Sunday, January 3, 2010

Steelyard composition

I've been thinking about composition...my paintings seem to come out best when I have a plan. This painting is based on the "Steelyard composition". The Steelyard uses distribution of forms based on size...a large size element and a smaller one placed far from the center in the opposite direction.
My favorite book on the subject of Composition is Edgar Payne's book, Composition of Outdoor Painting. Here is something out of Payne's book that I really enjoy considering.."what to avoid when composing"... I have made all these errors several times over... It's best to have a plan!
(click to enlarge)

18 comments:

hwfarber said...

This beautiful! You paint great landscapes; you also do interesting portraits.

I sometimes make a preliminary sketch; usually that tells me what not to do. I need to spend more time planning--that's not a resolution, though.

Rick said...

Payne's "what to avoid" has some interesting points. I don't paint at all (I can barely draw a stick man!), but I take a lot of pictures. I frequently ignore all of Payne's advice! Of course, photos and paintings are (generally) different things. Aren't they? ;-)

You have some nice paintings here!

Kathy said...

The steelyard composition is quite a balancing act and you pulled it off beautifully!

-Don said...

Thanks for this great reminder. You have used the steelyard composition perfectly in this beautiful painting. -Don

lilasvb said...

very nice post

Caio Fernandes said...

i think this concept of composition is just a copy of the ancient "law of gold" that exist for more than 1000 years . what works all the time .
one think i like about your landscapes is that isn't rare , i have that feeling of air in front of the image . i can't explain this , but few painters in history got concerned to creat this . and i love so much . i don't do this . the models and light i have chosen don't give me this feeling .
it is time for me to change !!
thank you Celeste !!

indigomar said...

Hi Celeste, I was reading Mastering Composition this morning, studying the 8 common armatures of composition that Ian Roberts features in the book. His diagrams are very helpful; seeing the diagrams in your post of what NOT to do is great. Helpful in the opposite way.
Its frightening to think of all the not to do's I've painted over the years! Composition is so tough to get. I see it in my work and when I teach, its probably the maing thing my students contend with. I love it when a student intuitively understands composition-I learn from them!

ArtSparker said...

This a very handsome painting, but for me, it is less soulful than some of your others - something about its formality makes it less intimate. I'm going to (completely ignorantly) vote for more Bergin, less Payne.

Christopher O'Handley said...

Nicely balanced painting! I'm fond of that layout/composition style.

Regarding the composition errors...I've made them all! But I think it's important to remember that it's OK to "break the rules" if you have a specific purpose in mind. You probably don't want the horizon line in the middle of all your paintings, but if it's necessary to convey a particular mood or idea, do it! Same goes for the other "errors". At least, that's how I think about it. Be aware of the rules, but break them when necessary.

rob ijbema said...

comp. works for me celeste but what i'm most impressed with is the mood you've capture!

PAMO said...

Your work is amazing Celeste! Thanks for the lesson.

Chuck Dilmore said...

sweetness & depth~
C

mark said...

I think my most successful painting lately is the one I borrowed the composition from the illustrious masterful painter of gorgeous landscapes- Celeste Bergin.

Celeste Bergin said...

.... hwfarber, Rick, Kathy, Don, Lilas, Caio, Indigo, Susan, Christopher, Rob, PAMO, Chuck (dreamboat) and Mark! I enjoy reading what you think about composition and in particular the "Steelyard". Is that a guy's name? Guess I should look that up. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!

Chris said...

really helpful info and thanks for the link to that booksite.

Celeste Vaught said...

Excellent post Celeste - I'm working on a piece right now that I can now understand what the problem is! Thanks.

Suzanne said...

Thanks, Celeste , for the drawings from Payne's book. When outside and being absorbed by the lovely colors of trees and flowers , I find it easy to be distracted and forget these composition ideas.
Your painting is beutiful!

Julz of the World said...

Huge exhibit of Payne's work at the Crocker in Sacramento right now. I just stumbled into it today.