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Old 01-03-2018, 02:05 PM
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LironYanconsky LironYanconsky is offline
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Talking Improving Composition

Hi all!

For the last 2 months or so I've been really focused on improving my composition.
I find watercolor to be such a fascinating and challenging learning curve.
I basically keep learning the same principles, only at different levels.

Improving my composition

In any case, I've been really focused on composition and believe I made some progress.

I recently shared this in a YouTube video (HERE), and wanted to share here as well.

Where I used to be

So here's an example of a typical painting I would make. Aside from the multiple mistakes and inaccurate representation - what really bugged me was the composition.



The building's just stuck in there, dead in the middle. Sure, there's that car, but even that doesn't read as well.

Here are several other examples. Some may even look good in terms of the technique, but the composition, to me, is obviously not thought through enough.





Now, here's an interesting example from when I got lucky and accidentally got a nice composition going.



Lot's of things to improve, and the style doesn't feel like it's "mine", but at least there's some movement and interest.

Where I am now

So here's the first painting in which I REALLY devoted my thoughts and work process to composition.



With this one I took some time to carefully plan where everything is going to be placed.

The main change I've gone through is avoiding the centers, and putting more emphasis on uneven space divisions that create more interest.

Here's another good example.



Notice how the distances between the trees are varied.
This is true for the trees in the background as well, and pretty much for most elements in this painting.

Here's another example, simpler this time.
What I love about this one is how simple yet effective it is, in my opinion.



And a final, more detailed one.



Notice how it is quite even when you examine it horizontally. I tried creating interest here around the vertical axis.

Conclusion

And this is it! I hope this encourages you to devote more time to composition and more careful preparation for your paintings.
I know this was (and still is) one of my weaknesses, and I sometimes have to forcibly slow down my work process.

You can check out the full vid with my explanations HERE.

Let me know if this helped in any way!

- Liron
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:47 PM
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FrankM FrankM is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

Thanks for the helpful thoughts, Liron! You're kind to share your growing wisdom.

(I also appreciate the apartment tour - I took it last night!)

Cheers!
Frank
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:00 PM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

Design and composition are certainly two principles essential for strong paintings. Because the two subjects are diverse and in-depth, they are usually not common in art education for early painters, where instruction tends to be focused on color mixing, values and early technique.

Raising the point about the importance of composition (and, by implication, design) is always worth doing. Thanks for bringing it up. Perhaps others will add to the conversation.

sling paint,
Virgil
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:27 PM
Watercolor1917 Watercolor1917 is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

Thanks for sharing Liron. Excellent reminder we must all strive for effective compositions above all else.

Cheers,
Joe
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:12 AM
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pjartwc pjartwc is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

A good subject. Knowing what to leave out, what to change, how to bring attention to the focal area....all important and sometimes difficult.
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:33 AM
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LironYanconsky LironYanconsky is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankM
Thanks for the helpful thoughts, Liron! You're kind to share your growing wisdom.

(I also appreciate the apartment tour - I took it last night!)

Cheers!
Frank
Happy to hear Frank, thank you! (:
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Old 01-06-2018, 12:55 AM
Merriweather Merriweather is online now
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Re: Improving Composition

Quote:
Originally Posted by LironYanconsky
Hi all!

Let me know if this helped in any way!

- Liron


Thank you very much for your interesting video and learning tips. Really enjoyed watching..
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:18 AM
Johndk Johndk is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

I love your posts Liron. Very helpful and encouraging.

In classical art training thinking about 2 things before[i]you paint are emphasised:
  • What to you want to communicate? (i.e. why are you painting this painting - what grabbed your attention / motivation)
  • How are you going to compose your "message" - composition.

Too often we dive into painting before doing sketches, thumbnails, to test composition, values, format, etc. Then when we have committed paint to paper we get disappointed because the weakness becomes more and more evident as we progress. Then to add to our disaster, we fiddle and try and correct it - which is death to watercolours!

A classical work worth looking at is Arthur Wesley Dow's "Composition, understanding line, notan and colour". It's old-fashioned but still totally relevant, and I still keep going back to it to remind myself of these basics.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:48 AM
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virgil carter virgil carter is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

What johndk said...

Painting is much more than simply a technical activity of putting paint on paper. It's also very much a thinking activity. The "why" and the "how" are essential for consistent strong paintings. Happy accidents will only get one a little way into the painting journey...

sling paint,
Virgil
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:35 AM
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SteveBerry SteveBerry is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

I have to heartily agree with the recommendation to read Arthur Wesley Dow's "Composition, understanding line, notan and colour". Great book. I’ve read it more than once. Dense but worth thinking about.

One of my favorite quotes from a recent workshop with Herman Pekel was when he said “the problem is I see a lot of painting, but not enough thinking!”
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:09 PM
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LironYanconsky LironYanconsky is offline
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Re: Improving Composition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johndk
I love your posts Liron. Very helpful and encouraging.

In classical art training thinking about 2 things before[i]you paint are emphasised:
  • What to you want to communicate? (i.e. why are you painting this painting - what grabbed your attention / motivation)
  • How are you going to compose your "message" - composition.

Too often we dive into painting before doing sketches, thumbnails, to test composition, values, format, etc. Then when we have committed paint to paper we get disappointed because the weakness becomes more and more evident as we progress. Then to add to our disaster, we fiddle and try and correct it - which is death to watercolours!

A classical work worth looking at is Arthur Wesley Dow's "Composition, understanding line, notan and colour". It's old-fashioned but still totally relevant, and I still keep going back to it to remind myself of these basics.
I'll definitely check it out, thank you

I'm just now starting to realise how much more I still have to learn.
Drawing and painting in general are such an insanely vast skillset.
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