Perfection in art is the settled feeling that there is nothing extraneous to the piece— that every line, tone, and color is perfectly orchestrated so that each part works for the benefit of the whole. Nothing can be removed without damaging the integrity of the painting. To achieve this kind of harmony, the artist must make careful decisions about the composition of his piece.
During this stage, the artist is creating theme and variation in both line and value. The subject of the painting can be distilled into simplified linear movements or angle directions that lead the viewer’s eye through the work. The most simple of these are vertical, horizontal, and diagonal vectors, which create a strong statement if they are repeated throughout the artwork. For example, the repetition of vertical lines could be found in a forest scene, creating a sense of towering strength and stability while also forming an almost musical rhythm. This repetition helps convey the intentions of the artist through a hierarchy of directional line.
Another linear element to consider is the curved gestural line, or arabesque, which draws the eye from one area of the painting to another, like the proverbial fairy tale of the hunter following the guiding ball of string through the wilderness. Enclosures, where arcs are used to encompass visual elements within simple circular shapes, are yet another unifying compositional tool. These can be as simple as relating the left side of a figure’s ribcage to the right or as complicated as binding together a number of sweeping forms in a crowd of dancing figures. Enclosures can also take the form of other shapes in two and three dimensions.
When organizing a composition in value, the artist looks for an overall mood, such as a high key, low key, or middle key, as discussed in Chapter Three. Additionally, he prioritizes a principal value arrangement, both determining the areas of highest contrast and distilling the surrounding value into the biggest possible masses. This generates a beautiful and simple framework for the more detailed areas. When two artists are equally competent technically, the artist who is able to create a more brilliant composition will surpass the other every time.
Classical Painting Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice
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"I just graduated from the BFA in Graphic Design at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Brazil, and one of the chapters of my monograph was about composition. As a motion designer, the proper layout of elements is a very important phase in my creative process, so any tool that helps with making decisions on that is very valuable. What I love about your studies is that it's full of images and resources, it's a gold mine in my opinion. Thanks for providing so much information at an affordable price." - Eveline Falcão
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As I began reading about the old world masters, including da Vinci, Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir, I learned that Dynamic Symmetry structurally changed paintings from being passive to active and dynamic. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that a small, yet renowned, group of photographers were well known for using Dynamic Symmetry in their photographs of city life and people. My journey began by reading. The Dynamic Symmetry Art website has numerous resources that gave me a crash course in art and composition. I had to learn about the visual properties of different kinds of rectangles and how each can be divided into compositional elements. Then I began using the Dynamic Symmetry grid overlays in Lightroom to analyze and crop my photos. I have found dynamicsymmetryart.com extremely beneficial, and it has contributed immensely with my efforts to improve as a photographer. Thank you for your commitment to art and art education." - Warren Wish
"With the passing of Myron Barnstone, we lost a great resource on the application of the Rectangles of the Masters and the Golden Section in creating art. But the website dynamicsymmetryart.com is carrying on that work Myron so thoroughly believed in and taught. Dynamic Symmetry can be used in the simplest of ways as well as being infinitely complex if one desires. Great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci recognized the power that this compositional tool offers. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is an amazing reference for artists who are open to exploring the benefits of using Dynamic Symmetry in their work. It applies to all the arts and resonates at a primal level of understanding harmony and beauty. Much thanks to James Cowman for his dedication to furthering this information to the public." - Master Artist and Teacher, Dot Bunn, Red Stone Farm Studio