Saturday, February 5, 2011

Plastic/Psychological continued

Today is semi-grim and somewhat cold.  A Severe Weather Alert has been posted for this afternoon into tomorrow.  Plans for this afternoon and evening have been cancelled.  I’ll be so glad when this winter is over....

I’ve been at work on my proposed painting for a show at the end of March.

I sectioned off my working copy using the Rule of Thirds which is based upon the Golden Mean.  I leave deeper study of the Golden Mean to anyone who cares to research this.  The Rule of Thirds is a shortcut and I’ve been using it for so many years I hardly think about it.  Here is a better description copped from Flickr (underscores mine):

The Rule of Thirds
“One of the most basic and effective strategies for composition is the well-known Rule of Thirds. In a tic-tac-toe fashion, you mentally divide the image into nine rectangular areas by drawing two equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines. The result will give you three equal horizontal and vertical layers, with four points where the lines intersect.

Once you mentally divide the image into that nine part grid, you then place the elements of the scene according to that grid. There are several possibilities:

1. Place elements, especially important subjects, at one or two of the intersection points, what some call the “power points.”

2. Place elements along the vertical or horizontal lines. For example, put the horizon on the bottom line to emphasize the sky, or on the top line to emphasize the landscape.

3. Place elements neatly within the horizontal and/or vertical layers.

4. Combine these strategies in interesting ways.”

I’ve underlined ‘mentally divide’ because that’s how I arrived at the composition in my mind as I looked out at the snow on the roofs that winter morning and arranged the camera shot.  I purposely selected the light area and the houses in that area to be in the power point box – for the camera shot and if I were to ever do a drawing or painting of that scene.


After I marked off my working copy, I drew a rectangle on white sketch paper the same size as the original working copy and sectioned it into 3rds as per the Rule of Thirds.

For demonstration purposes I copied the information from my working copy into 2 separate boxes on my 2nd working copy, the lower lh box and the information in the power point box.  Ordinarily, I start from the Power Point box and work my way out and around.

Some more information about the Rule of Thirds worth remembering:
“Here’s a more subtle aspect of the Rule of Thirds grid. Hopefully, the dimensions of the nine rectangular areas are aesthetically pleasing, as in the “golden ratio” of 8:5. The frame of the typical camera is very close to this ratio, which results in nine areas that also approach those dimensions. Applying the rule of thirds to images of unusual dimensions may result in divisions with proportions that are not as aesthetically pleasing.

Taking the Rule of Thirds as a rigid “rule” is a mistake. It’s best to consider it a guideline. Strict placement of elements according to the grid may be too predictable, too obviously geometric. A more subtle and loose interpretation stimulates that satisfying reaction in which our mind perceives order, but we cannot immediately verbalize why. Place elements near the lines or power points, but not right on them. Organize fields of color and texture close to the horizontal and vertical layers, but not squarely within them. Place a prominent subject at a power point and other elements more loosely around the grid.”

We're expecting more Storm today so I'm sure I'll be doing more work on building this painting.  More soon.

1 comment:

  1. Using the rule of thirds is something I do automatically after so many years but I also then look to see how I might change that "rule" a bit - a surprise is always more interesting than the same old predictable composition. I look forward to seeing how this painting comes out!