assume the Captain is the one behind the wheel. He actually is not one-quarter of the way into the rectangle, he is within a few centimetres of the left-hand edge. Divide the rectangle into quarters, width-ways, and you will see this. His positioning isn't great, if you want him to have real importance. So sorry to be so negative! It is hard to advise further without seeing your reference material.

If you pushed this mock-up further, adding all the appropriate tones to get a sense of the light/dark pattern in the image, you might be able to see what is happening a little better. However, the positioning of the Captain is always going to be tricky, right there at the edge of the pic.


06-12-2003, 07:09 PM
Loved the article Jackie. Thanks so much for doing this for all of us.

06-13-2003, 05:39 AM
Dear E-J

thanks for the suggestion - alas - it did not work for me.

I guess I will just have to trust in my own judgement .... yikes.!!


tricia ( aka Biki)

06-13-2003, 02:58 PM
Everyone must learn to trust their own judgement, I agree Biki.

However...............you can always learn something from others, to add to your experience, so that your judgement improves!!


06-13-2003, 05:43 PM
Read your article a few days ago Jackie -printed it out and keep going back to it !!!!!! I really appreciate the way you have of explaining things. Sometimes people write things and you think -huh what are they talking about???????? but you put things across in 'real' language with great clarity :)

06-14-2003, 04:09 AM
Thanks so much for that, DT. I do work hard, when I write, at writing as I talk, rather than blinding with science! I believe in the motto KISS (which is Keep It Simple, - tho the lasts S is stupposed to be Stupid, which is a bit offensive, sorry! No offense meant!)

I have to do my research before doingany writing, and I learn a lot as I go along. There is so much out there to learn, we are so lucky.


06-16-2003, 07:39 AM
Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us in such a clear, concise way!

I just started working watercolors in January, after an 18 year hiatus in which I worked in oils. I've found I paint much more intimate subjects in wc than oils, and have been struggling with composition. I think your article will be a big help to me.

Again, thank you!