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Old 03-17-2012, 02:41 AM
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breaking the rule of centering

I like centered compositions...after all a mandala is extremely centered and there are many fine examples in art history of this type of artwork. Many books and teachers will say never to center your main focus...but I think it can reinforce the strength of the concept. I am not saying all paintings should be composed like this...but if the idea is very designed and 'oriental'...then the 'rule' may be broken. I say whatever works!

Here is a piece I just am in the process of putting on the finishing touches [a record of how this evolved is on my blog],..a very designed piece based on the desert mountains found nearby...'Queen of Spades Range'...24 x 24 oil on canvas.


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Old 03-17-2012, 10:53 AM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

Thanks for this topic! I feel the same about centered compositions, I respond very positively to them. Centered does not mean that everything has to be symmetrical, there can be variation and movement in a centered composition, in the way the secondary elements are arranged.

I like your mountain, it sits tall and commanding in the center of the format and this is a great composition choice for this painting.

Quote:
there are many fine examples in art history of this type of artwork.
Could you name a few of the painters you are thinking about? I would be very interested ... actually I have thought about opening a thread asking about centered compositions within art history specifically, because I also am questioning the validity of the rule that the focus of a painting must not be in the center.

The one painter I know and greatly admire for his calm, centered compositions is Caspar David Friedrich.

Giorgio Morandi is a second example.






Last edited by Marigold : 03-17-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:15 PM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

Most religious art is centered...this covers centuries. An oft-quoted example is Da Vinci's 'Last Supper'. Centering supports the notion of icon...the painting becomes symbolic...it points to something greater than what is apparent. Put an apple in the center..[depending on the strength of the presentation]..it will gain an extra dimension than if painted the same way to the side. The latter might be more lyrical and pleasing...but the centered apple might become archetypal. Depends what you want to express. Also..size and strength matter when using this approach.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:33 AM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

I like It , it's almost abstract in it's structure , I could almost feel that foreground shadow slowly creeping along .
My old art teacher used to say "rules are for breaking but never ignored"

loft

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Old 03-20-2012, 05:50 PM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

love centering of artworks, break the rules...sometimes it is best to not know of any rules and just do what you know will draw the most thought.

Great piece you have here, though I would not consider this to be centered, the horizontal line that breaks the bottom quarter strikes me as the center of interest...
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:00 PM
claude j greengrass claude j greengrass is offline
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

Apologies if you are offended, but I couldn't help myself. I painted this abstract mountain after seeing your "Queen of Spades Range". Perhaps it was the big injection of Frank Lloyd Wright via his student Milton Stricker on "Design through Abstraction". Whatever the case, I was inspired to paint an abstraction of your painting. I googled for an original photo, but no luck, so what you see is what I saw in your painting.

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Old 03-23-2012, 12:17 PM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

Wow! I like your take on my concept...nice strong design. Actually all good paintings are based on a strong abstract composition. I always find my better work evolved because I took the time to thoroughly plan my design from the start...all the main shapes over the entire canvas fit and work together..positive and negative shapes. So it pays to study what makes a good abstract after all...balance and paying attention to your innate intuitive sense. Hard to do!
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:43 PM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

Something I've learned about "the centered rule" is that it helps to have asymmetry in the piece, but then the eye is directed to a centered area.

For example put the centered image in one of the 4 hotspots (rule of thirds) but the rest of the painting has no real symmetry. That way you're still following your own aesthetic but compromising a bit.

Anyway it works for me.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:48 PM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

I don't believe in the rule against centering. It has been used well in many works.

I believe you should just be very clear on the power of using the center. It suggests religious importance and special reverence. It can also be tricky to manage. If it dominates you, the picture will seem to be lacking something, while if you control it you will have a powerful image. The center can make a picture seem static, stationary, and lacking in energy. But that can balance other more dynamic energy-- or that stability and stillness could be exactly the mood you want and the centered composition your perfect tool.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:01 AM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

I entered a windmill in a competition several years back that was near the center and the judge critiqued it as being too centered. However, I have sold numerous prints of my windmill painting since then. I think there are compositions more suited for the center and some definitely not.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:12 AM
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Re: breaking the rule of centering

Most interesting and civilized dialogue. I had not thought that some spiritual/religious paintings are centered, now I'll have to think about that. Some of my illustrations have an iconic bent and I guess they are more centered.
Always eager to learn more, this thread has added both to my education and enjoyment...thanx 2 all

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