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Old 08-06-1999, 11:53 AM
Joan B. Joan B. is offline
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Gainesville,Florida USA
Join Date: Aug 1999
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Can someone explain the "golden mean" in composition to me?Also what are some other methods of
good composition I can use in my work?Care to respond?

Joan B.
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Old 08-06-1999, 06:36 PM
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Hi Joan,
Basically ,the focal point of your painting should not be in the middle of the painting. If you divide your painting into three equal sections vertically and horizontally,then the ideal place for the focal point is on on of the line intersections. Other points are that roads, rivers,lines etc should lead your eye into the picture,not out. Horizons must not cut your painting in half,
Hope this is some help,

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Old 08-06-1999, 07:55 PM
Drew Davis Drew Davis is offline
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The "golden mean" (or "ratio", or just "phi") is often found in nature. It's the ratio approached by adjacent terms in the Fibonacci series, and tends to show up in all sorts of natural growth patterns (the pattern of sunflower seeds in the flower, branching patterns in trees, nautilus shells, proportions of the human body, etc.) Some people get practically crankish about the mystical properties of the number, but it's often regarded as the most aesthetically pleasing proportion for a division, perhaps because of its familiarity from nature.

The exact numerical value is (1 + sqrt(5)) / 2, or about 1.618 to 1. Artists that have used it in compositions divide various parts of the space in that ratio, to locate the center of interest, horizon lines, etc. You could then subdivide those parts into smaller parts with the ratio, to locate background objects, and so on.

Dividing into thirds (2:1) is perhaps even more common. Or, you could do two-fifths (1.5:1) as a closer approximation.
The Greeks obtained the proportions by inscribing a square in a semicircle. But
you have a calculator and a ruler

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Old 08-07-1999, 09:06 AM
Joan B. Joan B. is offline
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Gainesville,Florida USA
Join Date: Aug 1999
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oil painting composition

thank you Rod and Drew for your answers to my questions on composition. They were very helpful, and I shall add hem to my file to have them handy for
my next painting. I'm so pleased with your quick resonse!

Ihave another poser. Can anyone give me a lst of no-nos for a good painting? The longer the list, the better. As I do know a few. I want to be aware of mistakes I can make unknowingly, as I proceed. Forewarned is
forearmed..don't you agree?
It's not that I need to slavishlyfollow every rule or detail, but I want tto know them all. then I can decide, "do I follow the rules, or, do I follow my instincts?"
Again, thanks alot.
Joan B.
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Old 09-06-1999, 02:12 AM
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bruin70 bruin70 is offline
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joan,,,if you "eyeball" an off center position, you will more than likely hit the golden mean...no need to remember it. but "not centering things" is the wrong approach. i can center an object and still throw the balance of the composition to one side or other. the universal context under which the GM applies is that you should try to avoid LINING UP YOUR SHAPES. the natural tendency for many artists is to line up images,,,,it is the rational part of us that requires order. if your shapes line up your painting will assume a two dimensional quality, the eye will see the geometry first, and the painting will look scattered,,,every object having it's own space competing with other objects. here's a really basic example : take 32 black and 32 red squares. line them up perfectly, and you get a checkerboard with no center of interest, each square competing with the others. now,,, compose and group them, by numbers and color, and you have an interesting composition where you can directy the eye where ever you want....milt
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Old 09-06-1999, 03:28 AM
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bruin70 bruin70 is offline
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joan,,,no nos are either too long or too broad. and there are really no rules,,,if you can handle THEM properly. also it's easier to explain with visuals. here are a few broad suggestions.
find a rhythm when you paint... the way you mix on your pallette is the way you should apply the paint to the canvas.if you intend to apply in sweeping strokes, then mix in the same sweeping manner. if you intend to apply a light delicate stroke(like a feather), then mix with a light, feathery touch. rhythm is what life is all about. it gives and exudes confidence.
paint with good equipment... you'll e surprised at what you can do.
do you use any medium,,,like linseed oil...if you don't,,,START. this allows for fluid application,.. otherwise it'll feel like painting with cement.
stretch your own canvas...don't buy that prestretched stuff..the quality is poor and they're stretched poorly.
if you can afford it,,,use an oil/lead based primed canvas. oil glides over acrylic with no tooth.
become what you paint,,,this ties with my first suggestion. if you paint a feather ,,,it is light , airy, soft,,,,,,,then your body becomes this,,,mix light and airy,,,paint light and airy. if you're painting an eyelash, you're NOT going to mix broad strokes, attacking your pallette wildly, digging and gouging into the paints,mixing roughly,then come up holding brush like a trowel,,,,, only to try and apply a delicate line like you do eye liner,,,right?......milt

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