Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Feather and Egg Composition

Here is the sketch and value study for my next studio still life. The set up I am using is truly all about controlling the lighting and having access to my subject at any time of day. I have a great north light window for working under natural light but Ra the sun god and I seem to have different schedules. I use a shadow box on a shelving unit with some color corrective bulbs and floods. I use black drapery on the sides to eliminate any outside light on the scene.

There is an abnormally large collection of objects that sit around the studio awaiting their call to the stage. When I design a still life I look for objects that have a interesting form and relationship to one another.  I am looking for intriguing patterns and shapes within the composition.

Good composition is the result of careful considerations and planning in the initial phase of a work. I use a rule of thirds to zero in on where I think the center of interest is, however to see how the eye will move through the design I will often draw a harmonic armature over a contour drawing. The armature is to help plan the design and actual see where things lay within the composition. Are things too high or too low on the picture plane, does the design feel right in relationship to the canvas, what is the rhythm and placement of shapes? The use of this classical geometry is the best and simplest tool I have found to judge composition. Drawing a quick armature over a design will quickly point out its weaknesses, and working with the mathematical proportion will only increase your intuitive sense of composition.

And after drawing comes composition. 
A well-composed painting is half done.

Feather and Egg  Harmonic Armature 9 x 12 inches


Harmonic Armature - Thomas Kegler's PDF on Composition
Rule of Thirds      
Golden Ratio       
Fibonacci’sGolden Number      

Explore - Question - Learn - Enjoy, Jim