View Full Version : Idea: Splitting composition

09-27-2008, 12:24 PM
Hi all,

In my "to paint" list there's a photo of red peppers at the market, that is full of details. I knew I wanted to paint it big, but didn't have the space or time to do it right. But while looking at the details, I zoomed in the photo and started scrolling around, and found that many possible crops within the photo have a decent composition on their own.

So this is my idea: I'll split the large painting into 4-5 smaller paintings, each painted on its own canvas, as a seperate piece. When I'll manage to finish them all, I could (If I wanted to) hang them all together and have my original larger painting.

Here's the draft for the splitted composition:

And here are the seperate pieces:





What do you think? Is splitting a good idea? Do the seperated compositions look good on their own?

09-27-2008, 12:32 PM
Interesting idea to split them up! Not so good at comp here...will wait and see what others say. :)

09-27-2008, 12:43 PM
I like the idea of splitting it up, but like susan said the comp isn't the best.... maybe to much plastic tote???

09-27-2008, 12:52 PM
What you haven't told us Assaf is how large the end painting/grouping will be?
I would imagine that it might be easier to do if you split it into two or three canvas'.
The original photograph shape suggests a triptych (sp) would be perfect, this way you can work on all three at the same time. (ensuring the colours would match up.)

09-27-2008, 12:56 PM
I'm partial to the 1st, 3rd, and 4th crops. Such a lively bunch of peppers you've got to work with. :)

Lady Carol
09-27-2008, 01:04 PM
Good idea on making smaller paintings from one large.

09-27-2008, 02:04 PM
I think they do look good on their own... I'm not sure how they'd look 'put together' though, ya might play around with them on a 'blank sheet' and see how it looks that way...

A very interesting idea to say the least... I like it! And I love the colors and can't wait to see how ya do it.

Is that a photo you took yourself? My husband has actually been to Herzliya a few times for work, and was wondering if that was a 'local market' shot... It's definitely a nice photo...

09-27-2008, 02:35 PM
The forth one down from top would make an awesome 24x12 on its own. I love the cool blue tray right at the front with the vivd greens on the top containing the warmth in the middle. Even so if you did all of them it would look great too!

Bright Eyes
09-27-2008, 03:09 PM
I think it is a great idea! You could even just split the original into four equal pictures and do four paintings of them. From looking at your reference photo there looks like there is enough going on in each quarter section that this could work. Tweaks with light and color could define a focal point in each quarter section painting. So that seperatly each individual painting would be a work of art in itself. Then if you did decide to hang them together they would look really neat because they would make a whole new picture combined. If you did one painting slightly brighter than the others it would be the focal area of the four together. Anyways, whatever you decide to do with it be sure to post! This looks like a great project!!:thumbsup:

09-27-2008, 05:14 PM
number 5 is the best for me..I 'd just keep this one..

09-27-2008, 08:34 PM
I actully like several of the cropped versions better than the whole. It might still be interesting to see how they all looked together, though, expecially if there was just a little space between them.

I love the colors and all the movement. This is a really good reference photo. It will be fun to paint.

09-28-2008, 02:27 AM
I would rather prefer you imagine a completely new scene out from these, and not just split and copy. what's the point? They are good enough as photos. I miss imagination and creativity. You copy well enough. What about creating.

09-28-2008, 02:46 AM
Each of us create in our own way, Ronni...

