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Old 05-16-2010, 09:24 AM
creativechrissy's Avatar
creativechrissy creativechrissy is offline
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Question Proportion and shifting objects in Farm Landscape

I need your opinions of the composition and if I should include or exclude any of the elements of my horse farm landscape.

Here is the example of the sketched underpainting (because the photo doesn't show up the outlines well I have added the real elements to the picture. Ignore the fuel barrel on the "+" of the bottom right quadrant. I am not adding it there I am adding it to sit under the tree.


In my initial sketch/underpainting, I have taken the idea of Ref Pic #C (last one) as my overall template of foreground/middle/background. So I am not including any sky, only mountain foilage as background, middleground will be the tree and diagonal wire fence, middle/foreground will be the horse float but made to look old and rusty and no use, and the foreground will be the two fuel barrels.

I wasn't going to add any horses as I feel the horse float speaks for itself. However once I put this idea to the canvas, it just does not feel quite right. I don't know if the horse float is too big or maybe the foreground fuel barrels? The foreground fuel barrels are what I wanted to be the main focal point, but I think because of its size, the horse float dominates. But maybe once I start painting it to be dull and old, it won't look so stark.


I feel maybe I should make the horse float slightly smaller and bring it in centre right more to be in line with the "vertical 1/3" line


I asked my non-creative husband for his opinion, he said the foreground barrels are too big and I need to make the horse float smaller and push back into the distance a bit more OR he suggested to take out the horse float altogether and add two horse there and one to be drinking from a trough. I thought that was a bit too cliche. I like that the horse farm doesn't show any horses (not everything needs to be explicit)


The mood I want to achieve is old and rusty, used farm, in a loose-ish painterly style.


Thoughts on composition and the elements. What do I need to move, add, change etc? Does it work as it is?



Here is the example of my elements combined in the composition


Here are some images of my reference photos from which I made my composition
Ref Pic #A


Ref Pic #B


Ref Pic #C
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:51 AM
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birdhs birdhs is offline
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Re: Proportion and shifting objects in Farm Landscape

I suspect the size of the horse trailer will be out of proportion. It is closer to the viewer and therefore larger than the horses. I like the general composition, but I probablt would move the horses to the right to avoid having them dead center.

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Old 05-16-2010, 02:12 PM
Keith2 Keith2 is offline
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Re: Proportion and shifting objects in Farm Landscape

Where do you intend to have the horizon line in the painting ?

Looking at the final picture, with two horses under the tree, the viewpoint of the camera is at least level with the ears of the horses, and perhaps even a foot or two higher.

Suppose you draw a horizon line across the picture a foot (you'll have to judge the distance) above the horses' ears.

Then draw two lines along the horse box - one on the top of the roof, and one along the bottom of the box.

You'll find that the two lines on the horse box don't converge on the horizon line. Instead they converge at a point below the horizon line - in other words the photo of the horse box has been taken at a different eye level(or camera level) compared with the pic of the two horses. That's why the horse box looks out of proportion.

I think that top of the window in the horse box should be level with the horizon line, and the overall size of the box should be increased.

I'm not certain that the composition will be successful -the two blue drums are a distraction, and the two horses (which I understand you wish to leave out) are more interesting than the horse box. The lack of strong shadows (very common here in cloudy England) may make the painting look rather flat.

Last edited by Keith2 : 05-16-2010 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 05-17-2010, 07:24 AM
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creativechrissy creativechrissy is offline
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Re: Proportion and shifting objects in Farm Landscape

Birdhs: I wasn't going to add the horses anyway, just there to show your the actual photo, they are not included in my underpainting sketch.

Keith2: I thought I would have the horizon line where I thought it was anyway, where the grass field meets the moutains, 2/3rds from up from the bottom of the canvas. See my horizon line in blue, and your suggestion/idea of horizon line in red


Yes you are right the horse float was taken at different eye/camera levels. But if I am not including the horses in my painting anyway, does this really matter?

Here is the original pic of the horse float with the horizon red, and your idea of perspective in blue. How does this affect me placing this in my picture. Will this be a case of it simply won't work? I don't have any other angles of it. I think maybe it could be a little more front on? But don't want to chance getting those details and angles incorrect too.


So them, scrap the trailer and add horses there instead, or make a few adjustments ie. more to centre a bit more, increase size...?
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:25 PM
Keith2 Keith2 is offline
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Re: Proportion and shifting objects in Farm Landscape

See following post

Last edited by Keith2 : 05-17-2010 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:26 PM
Keith2 Keith2 is offline
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Re: Proportion and shifting objects in Farm Landscape

The term horizon line when considering perspective is also known as the eye level line - this is the line drawn on the page which represents your eye level or the height at which your eye is situated above the ground.

The blue horizon line you've indicated in the first photo seems rather high in my view, as I would expect to see more of the backs of the horses, as the eye would be looking down on them. But that's only my perception, taken from a photo.

The superimposed horse box looks out of position. This is because when the horse box photo was taken separately to the background, the eye level line was level with the bottom of the long thin black wedge on the side of the box. To get the two separate eye levels to be in alignment, the horsebox would need to be moved upwards so its eye level line coincides with the background eye level line. The box would also have to be increased in size.

In the second photo, I don't think the red horizon line is correct. If it were, then the red line and the two blue lines (top and bottom of the horse box) should all meet at the same point if extended to the left. But they don't. Is quite easy to estimated the eye level line of a picture of a rectangular man made object, such as a horse box. Assuming the box is parked on level ground, one just looks for a feature on the object that appears to be horizontal. As mentioned above, the feature nearest to the horizontal is the bottom of the thin black wedge (probably the side window) on the side of the box.

This seems like a dry lecture on the delights of perspective !

I think if you are merging different photos of natural objects taken at different eye levels, then it can be done fairly easily as perspective isn't quite as obvious. Once you start adding man made objects, our eyes are accutely attuned to the phenomenon of perspective, and we subconsciuosly know if things don't look right, even though it is difficult to say why.

My view is leave the horses in the pic and take the horse box out.

Last edited by Keith2 : 05-17-2010 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:19 PM
cnabity cnabity is offline
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Re: Proportion and shifting objects in Farm Landscape

The 1st picture is the best comp but I would shrink the horse trailer....or find an old rusty truck, wagon wheel or tractor photo instead to put in place of the (too big) trailer. If you took out the horse trailer, maybe you could also paint (up close) flowers, wheat, or wagon wheel or a fence post or ???? in the left foreground?

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