Friday, May 9, 2014

Landscape Composition - Off the Wall Friday

Oneida Lake, Sylvan Beach, NY
When I read that this month's assignment was on landscapes, I groaned a little on the inside.  I mean, in 20 years of quilting, I've only done 2 landscapes and both remain unfinished.  Don't ask me why.  Its not that I don't like landscapes.  The painting I love best in my home is a landscape.  Its just to me they have all been done  - and then done some  more - and then done some more.  sighhhh.

Lake Erie Bay, Erie, PA

But I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to  attack each month with gusto no matter what the subject matter!  So, I spent the week reading up on what makes a good landscape - good.  Elizabeth reminded us to keep it simple - to edit out elements and then edit some more.  Well that's good - I like simple.  But where to put the remaining elements???

The City Dock, Centennial Tower, Erie PA

So before tackling this month's sketches I came up with some "Guidelines".

  1. Start with the Golden Rule and the Rule of Thirds.  There is a lot to these, but basically what I do is make sure there is a nice 1/3 to 2/3's ratio in a piece, with the focal point of the piece near the intersection of the two. The pieces is divided into 1/3rd sections ( think 9 patch).  The horizon line should be at one of these thirds - not in the middle.
  2. Strong Lines and Underlying Value will ground the piece nicely.  You can use both to lead the viewer's eye to the focal point.  
  3. Add some kind of interest point to the picture.  Now that's not to say that sky, mountains, meadows aren't enough - but a landscape is that much better with a spark of something - "non-nature" in it.
  4. Three is good - One is better.  Going back to motto - "Keep it simple stupid"  - just one main object in a picture can be much better than 5!
  5. Use geometric shapes when placing key elements in a landscape.  So if you have three main objects - have them form a triangle. 
  6. Find a foreground interest.  Now this kind of landscape isn't for everyone - but for me - they're much more interesting.
  7. Don't be afraid to crop out the foreground land or the background sky - it will help keep your focal point the main interest and keep the 1/3's ratio correct.
So with all that research under my belt, I did manage to make three sketches.  I have a Seasons series going so any of these three would fit nicely into it.  So we'll see what my critique will bring and which one I'll do!  Please excuse the quick pencil sketches - I was busy dyeing fabric gradations today too!!

So what have you been up to creatively?


Chris said...

Funny that you have never completed a landscape, but you are right about them being overdone. But I think that is because people generally really like landscapes. I have done quite a few myself since 2004. So here is one more. I like your 1st two sketches the best. Should be interesting to see what EB thinks.

Regina B Dunn said...

Maybe if you use your favorite fabrics you'll enjoy doing the landscape more. Your third sketch seems to follow the rule of thirds nicely.

Anonymous said...

Had it been possible, I would have done well to read your guidelines before sketching. :-)

deborah lyn said...

Wonderful post and I love the guidelines you came up with! I also love the gusto with which you approach each monthly challenge piece! I look forward to it taking shape:) best in all, deborah

Valerie the Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

Yeah!! I missed posting on Friday by six minutes! LOL ACK! You are always very methodical in how you approach your art. It's so interesting to read about because I often approach things completely spur of the moment!! Love what you are doing - as always - looking forward to more! :)

Amy Art Quilter & Fyber Cafe said...

Thank you for the landscape guidelines our group is going to be doing wet felted landscapes next. Of course I'll post pics and link. Interesting sketches, waiting to see which you pick

Unknown said...

I have always loved looking at landscapes. I wonder if I could take some pictures and enlarge them for my wall. It would be like my own mural of where I have been.

Unknown said...

I've never seen anything like this! It takes wall art to a whole new level. It's good to see the work of other artists. I'm impressed by the colors and realism as well as impressionism involved in the pieces. I would like to have some of these on my wall.

Gerald Vonberger |