Today I gave my students a quick presentation on some of the basic considerations for composition, which I am now sharing with you! I’ve given them separate talks about color and tonal value/contrast, which are also super important compositional concerns. (I’ll be sharing those presentations too once I properly format them)
I personally love learning about different compositional techniques. It’s fun to think about the ways that the brain views & sorts images, and how we can trick it into feeling a certain way or looking at certain aspects of an image first! It’s easy to fall into compositional ruts (which I am also guilty of) because a lot of art gets by with mediocre, though serviceable, compositions. If you can generally understand what’s happening in an image then it’s generally fine. However, it’s the truly great compositions, where everything in the whole image has been considered and ‘clicks’ together, that bump up an illustration to a visual slam dunk. NC Wyeth is one of my favorite artists for this reason: his compositions are rock solid, varied based on the image’s intent, and always enhance the mood or action he is depicting.
Dated to 60-50 BC, the shipwreck was found off the coast of Antikythera. The ship carried cargo dating from 4th to 1st century BC and was sailing towards Italy carrying among other cargo bronze and marble sculptures, glassware and jewellery, and amonst these the famous “Antikythera Mechanism”. The finds reflect the new phenomenon of art trade, the first in the history of Western civilization.
These marble sculptures have been severely eroded by stone-eating organisms of the sea, and only their parts trapped safely in the mud of the seabed have remained wonderfully intact.
Scarred and deformed, the half-destroyed sculptures seem even more human, nearly demonic. No longer serving as images of idealised beauty, their artistic quality has reached a new dimension, distorted by nature’s interference. Their image haunts you long after you’ve left them behind.
Julianne Moore as “Famous Works of Art” by Peter Linderbergh - for Harper’s Bazaar
Seated Woman With Bent Knee by Egon Schiele, La Grande Odalisque by Ingres, Saint Praxidis by Vermeer, The Cripple by John Currin, Les danseuses by Edgar Degas, Madame X by John Singer, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, Woman With a Fan by Modigliani, Man Crazy Nurse #3 by Richard Prince, Adele Bloch Bauer I by Gustav Klimt.