09-28-2008, 02:51 AM
Well, thanks for the comments everyone!
Susme48 and Paetau, I'm glad you approve.
Kathleen, I thought about a triptych but had to vote against, since a triptych usually needs to be hung together. I have another idea for a triptych that involves a beach, but it's a topic of another thread. This idea was about splitting the image to more then 3 almost identical sections, and I can color-match it well enough in 5 pieces. It will be easier to paint.
Linda, thanks for the comment. I actually like all of them (even the little one with the corner of the crate) so I know they'll be a treat to paint.
Lady Carol, Thanks.
Kat, it is a photo I took myself, but that grocer has closed since (it was taken about 5 years ago). You can see fresh vegetables outside everywhere you go in Herzliya, so I'm not in short supply. If you want a market, though, I recommend Tel-Aviv's.
RichDFischer, thanks. That one was the only one I had doubts on, since it was very big in its own right. I'm glad you approve.
Bright Eyes, I rather not have the paintings in the same size - it's not a good split, I think. But I'm glad you like the idea.
Clementine, it seems that everyone likes another crop - which is good news for me, sice I can guarantee they will be hung together.
Tiasa, I didn't think about hanging them with space between them, but now I think it's an excellent idea. No need to "hide" the seams.
Ronni - I do a lot of fantasy and Sci-Fi work, sketches from imagination and whatnot - but I also like to work from reference. I almost never think of my work as copying - I change the image a lot from reference to painting. Only on rare cases I copy 1-to-1, usually in commisions. So I create. But thanks for the compliment on my copying skills, I take it kindly.

09-28-2008, 01:03 PM
I like the idea of breaking it up to the different photos you have there, the only one I am not sure about is the last one. I would lake each of those composition ideas convert them to black and white on your pPC and and evaluate them one more time. then go for it!

09-28-2008, 01:10 PM
I've done that, had four separate paintings that kind of connected and hung together. :) it works.

what would be fun is to have them not make a square or rectangle, but a different shape when they were all hung together to give it even more visual interest. :)

09-28-2008, 02:35 PM
Interesting idea. I just recently downloaded a program called Rasterbator which will take a photo and then enlarge it across several sheets of paper and save it as a .pdf document. I thought it would be a great tool to enlarge sketches and to transfer them to a bigger canvas without using a grid. You can print your image rasterized and try it out. Here's the site to get the free program and to check out the raster gallery. http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator/
It prints the photos in little Seurat-like dots so if you want a very clear image you have to set the dot setting to 1 or 2. It also gives you color vs black and white options. It would be quick way to see if you would like splitting your composition as you suggested and is a great way to enlarge photos even to wall size. The software is very simple to use.

09-29-2008, 02:48 AM
Marybeth, I already comitted to the split, but the contrast idea is important. I printed the photo in black and white to do some thinking on the subject.
Kathy, thanks for the comment. It's good to know it worked for someone.
Artchrispy, thanks too. My problem is not with the copying, but with the size of the work. The whole painting will be 2 meters by 1.5 meters. That is definitly bigger then I ever done before, so I cannot be sure I'll find a way to deal with it. But I made a start - yesterday I ordered the canvases. Surprisingly no to expensive.

10-24-2008, 04:21 PM
Well, I went for it. After ordering the canvases, I tried to keep them apart so they wouldn't damage while I paint. I just found a nick on one of them today, I may have to replace it. Here they all are, before I started painting:


I finished the small one in the middle first, and I enjoyed working with so many reds. I turned our a bit like this (the camera colors are, as always, a bit off):


It's darker then this, I tried balancing it and this was tghe best result.

I finished the second piece today. I was on a roll. I try not to finish each painting until all the pieces are done - like some of you suggested, I need to make sure the paintings work well in a group, and not just individually.


The second part was just as much fun, and the painting just flowed without stopping. I put them both together on the floor, in relation, so I could see how they fit. The top one is still very wet, so it appears lighter then the bottom one:


Comments are most welcome.

10-24-2008, 04:42 PM
Wow! This is going to be amazing when complete if your first two are any indication!

10-24-2008, 05:05 PM
Amen to what Coralie said...this is great so far!! Lots of work, but worth it in the end!!

10-24-2008, 05:59 PM
This is going to be very special. Looking outstanding so far.

10-24-2008, 06:14 PM
Indeed, very very interesting... :thumbsup::thumbsup:

10-24-2008, 06:41 PM
Wow... even just the two together are great! I think you have something great going here!

