Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'm trying to expand.

How much do you think of composing your art pieces?

We're probably all aware of The golden ratio, or the rule of thirds. but do we pay attention to it? I have decide to research it and learn more about the use of it. It's quite interesting when one first start to look into the subject.
Resently I came across a theory based on the golden ratio, and I found it so interesting that I tried it on a piece I made. Photo below.

The theory is based upon how we, by nature, look at things. At least for those of us which are reading from left to right.  By composing your art following this theory, you should be able to keep the viewer's interest to stay with your piece.

The blue lines shows the golden ratio, and to achieve a good and balanced piece of art, one do place the main motif at one of the crossing points, A,B,C,D. This is the rule, whether your sheet is small or large.

The upper right square is made into a smaller 9 square piece and then again an even smaller one lower left. The dark red line indicates the viewers way into your piece of art. Starting top left, and it will be up to us as artists to create interest along the line. Your most valued point of nterest, should be within the square in which the dark line ends.

Now, how did I use this in my piece?

From the start I thought of making a curtain from top left, stright down, hanging with folds, but found that it would disturb too much. Instead I made the wall quite dark, and added some darker spots a bit closer to the table, leading the viewer to the walnuts. Even though I planned this for quite some time, I missed out on a couple of things. Learning, always learning.

The walnuts should have been further back on the table, I would love them to break the table line. Now, I put in much effort to make the walnuts as realistic as possible, hoping for the viewer to want to see more. And, lets say the viewer wanted to see more, he sees some pears, but what's catching his eyes is the red rosehips, smooth and shiny. (Contrast to the walnuts) The rosehips are made realistic as well, but it doesn't show well in my photo. After looking at the rosehips and bird, the wiever sees this stright line upwards. The surface of the crown/cage is rust, non reflective, again a contrast to the rosehips. He reaches the top, and find the reflective ball. This is where I missed out again, the crown should have been stretched an inch upwards. Looking at the smooth shiny ball, the viewer notice the leaves, and I had pure luck with my branch. I didn't plan that to happen, but the branch leads down to the walnuts again. I also made quite some work with my branch, to keep the interest up.

If the viewer is still there, he probably steps back to have a look at what this is all about. That's when he notice my main subject, the pears. The soft and silky surface, in contrast to everything else. I deliberately avoided pencil strokes or splatters on my pears, to create a huge contrast. The tablecloth and wall is also made to highlight the softness of my pears.

There is very few strong white highlights in this piece, and that is excactly what I planned. The front rosehip, the bird (eye and beek) and the juvel of the crown, are the only places you'll find the highlights. Why, you may ask. Because I wanted it to have a soft, calm and cosy atmosphere.

Do you think my plan works?


  1. I don't think I've ever heard of this "ratio of thirds". I have heard that the main focus should be not at the halfway mark but above or below it and not in the middle of the sheet horizontally either. I also have heard that the eye should be able to flow across and back again (not exactly like a circle, but of that nature). I like your painting and appreciate your lesson. I'll try it soon.

  2. This is so beautiful Laila - what did you use to paint this - really lovely work. I too try to remember the ration of thirds - but too often I still end up with the focal point still in the middle!

  3. Beautiful painting, but I think I will stick to my spontaneous paintings. Valerie

  4. Not of heard of that one, but love your results. Annette x

  5. I have heard of the rule of thirds and it goes for photography too... although it helps I am with Susi I need the spontaneity in my art! When it's too contrived it just doesn't work as well for me! But good for you learning as much as you can about it!! Lovely artwork!

    Hugs Giggles

  6. Thanks for the valuable lesson Laila, I have heard of the rule of thirds but just vaguely.

  7. Was just discussing this with a good friend & my hubby this past week. Have found that, while we may not "think" about it, we tend to use it unconsciously. It is a natural draw when we are looking at something, either to photograph, edit, or make into a painting.

    Thank you for the more in-depth illustration of the rule of thirds!


  8. I've heard of the golden ratio and also seen the curved line theory someplace but I must confess to never paying any attention to them! I guess I should study up on these things.

  9. I have often noticed how the eye roams through the drawings of the great masters. I've tried to follow suit most of the time. I didn't know there was a name for it. Thank you for sharing this and for showing us that exquisite drawing. It fills my eyes to the brim.

  10. Wonderful post! Always good to get a refresher on composition! I have never tried to build a painting according to the rules - it is a great exercise! Maybe I'll try this with some pen and ink renderings :)

  11. Hi Laila,

    Your painting is beautifully colored and it did grab my attention! I am REALLY enjoying reading your information on how we look at a painting - thank you for sharing all that you have learned.

  12. This is fascinating, Laila and you have described this Golden Ratio so well, thanks very much. Your still life is lovely and beautifully drawn and painted, I especially like the walnuts, the pears and the excellent bird.

  13. Your painting is really beautiful, Laila!

  14. Hi this is a great reminder. I think as artists we tend to just go for it and at times forget some of the golden rules. Well done