Principles of Composition #1 The Focal Point

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Joyce Lydia wrote
on 17 Dec 2010 7:14 AM

Sammy, this was not as easy as I thought it would be.  But here goes I do need help!  Joyce

With the golfer I would movied him over a touch more in the middle.

 In this pic I would cut the left part of the pic to bring the tree more to the middle and make the rocks a little bigger.

 .

And in this pic I would cut most the branch off on the left side to bring out the bird.  I think the branch is what you look at first now.  

Joyce

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kmbjbb wrote
on 17 Dec 2010 12:54 PM

I have tried and tried, but for the life of me, I am unable to even sketch these images. Nothing looks remotely right or like it should be. I can visually see how the positions should be in my eyes, but I cannot sketch them out. I have tried to manipulate the images with software that I have, but all I can do is crop, resize or change color. I can also flip the whole image. I can't figure out how to flip part of the image. I downloaded Gimp, but can't figure it out. I cannot afford to purchase Photoshop.

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on 17 Dec 2010 6:34 PM

Joyce, let me explain the concept of rule of thirds again.

Mentally or manually, divide your paper or canvas into thirds both horizontally and vertically like this.

 

Take note of where the lines intercept - those are the sweet spots.  I've circled the sweet spots for you.

 

 

Once you decide what you want to be the most important part of your paintings, you put it in one of the four sweet spots.   This is to remind you that you do NOT want the most important feature to be in the center, nor the corners, nor the edges.

If you were actually going to paint the golfer, you would not want him in the center of the paintings.  His head and yellow shirt are what seem important to me and then the ball.  Therefore, I would want his head and upper body in a sweet spot and the ball in another.  His upper body is most important and the ball is important but less so.

The photograph of the tree and rocks is a perfect example of how the focal point (important feature) is in a sweet spot.  You would not need to change anything in this photo.

With the bluebird, it is fine if you want to remove the branch on the left or make it more subtle but you should put the bird in one of the sweet spots.   If you cropped off the left half of the photo the bird would move left.  If you cropped off some of the top of photo, the bird would move up to a sweet spot.

You do not need to worry about any other aspect of composition right now.  Just the focal point and sweet spot.

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on 17 Dec 2010 6:54 PM

Kristina, I am so sorry that you are having such a difficult time with the assignment.  You do not need to purchase Photoshop or any other program.  Nor do you need to draw beautiful pictures.  All you need are quick drawings to show where you would place the focal point.  Look at these two paintings which worked quite well.

This one is asusanrai's drawing of the sheep.

 

This one is Sandi's drawing  showing where she would place the bird, which is the focal point.

Neither one of these are great drawings, just simple sketches to demonstrate the focal point.

Don't get frustrated.  Enjoy the process of learning some simple principles of composition.

Sam/Sammy

 

 

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sandichot wrote
on 17 Dec 2010 8:07 PM

Kristina - Please don't feel bad. I downloaded both Gimp and Snagit and cannot get any of these two to work even for simple actions such as crop, cut or change colors. Someone will have to show it to me in person because I can't understand Tutorials at all. I worked in an office for 26 yrs and when computer became essential part in office work, I used it everyday and kept up with all programs available and I taught my people who were under my supervision to use the computer too. Image manipulation is not my cup of tea.

Hang in there. You don't have to do it now. When things calm down and you have some quiet time maybe you can start doodling and see what you can do. It doesn't have to be art, just some lines to show which sweet spots you want to put your important part of your painting in.

Sandi

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Turps245 wrote
on 17 Dec 2010 8:24 PM

Kristina all I did was crop and reverse the photos. You can do a lot with just those two. You don't have to get fancy or need all that other stuff and a quick line or even a stick  drawing as Sam says is all you need too. The lesson Sammy is giving us is something many artists struggle with no matter how long they have been painting. However if you go over it enough times it eventually sticks. Get these basics down and the rest will click so don't stress just try it look and learn it will come. Now when she gets to perspective I'll start screaming!!!!

Heck I can't even load a simple spell check! Big Smile Jen

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on 17 Dec 2010 10:16 PM

Hi Sam,

Here's my attempt at repositioning the water lily. Took photo with my cell phone, so it's not too well lit ...

