….composition exercise 2

January 17, 2016

Continuing on with an attempt to test out the compositional dictum known as ‘the rule of thirds’, which was conceived and named by John Thomas Smith in 1797 :

“. . .  Analogous to this “Rule of thirds”, (if I may be allowed so to call it) I have presumed to think that, in connecting or in breaking the various lines of a picture, it would likewise be a good rule to do it, in general, by a similar scheme of proportion; for example, in a design of landscape, to determine the sky at about two-thirds ; or else at about one-third, so that the material objects might occupy the other two : Again, two thirds of one element, (as of water) to one third of another element (as of land); and then both together to make but one third of the picture, of which the two other thirds should go for the sky and aerial perspectives. . . “

To illustrate its basics…..

ruke of thirds

Once again, this is the drawing I did initially, to put this into practice….


And this is the first go at painting the scene….


And now today, here is the progress so far, attempting to locate some visual interest at each of the four intersections within the piece, the barn being the first and the pine being the second and the creekbed being the third…..


The darkest darks and greatest contrast will remain with the barn, for that is the intended focus for the picture, when completed.

The ‘rule of thirds’, as stated above, holds that generally two-thirds of a landscape be devoted to the sky, with one-third given to the land below (the sky being such a vast and dominant feature).  In this case two-thirds is dedicated to the land and a very high horizon means that the one third is devoted to the sky area.








12 Responses to “….composition exercise 2”

  1. This is interesting, now the rule of thirds always has me stumbling when it concerns animals, aim at eyes, nose, mouth, ears…..plus I personally like quirky positioning ( despite not painting in this way much, as my daughter believes that the rest of the world prefer normal central position)???? it is perfect for landscape though, and I love your composition. Look forward to seeing the next stage.


  2. …thank you so much, Teresa

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous lesson! I know about the rule of thirds, but you demonstrated it beautifully! Loving that piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. …thank you for educating and helping direct me to the Fibonacci spiral! Composition is (one of) my Achilles heel(s), so any help I can get, I will use, Lynn, with thanks.


  5. I love seeing the progress of your paintings. Photographers also use the rule of thirds in composing a shot. I used to but I found it faster to start thinking of the Fibonacci spiral, which achieves similar results. Do you ever use that as a guide, Lance?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gorgeous Lance! Love the colors in the sky particularly. Dying to see the final painting. 💜


  7. Looking beautiful Lance! Masterful example of the rule of thirds and looks like it’s working perfectly. Can’t wait to see the final!


  8. Cathe said

    I’ve been looking forward to how your painting develops. Its coming together so beautifully. I agree with Barry, thank you for sharing your knowledge on composition with us.


  9. ….THANK YOU Rebecca! We will see if it pans out in the end.


  10. ….thank you Barry–I have been a little delinquent lately, and appreciate your keeping me on your list


  11. Rebecca said

    Oh, this is going to be quite delicious, Lance. I can’t wait to see how it develops! Thanks for the explanations too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy Sunday. This is a very cool composition and appreciate you sharing your progress and expertise.

    Liked by 1 person

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