Friday, December 18, 2020

Let's Talk Composition on Off the Wall Friday

Symmentry, Framing, Rules of Thirds, Balance, Negative Space!!

 Recently I decided to catch up on my episodes of Quilting Arts and started watching Episode 2 of season 26, Natural Elements.  In it, Denise Oyama Miller and Nancy Ryan, showed their methods on how to make a confetti quilt or snippet quilt.  They started with their example and I thought, "WoW, how did they do THAT?"  Then they took 15 min and proceeded to show how easy it is.  Well, it is and
Focal Point, Rule of Thirds, Balance,NegSpace

it isn't.  

I've been intrigued by this technique ever since I saw some of Noriko Endo's work in person.  The whole idea of taking snippets of fabric and combining them into a painterly like fashion is very freeing.  The basic concept is that  you take a photo inspiration, do a simple line drawing from that and fill in the drawing with snippets of fabric like painting.  Then, you put black tulle over it, pin it down and sew over the whole thing giving it texture.  Easy right?!

Still the quilt is only as good as the original simple line drawing.  Now obviously, you can not teach a whole technique in a10 min segment on TV, but I was struck at how fast the design process of the quilt was glossed over.  "You take your inspirational photo".....okay, but how do you find a good inspirational photo?

Framing, Balance, Negative Space

The easiest way is use a photo you like from a professional (or competent) photographer.  Then you can use all your creative juices on learning the technique.  BUT do you want to do that?  It will always be someone's else vision of something pretty and moving.  Why don't you use one of your own photos. I would start taking photos of things that really speak to you.  It's so much easier now that everyone has a digital camera in their pocket.  The next challenge comes in composing the photo. 

lead linesBalance, Rules of Thirds



I have done posts before  on composition and also here  but it's been while.  So when you take your photo think about ....

FOCAL POINT....What are you taking a photo of?  Make sure that is prominent in the photo and in a good spot.  How to find a good place for the focal point? Use the Rule of Thirds!  It's not that you need to use this rule on every composition but its a good place to start.  Also, with photos, its a good way to help you crop your photo.

USE LEAD LINES...For photos it could be roads, horizon lines, trees, paths, shore line....anything that will help lead the eye of the viewer to your focal point.  Here are some examples using fine art!

A GOOD CROP....Crop anything out of the photo that is distracting

A Great Crop!

and doesn't need to be there.  Now this can be when you take the initial photo, or it can be when you edit the photo, or it even can be when you do the simple drawing for your quilt.

SYMMETRY or not.... Symmetry in a photo will always lead to a calm balance photo.  It can also be a strong compositional element or it used too much boring.  I personally like a bit more tension in my compositions so I tend to Assymentrical ones ...shrug... but that's me!

FRAMING ...Setting up your photo with a frame will add some drama to the composition, plus it will easily lead your eye to where you want it to go.  

BALANCE...meaning foreground, middle ground, background should all balance each other.  That said they don't need to be equal.  But adding depth to your photos will help with the composition.  

ODD NUMBERS RULE...Don't ask me why but humans like things grouped in odd take photos of things grouped in odd numbers ( which might mean you need to crop out that 4th flower).  I just proved this to my husband last week when we were grouping our santas on our wall unit.  Once they were grouped in three's and singles they looked so much better than a couple here and there.

Odd Numbers, Rules of thirds

NEGATIVE SPACE...Negative space is not your enemy.  Its okay to have empty quiet bits in your composition.  It will give your focal point more strength.  So if you photo has too much clutter, don't be afraid to crop it out!

Those are a good start (along with all the links).  I know I've written on this before, but when I saw the segment and it looked like you  just put a bit of a fabric here and there - sprinkle some here and there....I thought ....whoooaaa...its not that easy.  Of course, the artists knew that (and what I'm sure they teach in their classes). Its because of their experience they made it look so easy but random it is not!

Yes....Off the Wall Friday will be posted for upcoming the  holiday weekends....I mean really....they weren't going to let us out anyways....might as well sew under the mistletoe!!

So What Have You've Been up to Creatively?

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Norma Schlager said...

What a great post to which you obviously gave a lot of time and thought. Thank you!

For the love of geese said...

This is a technique I've been interested in except using a fusible to secure your pieces first. Thank you for the linky party.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great photo advice. I didn’t know about the rule of threes!


Rebecca Grace said...

Definitely a timely post! As I'm thinking ahead to New Year's Resolutions, taking better photos of my work is near the top of the list. The art principles you mentioned in this post were familiar to me, like I'd learned them years ago, yet not things I'd been thinking about AT ALL when I pick up my phone to snap a photo. I guess I've always thought of my camera as a tool for visual-note-taking that might lead to art, rather than thinking about the potential for a photograph to BE the art, if that makes sense. Thank you!

Allison said...

I enjoyed your photography post. Such good information and tricks I will need to try. Thank you for posting it.

Robbie said...

What a great post! One to bookmark for sure! Thanks so much!!!!

Nina Marie said...

I'm so glad you all found the information useful. I swear I always worry that someone is out there reading and think, oh look Nina is harping on design principles again!! Thanks for the kind words!!