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Old 02-28-2019, 09:18 PM
kz202r kz202r is offline
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newbie struggling with composition.

Hi all, I have recently picked up the paint brushes for the first time and find myself frustrated with composition issues. I seem to go to the too much content in my paintings to not enough. I have been known to take paintings off the wall after evaluating for a few weeks/months to add to the composition in an effort to better balance the scene. Is this common to new artists?
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:00 PM
kz202r kz202r is offline
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

My latest effort, seems like too much content.
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:08 AM
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virgil carter virgil carter is online now
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

Try thinking about the story you want your painting to tell, and what are the absolutely essential elements for that story. That's the painting you want.

There's an old painting saying: "Artists interpret, never copy!"

It means, among other things, that strong paintings always edit...adding and moving things...deleting things...until the painting consists of only the needed elements to communicate the painter's intent.

Your painting above is enjoyable, even pretty, but it resembles a photograph of a place, and not so much what an artist wants to communicate and is memorable. For example, what's the story about: the table setting; the sitting cat; the trellis; the pastoral scene; the lake; the calm day and clear sky? This painting simply has too much information, IMO.

Try to remember that a painting is not about what your eyes see, it's about what your heart feels and wants to communicate.

Others will be along with their own opinions, many of which will disagree. and that's fine, since we all approach making a painting from a different perspective.

Sling paint,
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:17 AM
kz202r kz202r is offline
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

Thank you Virgil, This painting started as a vineyard theme but quickly seemed to get out of control. I realized once I framed it and hung it on the wall it was way too busy. Need to work on defining the focus and stick with it. Thanks much!!
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:59 AM
tiago.dagostini tiago.dagostini is offline
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kz202r
Hi all, I have recently picked up the paint brushes for the first time and find myself frustrated with composition issues. I seem to go to the too much content in my paintings to not enough. I have been known to take paintings off the wall after evaluating for a few weeks/months to add to the composition in an effort to better balance the scene. Is this common to new artists?




The amount of content is nearly irrelevant.. how they relate and guide the flow of the viewers eye is all that matters.


A simple example that is a masterpiece of composition would be the raft of the medusa (Théodore Géricault) .. there is an absurdly high volume of content.. but the composition is masterly done... and the crowding helps the final result. On other hand you can have extremely depopulated images with masterful composition as well like Against the Gods (Frazetta).
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Old 03-12-2019, 05:23 AM
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiago.dagostini
The amount of content is nearly irrelevant.. how they relate and guide the flow of the viewers eye is all that matters.
I second this and will add that is largely a matter of ordering your values and colors. Simplify them into larger groups or areas. Add a clear hierarchy in your contrasts (in value, color, detail, etc.): highest contrasts in your focal area, lowest contrasts in the peripheral areas.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:44 AM
zhm zhm is offline
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

I agree with Ochre and tiago. I believe that this is where the talent of the artist lies, i.e. what feels right, what is the message, what is the purpose of the picture, etc.?
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:01 PM
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

I used to have problems with the composition and I am not experienced in paintings but I was ten years professional photographer. In photography composition is essential but I had the help of the good lenses that blurred the background but I still had to work on the composition.
Before you paint try to take a picture of the subject and see if you can compose better with a camera. Choose your subject and frame that subject and after that paint it, from life or from that picture.
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:14 AM
kadin.t.goldberg kadin.t.goldberg is offline
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kz202r
I have been known to take paintings off the wall after evaluating for a few weeks/months to add to the composition in an effort to better balance the scene. Is this common to new artists?

Looks like you are an artist to me. This is what it is all about. If you are a true artist you will never be satisfied with a painting more than a few days... it is all about learning and working at getting better.

I have heard of great painters walking into houses after a painting has sold and changing compositions after years of being "finished".

I personally like to think about my compositions as being balanced on a pendulum. I try and make the whole painting feel balanced from left to right, top to bottom, and foreground to background. This is not a science. It is a feeling. This is of course in addition to paying attention to how you guide the viewer's gaze through your painting using leading lines, color and value contrast, atmospheric perspective, etc etc.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:43 AM
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Re: newbie struggling with composition.

There's an old saying, "A painting is only finished when the artist decides to stop painting!"

sling paint,
Virgil
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