View Full Version : Composition Is - DIMENSION

03-01-2010, 12:17 PM

These "Composition IS" threads will feature one aspect of composition and design.
We will look for, discuss, and play with the featured element .
Please join in however you please. Your comments, Sketches, examples (of good and bad) are all looked forward too. We wil have fun and learn something too - guaranteed!

So the element of DIMENSION is topic this month.

Being aware of dimension while creating art can be thrilling and rewarding. It will not only enhance your artistice EXPERIENCE it will make your "product" look good too.

Here is a post I from a thread on the composition and design forum. Larry has granted generous permission and encouragement so feel free to enjoy this nugget of composition and look back to this link for his beautiful examples.

Meanwhile I am gonna dig up some classical paintings to look at. Ill be back tommorrow.

03-02-2010, 10:33 AM
I am glad we are doing a thread or two on composition. I know very little in this area...thus eager to learn.

03-02-2010, 04:58 PM
Looking forward to read more on this one, Robin.

03-03-2010, 12:24 AM
Well I did a few thumbnail sketches of the road and houses this morning keeping in mind the different plates of depth like Larry illustrated. Here they are. I hope you can see the different layers (I've colored them)

03-03-2010, 12:32 AM
Hi Sandra and June - glad for your company.

this evening I "surfed" around and found these three examples of dimension in classical mode. Can you see the three "plates"/levels of receedingness in Palmer's brown and black drawing?

I thought Vincent's use of the fore ground and background couched the potato eaters quite nicely. What great atmosphere. This also demonstrates how darker colors bring things forward - so darks in foreground and light washes in backgrounds. It is interesting how thinking about dimension we are being drawn into it from not only size aspects but color tricks too!

And then this is Marc Chagall's self portrait - very simply he has established depth. Very nice and easy to remember.

Try some little sketches soon. There is nothing like doing to bring stuff into your reach.

I'll be back tommorrow.

03-03-2010, 12:46 PM
today I painted this little scene attempting to create dimension - it was tough and I have fallen short in a couple of ways. But I learned alot. There are other tools we have to create dimension besides the dimensional concept itself. Can you identify two of them in this little watercolor sketch?
Comments and criticizism are hoped for:)

03-03-2010, 03:04 PM
I love this little purple cooker drawing, Robin.

For the dimension of space, I expect you could use less detail in the background compared to the foreground and a warmer colour or stronger colour in the foreground.

Possibly, also use of perspective drawing to get recession. Not that I ever use perspective myself. Perhaps use a lower viewpoint (to get a receding view) rather than a view where you see the whole surface as a tilted up plane.

Its my opinion that quirky drawings are way better than correct perspective/dimension drawings. But I know this project is for us to focus on the dimension/feeling of space aspects...so I wonder if my points are useful to you in any way?:confused:

Maybe its easier to get a feeling of the dimension of space in a landscape? I never really considered this aspect of composition much in my work. I'm usually focussing on close-ups, as in portraits.


03-05-2010, 07:05 PM
Thanks June, Yes , I think details in the foreground and perspective are good for creating dimension.
I'm glad you mentioned warm/cool colors. I had totally forgotten about that one.
One thing I noticed in the Potato Eaters is that the area of the most contrasts -(the dining table under the lamp) is the point of interest even if it is in the middle of the dimension......it is neat how the painter puts us right there and yet I feel like I could stand in the foreground or in the back corner. He has created a real sense of space.
I think I'll play with this "purple cooker" composition a bit in the next few days....maybe even get a little wonky.
I'm with you about being too mechanical in producing art - worrying about all the perspective and tricks detracts from the spontaneity of it all but knowing how to get the effects you want using the tools you have is helpful.

03-06-2010, 09:03 AM
Robin, what a charming little stove. I probably would do something like that to just because it looks perfect for children. And thanks for the three photos.

The road on the first one definitely gave it perspective and a difference of value would bring one forward. I liked that self-portrait of Chagall too. Great depth. Unthinkable if one goes to an artist to do a portrait and he puts a plant next to your face. LOL.

Here are some of my previous attempts at doing perspective and dimensions.

I was reading a book on perspective but it didn't tell me at all how it sized the height of the people in some parts and it took me a long while to do this in trial and error. A whole 8 hour. Because it is pencil, it is obviously too detailed towards the back. If I do a color version, which I would one day, it would be a city full of these dudes and progressively, they should be less distinct.


This one I did last year. I wanted to create a network of trains but the colored pencil markings took too long and I put it in photoshop to darken. But it shows dimension.


This one I made a few slight mistakes on the values of the second and third tier in but in general, it was visibly dimensional.


This one, I learnt it from Egon Schiele. The front portions should be brighter with details and the farther it is, the darker it should be. I got a Delacroix book last night and it has a night scene too that I want to do to show this aspect also. Perhaps I'll do one tonight.


This one, perhaps if I blurred the distant hill it might be even better. The design was based on some news on Economist but I colorized it and put my lovers in.


I made this one up too. I'm not sure if the details on the viewers' left competed with the boat or not.


This one has a certain dimension but again, not sure if the lighter portion of the front on the right competes with the toadstool house.


And this one is my favorite. I created this for my kids' story.


03-08-2010, 12:16 PM
wow - thanks for all the picture show!!! :clap: The last one is my favorite too....but when I think now- without looking back which one I can easily recall....it's the island with the lovers on the shore....I think what really intrigued me is the foreground rocks look like mighty thighs and all the repetitive squarish ovals are quite pleasant.....but then that's just me.:p
You make me want to get with the art tools and have a blast! I wonder how many ways I can mess with this stove thing. I hope to let loose this evening.

03-15-2010, 07:05 PM
Here are a couple more takes on the stove. Let me know what you think. The 3 rd one really has some dimensional feelings but I am not sure what I did that was a success?
I did an underlayer of a warm color on the forward and a cool color in the back. And I tried to make the forward part darker overall.

03-15-2010, 09:30 PM
Thank you, Robin, for your comments. I love that lovers beach piece too. It's very cute boulders all in all. My imaginary world would be like that full of colors.

You have too much detailed penwork on the piece on the left towards the end portion and therefore it is competing for attention. Your remedy to that would be to put even more details in the front of the stove coils and drawer edges. Though I got to say the baked cake with cranberry bits or whatever it is looked very delicious and real.

Your piece on the right is just perfect. It has the right color scheme and bluriness at the back.

03-17-2010, 01:00 PM
thanks for your comments Sandra - I never compared my drawings left side to right - really before this thread I never looked at them for dimension either. :p

04-02-2010, 01:08 AM
one last sketch - was going to copy an old master and the power went out(they were messing with underground wires) so I went outside and sketched the neighbors shed with some stumps in foregroundthat were pulled up for to place our trailer - Having this way to approach the landscape helped subdue the overwhelming tendency of the great outdoors. Yeah!!!

04-06-2010, 11:22 PM
Very good depth in this one, Robin. Trees are so hard to do and it seems so effortless for you.

04-07-2010, 02:00 AM
Love the work on dimension, Sandra and Robin. I rather like the toadstool house. And I like the pen of the neighbours shed and trees... from life.

I haven't tackled this project ...I don't know if I'll get around to it! But its given me food for thought!!

04-07-2010, 03:02 PM
thanks June - yeah it's hard to contribute to everything

04-10-2010, 01:19 PM
The jug looks really colorful. Dimension at work definitely with the baking tin. I suppose it is a picture hung on a side panel that has a shelf on the right.

04-10-2010, 08:08 PM
Thanks for the comment Sandra. I need to move this thread - I meant to post it in DIAGONALS.