I was reading a good article from wetcanvas.com on compositional rules in landscape paintings and encountered one I don't understand and that has no explanation. The statement is that one should never start a visual path (like a river or road) from a corner. For context, it's the first rule on this page.
Why is starting a "visual path" from a corner detrimental to composition? I'm a bit confused and if someone could demonstrate with an example I'd be grateful.
Putting an edge at the frame of the picture is generally bad composition choice as it draws attention to the picture frame itself, and that gives the impression of some object stuck on top of the picture itself and breaks the illusion of the picture as a "window" into another reality.
Obviously putting an edge on the corner is even worse because that necessarily draws more attention to it.
Generally, it's called a tangent in a composition class.
Add: For any picture that has perspective in it, you can think of the picture as a ""window" into another picture space, but the picture itself is a flat surface generally in the shape of a rectangle. The corner of 2D picture obviously has no meaning in the 3D picture space.
When you're starting a path from the corner of the 2D picture, it looks like the path is actually starting from that corner, and that confuses the eye.
Last edited by Aaron_; February 16th, 2012 at 05:42 PM.
No. Stay away from Wet Canvas, wannabe's and amateurs. 90% of the people on there handing out advice aren't professional artists. As a couple of examples that contradict that stupidity here is Len Chmiel and Richard Schmid two of the best Landscape painters in America right now
Yep...you don't want important elements...such as a visual entry path to be in the corner...the "whys" are numerous. For one you don't want the viewer to have to mentally "shift" over to the corner to "enter" the image. Composition is subtle, yet powerful and primarily sub-conscious so you try to avoid anythnig that makes it difficult to enter the image... easy to leave...or confusing to discern.
I should add, thank you everyone who has responded, a lot of food for thought here.
The best rule for achieving a totally balanced, perfect composition...
Keep your brushes and paint in the box and leave the beautiful, blank, white rectangle just as it is.
From Gegarin's point of view
Well I think you need to at least establish a focal point.
There we go.
Somebody once showed a Danish landscape painter who absolutely insists on putting an edge right in the dead center of his paintings, and those paintings feel very solid compositionally too.
Still, before learning composition, people do tend to create tangents or put things dead center unknowingly, and that ruins composition much more often than not. So I guess those rules are there for a reason, not that you can't break them after learning them.
Last edited by Aaron_; February 16th, 2012 at 07:54 PM.
I'm using articles like the above to learn because I didn't even know to look for a lot that is mentioned. A few of the "rules" gave me ideas as to why previous works of mine didn't work out, even though I couldn't put a finger on it before.
Last edited by Stormslegacy; February 16th, 2012 at 08:26 PM. Reason: broken code
Sayings like, don't put something in the corner or in the center or don't divide your canvas in half, can't be rules because they can't know how the elements of the painting are organised for every possible painting.
They are incorrect sayings by people who have no understanding of painting. They are lazy truisms by lazy painters. Just like don't use black or everything in the distance turns to blue or the term muddy color.
Last edited by dpaint; February 16th, 2012 at 08:56 PM.
I've never been under the impression that "rules" are there so that people never break them, it's that you need to start somewhere and they are places beginner often run into trouble. They're very simplified to help get an idea across, not sacred things.
I would recommend an inxpensive book that is great for understanding composition - "Drawing Scenery" by Jack Hamm. Go through it and sit there with a stack of paper and basically do your own versions of everything he talks about.
The thing with compositional elements is that they don't exist in isolation. The common compositional "mistakes" are "mistakes" because, on their own, they draw an unwanted amount of the viewer's attention. But if other elements are used to make sure that they don't draw an unwanted amount of the viewer's attention, then they aren't mistakes.
**Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial
Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!
"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
One also has to remember that Len Chmiel can kill a bear with his, well, bare hands. While painting. And drinking Pabst.
Edit: He literally does stuff like that road painting and snowy stream going to the corners just to piss people off. Do not fuck with him.
This is valuable too, I highly recommend it. Plus it supports CA.org. And hey, if you act now, you can take advantage of the $6.99 download sale! That's a freakin' good deal!
And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
mmm, i likes them apples, dpaint. i could lick the paint right off that one.