…. composition exercise conclusion

February 27, 2016

Results of ‘composition exercise 1’: dividing a landscape into thirds, placing visual interest at each intersectional  point….


Results of ‘composition exercise 2’:


and 3:


bringing us to 4:

It has taken a long spell of waffling over what to do about being less than pleased with the finished piece.  The snowy fields seemed to extend themselves too far down, without enough visual interest to hold a viewer’s attention.  And then I gave into the temptation/artistic trap I almost always seem to fall into, which is going one step too far by defining open field with regimented rows of corn which wind up being so monotonous, the fence posts going the opposite direction only add yet more visual predictability  and kill whatever freshness the piece had going for it.

….so the only satisfactory outcome was to crop the painting and salvage what could be salvaged.


It is a very small painting, about 6″ x 12″, and has at least enough mood still going on to make it only just worth framing.

As an exercise, however, it was more than useful, and confirmed satisfactorily that placing interest at intersectional points within a composition divided into thirds works (sans rows of corn, that is), does hold one’s attention, and lends a feeling of balance.


9 Responses to “…. composition exercise conclusion”

  1. blglick said

    What a fascinating progression of posts. Thank you for sharing the journey not just the destination. It strikes me that with #3 you were at a fork in the road. The instinct to put in the rows of corn seems to me an instinct to some kind of completion. While, post corn rows, you were less than satisfied with that effect, it was a one of many possible steps towards that moment of transcendency beyond the two dimensions. In addition to the corn rows you filled in other elements as well to the left of the barn and I think perhaps a bit more work on the sky and hillside? All instincts to completion. I find myself wondering what the result would have been with just those additions and the still, empty snow field in the foreground. Certainly a different story than the one you arrived at. Not better necessarily, just different. Both equally strong if one a bit more domestic and the other a bit more epic, both true. Maybe it’s the farmers in my ancestors, but I like #4 quite a bit….


  2. I am very pleased to know you feel this works. It was not something I was all that sure about, and this helps me, Fiona!


  3. Fiona said

    I like the cropped image,especially the proportion of warmth to cool, and the diagonals in the composition. I think you’ve instinctively created another ‘rule of thirds’. Really interesting process, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “…without enough visual interest to hold a viewer’s attention..” Oh, Lance, the heck with “the viewer”; your own attention and vision is just fine, very fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed watching your process and hearing your thoughts to resolve your frustrations. The perfect resolution! Thank you Lance.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Teresa and Bella, how I appreciate your advice–and thank you–and AGREE, if I’d only just let the expanses of snowy fields be. Instead, I began putting in those endless rows of corn which really did scupper the effect so badly there was nothing to be done after that but try and salvage what I could. Thank you again for your perceptiveness and support.


  7. Arts & Rhymes said

    I liked the previous version better even with the field being so large. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Show you how little I know about art because I really like that large white space at the bottom of the page. I thought it gave the space a bit of weightiness that one wouldn’t expect of snow. 🙂 It’s beautiful cropped, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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