Thursday, August 5, 2010

Addressing Composition

Ok, I’ll admit it, designing a composition for a painting is hard. That’s kind of funny to me because I have an excellent eye for composition through the camera lens. When composing for a painting it seems like an entirely different exercise. I take pieces apart and then put them back together in an entirely new shapes, formats, and colors. Do I do this in my head while composing a photograph? Do I think about armatures (the directional lines through your painting) and the use of color and light at instant speed? If so, how? How do I do it?

When I compose shapes for a painting my head feels like it is stuffed with wool. How did I  learn to do this upside down through a 4x5’s viewfinder so many years ago? But perhaps that is the answer right there. I did learn to compose through a camera lens looking at shapes and light upside down. Those images made no “sense” to my brain and so had to be looked at as compositional elements only. Back in the day I remember cursing silently as I tried to get images in focus through the top of my ancient TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) Ricohflex camera. The tiny, upside image in the shadowed viewfinder on the top of the camera was a pain in the butt to use. Composing images in an old 4x5 Press Camera was easier, but still not easy…and upside down too! Funny how today…23 years later, I not only remember those events but bless them for their teachings.

I guess I really need to start looking at the world upside down once again. *chuckle* Clearly, this is my answer to clearing out the mental wool.

A pause here while I apply my new insight to my compositional sketches…and voila! It works. In the interest of science here is a look at some of my compositional studies on masses and shapes for the new painting. Color studies and accurate thumbnails come next and then…the actual painting! Is it possible to be sweating and enjoying oneself at the same time? Apparently so…*lol*

Compositional sketches looking at mass shapes

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