10-24-2008, 06:42 PM
This is looking very good Assaf.
Once finished you will have a wonderful work here.
It will look spectaculst with spacing between the canvas'

George Servais
10-24-2008, 10:04 PM
Why not? Perhaps if you printed each photo then hug them together you could get a better idea of how it may look. I have seen this done before (not with this subject matter) but it worked out fine (providing you can keep the color consistent). Spread out on a wall not necessarily close together but in order looks pretty cool.

10-25-2008, 05:42 AM
Chia, I've started working on the third - the bottom left piece. I hope it willl turn out right.
Susan, I feel good about the painting, and I hope that it will turn out well.
Artchrispy and Robert, thanks. I hope that by the time it will be done, and I make the finishing layer on all the pieces, It will be even more interesting.
Kathy, I think so too. It's hard to explain to people around me why a 4 by 6 feet painting of 130 peppers is a good idea, and I'm very glad you like it.
Kathleen, I will hang it with spacing - but I correct the painting pieces when they are squeezed together, so I wil be sure they work well as a group.
George, good idea.

Barbara WC
10-25-2008, 11:31 AM
What a great idea! I personally think the cropped versions result in better compositions than the whole photo.

The numbers with the best compositions are 1, 3 and 4 from the top. I especially like 1 and 4.

About 2 and 5. I think they would work if you could tweak them a bit. #2 has a dead space in the lower left corner because of the crates. If you could either make the crates much more interesiting, such as painting in vibrant colors to stand out and not hide them, or fill in with more peppers, I think it would work. I also think 5 has too much of the crate showing, but that one would be easy to fix, again painting the crate in vibrant colors to not hide them or add more peppers. Now that I think of it, because of the hard edges of the crates, it might be intersting to make them stand out (not in black, but something colorful), thus creating a contrast with the color and the soft, curved edges of the peppers.

The nice thing about your idea is you can either hang together or seperately. I've thought about doing something similar, but not on this scale.


10-26-2008, 08:20 AM
Thanks Barbara. I have to say, I actually like the black boxes - they provide a strong constrast to the reds, and serve as an anchor for the whole painting (darker at the bottom). I do like the sections with a lot of peppers in them, but I think the greater risk for me is to overburden the viewer with too many objects. By having sections with less color in them, I can better direct the attention of the viewer to where I want.
What was you project (that was not in scale)?

11-01-2008, 05:48 PM
Update: Another Saturday goes by, and section 3 is done.


All through the process, I keep positioning the "finished" pieces on the floor to make cross-section corrections. This was taken when I started the third section.

And this is the finished section. I hope it came out balanced on its own. The colors are off in the photo, so you cannot see the greens I layed down in the shadowed area.



11-01-2008, 06:19 PM
Keep up the good work. :thumbsup:

11-01-2008, 06:25 PM
Assaf, This is SPECTULAR!
The completed work is going to be something else!
You have matched the colours up perfectly, and I cannot imagine that is easy to do when one is not working on it all the time.
Who says "Keep up the good work!"

11-01-2008, 07:38 PM
Phenomenal. And so creative. And just look at the pallet! You're not afraid of squirting out that color. :) Oh, and the crate work is right on.

11-01-2008, 08:00 PM
This is turning out to be a really great picture! I love all the reds and greens and the jumble of peppers. It is interesting to see how the pieces fit together. Because they are on separate canvases I can still see the composition of each piece. I also like the blackness of the container and the red squares in the container. It provides relief from all the redness and all the curves in the peppers. :clap: :clap:

11-01-2008, 09:00 PM
This is Fabulous!! I just love this idea and its realy looking great together!! like a puzzle!! can't wait to see it all together!! LOVE it already!!

11-01-2008, 09:15 PM
This is really, really spectacular, Assaf!

