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Old 02-18-2004, 01:19 PM
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samby77 samby77 is offline
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Square Composition

I have an 18x18 square canvas that is driving me bonkers it just sits there and says paint me. I started to do an abstract but gessoed over it. Got any great composition ideas for a square?
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Old 02-18-2004, 01:42 PM
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arlene arlene is offline
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Re: Square Composition

no but i'm sure if you played around with some thumbnails you'd come up with someone. You cant come into a forum and ask people to do your thinking for you.
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Old 02-18-2004, 03:21 PM
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Re: Square Composition

samby77, While over time, I have found that most of my pieces are on a 3x4 verticle aspect ratio(18"x24" or 21"x28" being my most common), many of my favorite pieces have been in a square format. I suspect I like the stability of the shape, it lets me be a little different. It has been one of my favorites. Good luck with the square format.

Barb Solomon
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Old 02-18-2004, 04:48 PM
henrik henrik is offline
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Re: Square Composition

1.4142135623730950488016887242097

The square root of 2

Abstract enough?
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Old 02-18-2004, 07:03 PM
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HRobinson HRobinson is offline
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Re: Square Composition

Bonkers is good sometimes! Try a "Google" using ("18 x 18" oil canvas) and then have a nice cry. It's not like that format isn't being used effectively.

-Harry
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Old 02-18-2004, 09:58 PM
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Re: Square Composition

Quote:
Originally Posted by samby77
I have an 18x18 square canvas that is driving me bonkers it just sits there and says paint me. I started to do an abstract but gessoed over it. Got any great composition ideas for a square?

Yep! Get your view finder, make it into a square and go outside, or somewhere and look through it till you find something that strikes your interest. Anything really. Just compose it at the start with a square in mind.

dudley
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Old 02-18-2004, 11:01 PM
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Re: Square Composition

I have found the viewfinder method really helpful.

If you make scaled down thumbnail sketches, you can always try out different things until you find a composition that you like.

That way you will be pretty sure that you like what you are doing by the time you make a painting.

Barb Solomon
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Old 02-18-2004, 11:33 PM
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Re: Square Composition

If you have any graphics programs, like Photoshop, Corel, Paint Shop, Illustrator, etc ... that let you draw into layers .... they are great for composition what-ifs because you can create each element on a separate layer ... that allow you to shift things around ... and restack the order (move from front to back, etc), change colors on the fly, etc. Photoshop now offers Photoshop Elements ... which is a more economical version of Photoshop, but with considerable features. You can also frame the canvas anway you like, rectangle, square, portrait, landscape, etc.
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Old 02-19-2004, 03:02 AM
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Re: Square Composition

I love working within a square, and treat it no differently to a rectangular or any other format ... I always do thumbnail try-outs for composition. Many of the same basic painterly compositional ideas used throughout the ages, apply to a square, as apply to a rectangle - you still have to ensure that all your shapes and forms and tones and colours work effectively together, and you still have to consider the edge of the picture and how the forms relate to it, and you need to look at the negative spaces surrounding your "object/s" and see how THEY relate to the edges.

The square format often provides an automatic sense of balance, which makes it easier to compose within that format if you want a sense of stability in your picture. But, you can also produce a picture which is surprising too, depending on where the tonal weight is placed, and how you divide up the space.

So - do not worry about the shape; do some thumbnails before you begin, see if you enjoy the potential composition and try to resolve any obvious problems, and then get on and paint!

J
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Old 02-19-2004, 10:00 AM
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Re: Square Composition

Jackie

I have always really liked the square format. I have made many pastels piece in this format and they are amongst my favorites.

But back in college, I had a professor tell me that this squares are a terrible format - it was too stable. It provided no interest.

At the time I was making painting old things that I had found in factory yards and farm sheds. I figured that there probably enough chaos in my subject matter to overcome any excessive stability of the square. The squares stability may have even balanced things out.

Am I actually supposed to prefer "a more interesting shape"?

Barb Solomon
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Old 02-19-2004, 11:31 AM
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Re: Square Composition

After I posted that question, I thought it sounded a bit strange. Thanks for the great answers anyway.
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Old 02-19-2004, 11:44 AM
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Re: Square Composition

I think your professor was spouting his own preferences, not something that is written in stone!

If you like the so-called stability of a square format, then use it. I just did, for my latest image, and I really like it. It may well be "stable", and probably, to your professor, awful.........but I like the format and so do most people who have seen this picture. Have a look:



J
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:32 PM
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Re: Square Composition

Thanks, Jackie!

He WAS an abstract artist that did some of the most beautiful shaped canvas paintings.

But, I have need to relearn many things and I don't want to carry around any false "hobgoblins".

By the way, your still life is lovely. With all the red, it is just wonderful. I really like your background.

Barb Solomon
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:01 PM
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Re: Square Composition

I think you should stick macaroni into the wet gesso all around the edges of the square, and then stick a bunch of push pins into the center, point outward to form a random, abstract shape. THEN, you should put blobs of Latex Caulk over the exposed push pins in a meandering pattern and then sprinkle gold glitter over the whole thing. LOTS of gold glitter. And maybe some stray cat hair, if you have any cats around the house...
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:13 PM
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Re: Square Composition

thanks, glad you like the still life. I think this format could work for still life, for landscape of a certain kind, AND for abstraction, provided the painter takes the shape into account.

Look at this landscape (not one of mine, but I think it is wonderful)



take no notice of your professor, at all.


J
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