Alex

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on 18 Dec 2010 4:23 AM

Alex, the waterlily is in a sweet spot.  You got the idea. Sam/Sammy

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kmbjbb wrote
on 18 Dec 2010 6:45 PM

Okay - Since I am currently bedridden up to a point (fell 4 times today, once after being hit by a truck), I thought I would try just quick pencil sketches. I took about 1-3 minutes on each. Did not want to think too much. I spent more time taking pictures with the webcam and cropping them and then resizing for the forum guidelines. Hope I got this right and hope they don't look too childish, but then, we are working on focal point, not beauty at this point in time, right?

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Joyce Lydia wrote
on 18 Dec 2010 7:17 PM

Hi Sammy, I got it! I got it! Thanks!!!!!!!  Sometimes it takes me just a little longer than most!  Now I just need to apply it to all my art!!!  You are fantasy.

Joyce

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Turps245 wrote
on 18 Dec 2010 8:11 PM

Kristina whatever have you been doing to yourself? Are you okay. How did you get hit by a truck!  Take care of yourself.

I think your sketches are fine and say it all. I am sure Sammy will make some good comments on them. Jen

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sandichot wrote
on 19 Dec 2010 5:50 AM

Ditto Jen,

Kristina, you sound like you are O.K  because you can do art and set up your webcam . But I am curious as to what happened. And why do you keep falling. Have you been to a doctor or getting some good care?

Sandi

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on 19 Dec 2010 7:12 AM

Kristina, these sketches are perfect.  You get your point across with these.  The lily is in a sweet spot but your lily pads are too scattered over the page.  It would be good if you could overlap some or most of them.

I like that you put the house on a slope.  Diagonal lines are dynamic.  Your big house is near a sweet spot but would be better is it was moved just a little to the right so that it isn't so close to the edge.  The golfer and bird are both just about right but both could be moved just a tad more toward the center so that they aren't so close to the edge.

You did a fantastic job with these sketches and they demonstrate that you get the idea.

You rest and take care of yourself.  Sam/Sammy   

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on 19 Dec 2010 7:14 AM

Joyce, I'm so glad that you understand how to place the focal point in your painting.  It will be a big help to you.  Sam/Sammy

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kmbjbb wrote
on 19 Dec 2010 11:16 AM

Okay - as for my falling and getting hit by a truck. First off, I have fibromyalgia. Basically that is unexplained pain all across the body that no matter what kinds of tests are done, there is no one cause. It's all considered neurological I think. Also, I have neuropathy on my right side. I have numbness from my right shoulder down to my right calf. It is only on the outside of the body. The muscles work fine, but there is a constant tingle like when your hand falls asleep. I have had CT-scans, MRI's, X-Rays and EMG's (never wish that on my worst enemy). The doctor cannot explain it, but my muscles, bones and nerves are all in working order and the communication between my brain and all systems is good. I just experience this numbness and it makes for "fun times" when walking. Some days, I cannot get up and walk, other's, you'd never know there was anything wrong. 

Yesterday, I went to the store and am ever vigilant about my surroundings. I noticed a truck backing out, so I waited before walking away from my car. After the truck put it's gear into drive, I moved away from my car and started across the parking lot into the store. I was using my rollator/walker. For some reason, the trucked slowly backup again down the lane and I was hit and knocked to the ground. No injuries and some people helped me up. The truck drove off like a "bat out of hell". I fell twice more due to the pain in my leg and finally the security guard helped me into the store. I sat for a few and had a drink. When I felt I was okay to walk, I did my little bit of shopping. I fell again in the store. The manager saw, helped me up and helped me check out. He and the security guard helped me to my car (I insisted that I was okay to drive) and I drove home. Texted the family that I had groceries and they would need to bring them in. I am fine - just in a lot of pain and will be taking a Tylenol 3 for bed. The truck didn't do much except for a small "nudge" or "bump" so there's really isn't any damage. I am slightly bruised from the falls, but that's so much a part of my life. I usually never go anywhere alone, but I wanted some peace and alone time yesterday, Ya know?

Today, other than being a little achy, I am fine.

Sammy- I realized that I had cropped a little too far off the left side of the pictures. Also, never thought of over-lapping the lily-pads, but you are right. It would be better. The farmhouse was like a memory for me. My grandparents used to have a chicken farm and clover fields in Ohio. It was very hilly and wonderful and made for the run-off of the chickens to be so much better. The only difference was, the barn was larger than the house. It was a 3-4 story barn for all the chickens and feed.

Kristina-

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