11-01-2008, 11:05 PM
Wow! I think this is going to be sooooo cool! Ruthie

11-02-2008, 07:06 AM
:wave: Wow Assaf! This is spectacular! I can't wait to see the finished group. Very unique idea and you're doing a fantastic job painting these!:thumbsup: :D


11-30-2008, 10:17 AM
All right, another update: This is section no. 4.

I like the green dominance in this one. It's the best example of the color composition I'm trying to make in this painting.
I did not finish it (true to all the 4 section so far) so I can make corrections later, when the large fifth part will be painted. I may need to interject another painting in-between (some housewarming gift I promised 2 months ago), so it could be a while until I get all 5 paintings and start finishing them.

I can't wait.

11-30-2008, 11:35 AM
If I ate peppers....these would look good enough to eat!! Wonderful colors!

11-30-2008, 11:45 AM
Thanks Susan. I'll try to post a picture of all 4 sections together (they close a square, and I liked looking at it). Maybe I'll get a chance tomorrow morning, with the sunlight.

I need to think about varnish - something reliable, very clear and possibly shiny. Any ideas?

11-30-2008, 04:12 PM
Well, double post it is. Here is the current state of the paintings, put together:

I don't like the values as they are now. I pulled out the color just to see the problem:


I need to brighten the orange peppers a bit, and create stronger shadows in the middle and in the apple stacks in the back. What do you think?

11-30-2008, 04:28 PM
I'd be careful of creating darker shadows in the apple stacks in back. You wouldn't want them to compete with the peppers. As they are now, they don't. It's looking great! I like how the yellow pepper is the focal and the rest draw the eye around. Lightening the values of the orange peppers in the front may help with that even more.

11-30-2008, 05:29 PM
Assaf, fabulous job! Each one looks great on it's own and together they look amazing. Wonderful compositions and great colour on the peppers!

12-01-2008, 05:13 AM
Thanks Linda, that excellent advice. I will do as you say - leave the apples as is value-wise (possible make them a bit more magenta), and highlight the orange peppers.

I like the fact there's only one dark-green pepper and only one yellow. It's interesting to see how this colors lead the eye.

Lillian, thanks so much for the support. I'm really hoping this will turn up as beautiful as you suggest.

Currently I have to put this massive project on hold, while I do another painting (watercolor, so I won't post it here). It may be a while, up to weeks, before I get back to the intimidating no. 5.

12-01-2008, 12:33 PM
Assef, My mind boggles at this project!
What a superb job you have done so far.
I do hope you like Peppers, as you must be dreaming about them!
What a fabulous project!

12-01-2008, 12:53 PM
I think this looks great!

12-01-2008, 02:20 PM
Thanks Kathleen! and I do dream about them, this is why I'm taking a little break - I need to catch some air with no peppers in it.
And thanks LevenderFrost, I'm glad you like it. I like your rainbow series, which is now in your signature, a lot.

12-01-2008, 02:38 PM
Fantastic, ambitious project Assaf - you're doing a wonderful job.

12-01-2008, 08:25 PM
Great project and fantastic output so far. Love the vibrancy in the pieces, so much of life!

12-02-2008, 04:56 PM
Thanks Celeste, it's so nice to hear you comment on my stuff. I like your new abstract style, congratulations on the new show too.

Thanks, Nithya. I really like playing with the reds in these paintings - I paint with 5 different reds, and just love the way they complement each other without much change in value. I think that's what gives it the lively look.

I started working on the new watercolor, trying to let the paintings lie in the corner and cure a bit. It's tempting to keep on working on them, but I'll withstand it for now.

04-25-2009, 05:18 AM
Well, it's almost over. I finished the first layer on the 5th piece, and hanged the whole copmosite together on the living room wall. Now I paint it as it hangs, which is far better then aby other arrangement I had.
I think that with some good work today, I may finish this soon.
Just to show the size. Once I finish all 5 pieces I will hang this with a little space in between the paintings, but this will do for now.


And a shot of the current state of the paintings. You can see which one I finished first from the value shift - it's substantial.

