Friday, March 27, 2015

Keys to Good Composition - Off the Wall Friday

As I finish up the my many - many hours of quilting, I started thinking about the composition of my next piece.  I'm planning on using my annual lily piece as an excuse to experiment with silk.  Still, I can't just experiment.  I have to have a plan - a composition that I'm working toward.  I've learned from past attempts, that the words intuitive and spontaneous are adjectives that will never be used in describing my creative style.  Well, at least not in the near future. So I'm in search of a good composition.  Hmmmmmm, but how does one go about that???


all of which can be rearranged, edited, added to,or ignored all together 

Nina-Marie Sayre
Rule of Thirds - Focal Point
1. Decide what you want to say in your piece - pick the main theme and mood

2. Draw your borders and pick a focal spot. Don't pick the dead middle.  Using the rule of thirds, you can split the piece into thirds, horizontally and vertically and place the focal point on one of the intersections.

Nina-Marie Sayre
Balance the Elements

3. Draw your main shapes (figurative or abstracted) but make sure they are varied in shape, scale and the space between them are all different.  Also, an odd number of elements is always more pleasing to the human eye than an even - so think 3 - 5 - 7

4. Create balance in the piece - the elements should be scatter throughout the piece with the main focus balanced by lesser elements

5. Lead the eye into the work using diagonals and curves that engage the edge of the piece - Use the power of line effectively!

Nina-Marie Sayre

6. A sense of depth is created by overlapping your pieces and using scale to create the right sense of perspective

7. Avoid symmetry  - make sure there is enough "differentness" to create tension

8. Edit out clutter - highlighting the essential - give quiet space in the piece

Nina-Marie Sayre
Edit! Edit! Edit!
Now remember composition isn't just about the initial sketch.  Value will have a huge part in the piece too.   You can use value to highlight the focal spot - to create depth  - to establish movement through out piece.  Color (hue) plays it part too in creating mood, movement and tension within a piece.

I just want to add that I wrote this post to help me as much as it is to help you!  Its much easier to critique a sketch if you have a list of what to look for in front of you.  Not to mention taking an hour out of the week looking at well composed photos!!

So What Have you been up to creatively?


Jenny K. Lyon said...

I'm currently frustrated. After all the work I did in last year's class I seem to still not be where I want to be with my composition, sigh.

Unknown said...

I changed the design of a fmq sketchbook page this morning thanks to your post. It came just in time for me to remind me. Thanks.

Nina Marie said...

So many times I needed a composition checklist I decided to just write one. Good composition is a constant struggle!

The Inside Stori said...

Thank you for such a thoughtful post!!!

quiltedfabricart said...

Thank you for the reminder. As one who relies on intuition and flies by the seat of her pants I wish I would be more of a planner. I will try to follow your tips as I know it will save me a lot of time in the long run making pieces that don't work and I don't realize it until they are almost done. ( sigh)

Teresa Duryea Wong said...

I can't tell you how many people I have tried to explain the rule of thirds too in my life. It seems so basic. I was a professional photographer long ago. People always want to put the head of people they are photographing right in dead center of the picture. Anyway, your post is spot on. Interesting stuff!

Bella J said...

Great post, great checklist. Interesting that you say avoid symmetry, I'm just starting to make art quilts and I was looking at a book, the Art Quilt Workbook, where they have you try out compositions with symmetrically balanced designs amongst other things. I never saw them as lacking tension, will go back over that sketchbook with a more critical eye now! Just made my first art quilt