Hope for a finishing update soon. The is the painting that took me the longest to make.

04-25-2009, 07:42 AM
very nicely done IMHO. A lot of work in there.

04-25-2009, 10:54 AM
WOWwowWOW!!! I'm impressed! And you have the perfect walls for art.

04-25-2009, 11:31 AM
Assaf, where have you been? Wow, seeing it on the wall like that really shows its size. You must be a careful painter to be painting it on your living room wall. :lol:

04-25-2009, 11:43 AM
wow this is awesome.. love it!!

04-25-2009, 12:45 PM
What about a quad, cropping off some of the front container??
Just my take

04-25-2009, 01:10 PM
I was wondering if you had ever finished this! Wow, it looks fabulous on your wall!

04-25-2009, 01:53 PM
Impressive indeed!! :thumbsup:

04-25-2009, 02:03 PM
stunning !! ... quite the project !! ... kudos to you for rising to this challenge !! .... i hope you like peppers following the completion of this ... :lol: ... if i might be able to suggest something at this late stage, i'd suggest incorporating more highlights on them ... i imagine they were under a canopy in real life but think it would be more spectacular if they were like this in direct sunlight and just shine !! ... taking a pepper or two into bright sunlight might give you an idea how the brightest highlights might lay on their surfaces ... :angel:

04-25-2009, 02:40 PM
This is the best idea and you've pulled it off spectacularly...I love, love, love
each panel alone but together..to me that's creative Pow! Amazing!


04-25-2009, 03:20 PM
Simply spectacular! What a mammoth project and what a stunning output! It looks so gorgeous on the wall. Kudos to you.

Lady Carol
04-25-2009, 03:40 PM
Wow, amazing

04-25-2009, 04:22 PM
Magnificent Assaf!
A monumental work that is coming together so perfectly.
Once done, the time you spent painting this grouping will be the best you have ever invested.

04-25-2009, 07:01 PM
Thanks everyone! I only need to do the color and value balance. Some of the peppers need to be a little more orange, others a bit more magenta, some darks and lights to guide the eye... I'm only pleased with the area surrounding the yellow pepper in the middle. I hope that tomorrow or the day after that I may get a few hours to wrap it up properly.

It did take much longer then any other painting, and I want to thank you for your patience - I only have a little left nowdays.

Chestnut Tree Cafe
04-26-2009, 05:48 PM
Looks really great on your wall

Was it hard to fit 5 canvases together for this - did you have to make any to the right size yourself?


04-26-2009, 06:13 PM
Bite my tongue - see how good you are I thought the separate paintings were cropped photos!! It turned out amazing!!

04-26-2009, 07:11 PM
Hi Chris,

Yes, I had to get the canvases ordered to size exactly, so I could composite them together like this. I took me a while to decide how to split the composition, but Ordering the canvases and hanging them wasn't too much trouble.

Cadub - thanks, I'm glad you like this.

I made some progress today, mainly added highlights and shadows. I tried to make the orange string of peppers pop more. I hope this will be over by Wednesday, since I plan to submit this painting/s to a open show. I hope this will be ambitious and well crafted enough to make the first filter.

04-26-2009, 07:48 PM
Best wishes to your showing... :thumbsup:

04-26-2009, 08:24 PM
Is it me, or, is it not hanging right. It appears that at the bottom of the right panel it is a bit to high (?) or something.

04-27-2009, 02:34 AM
Hi Idylbrush,
The paintings are hanging together for me to paint on, not for show. I did miss some of the marks and all the images don't mesh perfectly as they would if placed on the floor, but it's convenient enough. When I'm done I plan to hang them with a little distance from each other, which is what I consider "hanging right".

04-27-2009, 08:35 AM
Assaf: Excellent work and I really like your idea of splitting the image onto separate canvases. About a month ago, there was a painting done with Irises that were all separated as well and it too, looked stunning when finished.

I did a smaller, less complex 4 canvas split painting a few years ago and loved the way it all fit together like a big jigsaw puzzle. It was fun designing it as I imagine yours was too. I like a small separation between the canvases once hung, it somehow gives each canvas a chance to be seen as an individual piece of work while at the same time part of a larger body of work.

I can see this piece hanging in a trendy restaurant or hotel (after it wins a few awards at shows!) on a main feature wall.

04-27-2009, 09:27 AM
I have done this in the past with small masonite panels all the same size, then glue them tight to a large thin plywood or masonite panel. Good luck, Derek

04-28-2009, 08:03 AM
Dances with Oils, you made my day :-) I really hope I can finish this properly and in time...
Dcam - did you post your masonite panel composite in a thread here? I'd love to see it.
I think tomorrow I'll have time to work on it.

04-28-2009, 07:15 PM
Love is Assaf! What a great almost finish!!!!

05-02-2009, 07:32 AM
Well, It's done, photoed, submitted, and hangs in the living room. I think it was well worth it. I worked on it all of Thursday, until 01:00 AM Friday, and for a whole day afterwards my shoulder hurt from reaching high.

This is the final shots of all the pieces (in relative size, I might add. I hope the forum auto-sizer won't change it too much):
Number 1.

number 2
number 3,

Number 4

And number 5.

And, final version with correct spacing:


And that's it. On to the next painting.

05-02-2009, 08:44 AM
That is lovely. I love peppers, the color, the the five pieces, the size, everything. I want one!

Good job, Assaf.

05-02-2009, 09:16 AM
Very visually stunning... :thumbsup:

05-02-2009, 12:54 PM

Can't wait to see what you do next.

05-02-2009, 03:31 PM
I am so aware of the time it took you to do this compilation Assaf.
I am also aware of the tremendous effort you have put into it!
Please know, that this collection is utterly Wonderfully rendered and displayed.
There are no complimentary words adequate to tell you just how good this is.
So let it suffice that I say...."Well done!"

05-02-2009, 05:42 PM

an awesome finish !! ... to an awesome undertaking !! ... kudos to you for sharing your process ... this is truly inspirational ... :)

05-02-2009, 05:55 PM
Thanks Wyett, Robert, LavenderFrost and Kathleen! I love reading your comments. Right now I'm happy; After 6 months where I always had an unfinished canvas just sitting in my studio, making me feel disappointed I don't have time to work it, I now can just sit back and watch my finished painting without lifting a finger. It's actually very pleasent to watch paint dry :-)
The painting changes a bit every day now, as the paint cures and the value gently shifts to a darker tone. I painted it a bit lighter, with too-strong highlights, so now it gradually gets the colors and tones I wanted it to be in - darker, redder and more alive. I'll wait a week or so and then varnish it.

05-03-2009, 10:35 AM
What an amazing display! You must be proud of this one, terrific job!

05-03-2009, 10:48 AM
Fantastic work Assaf!

05-03-2009, 05:14 PM
Thanks Violet, Nithya and Celeste!
I'm taking a rest from painting for a few days, until I get a job I applied for at my firm. It's a stressful time, and I don't like negotiating too much... Doesn't leave me in a mood for creative work.

05-03-2009, 10:33 PM
Assaf: Your piece is just lovely and I especially love the spacing. Well done!

Good luck with your application and new job. I hope it resolves in your favour and you can get back to creating gorgeous art.

05-04-2009, 02:56 PM
after that intense project, you deserve a break, assaf !! ... i, too, extend good luck wishes with your pursuit of the new position and look forward to your next creative project ... :)

05-05-2009, 05:17 AM
Thanks Violet. I nearly closed the deal with the Australia job, I think I'll get there on June 1st. It will be difficult to pack everything, especially since the new peppers painting(s) is so big. And fits so well on my current appartment living room wall.

Can someone in Australia (Sydney, NSW) calm me down a bit regarding painting supplies availability and cost? I should probably open this in another thread... I bet everything's expensive there.