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Drawing & Painting with Style and Confidence
Anne Kullaf © 2008
Color and composition are key elements in any successful piece of art. Regardless of medium chosen, layout and use of color are essential in keeping the viewer engaged with the work.
Anne Kullaf © 2008
Color & Composition
Course Overview« During the weeks that this course runs we will explore color and composition through a series of weekly challenges that address the following: ± Color: Color Harmony & the Limited Palette Working with White Working with Values and Temperature to Create Mood & Atmosphere ± Composition: Elements of design Principles of organization Compositional Techniques Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition .
Color Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition .
Color Basics Colors that complement one another should be used to create shadows and darks. colors that appear opposite one another on the color wheel Example: if you need to show a shaded area on a lemon (yellow. in other words. primary color) use violet (secondary color) Mix your secondary colors whenever possible instead of using them directly from the tube Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition .
The Limited Palette Try working with a limited palette of 3 primaries. If necessary. just remember to keep it to 3 primaries and one dark neutral plus white. you can always add in a brighter primary for the areas in highlight²for example. One of my favorites is: ± Cobalt blue . I often will use a cadmium yellow in addition to the colors above when working on sunlit landscapes just to get that extra ³glow´ in my greens.Titanium white ± Yellow ochre You may experiment with other colors you like. Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition . one dark neutral and one white.Burnt umber ± Alizarin crimson .
this illustrates the wide range of effects capable with a limited palette. Color & Composition . 1 Palette: Cobalt Blue Alizarin Crimson Yellow Ochre Cadmium Yellow Burnt Umber Titanium White Anne Kullaf © 2008 Notice the difference in mood of the 2 paintings above.The Limited Palette 2 Paintings. Both were painted using the colors listed at left.
Color & Composition . as well as to the temperature of the colors it is reflecting especially in the shadows Anne Kullaf © 2008 Although the painting above is of a pile of all white laundry. dioxazine violet. they are more of an off white as opposed to the cool whites of the cottons. a variety of colors was used to paint it: yellow ochre.Working with White White reflects color from objects that surround When painting white objects. pay attention to the temperature of the object itself. The color variation provides interest as well as defines the textures of the different fabrics. cobalt blue. burnt umber and titanuium white. Notice the warm and cool highlights on the silky fabrics.
Working with Values &Temperature to Create Mood & Atmosphere Vary the mood and atmosphere of your paintings through your color choices: ± Dark colors can be used to create a dramatic lighting effect as in the painting top right ± Bright colors can create a lighter. more festive feeling Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition .
Composition Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition .
Elements of Design Line . Wikipedia . middle ground.areas defined by edges within the piece.visual routes which take vertical. whether geometric or organic Color . horizontal or diagonal paths Size .the relative dimensions and proportions of images or shapes to one another Perspective . background Space .the space taken up by (positive) or in between (negative) objects Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition Source: Composition.hues with their various values and intensities Texture .expression of depth: foreground.the visual path that enables the eye to move within the piece Shape . (Visual Arts).surface qualities which translate into tactile illusions Direction .
Negative space Color Contrast: the value. as does geometry) Perspective Color & Composition Source: Composition. used within the picture. or consistency among the elements The orientation of elements The area within the field of view used for the picture (cropping) The path or direction followed by the viewer's eye when they observe the image. or degree of lightness and darkness. Wikipedia Anne Kullaf © 2008 .Principles of Organization Shape and proportion Balance among the elements Harmony. (Visual Arts). Rhythm Illumination or lighting Repetition (Sometimes building into pattern. rhythm also comes into play.
(Visual Arts). why? Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition Source: Composition. The painting on the left follows the rule of thirds. The objective is to stop the subject(s) and areas of interest (such as the horizon) from bisecting the image. Wikipedia . but it still is successful compositionally. by placing them near one of the lines that would divide the image into three equal columns and rows. ideally near the intersection of those lines. The painting on the right does not follow the rule of thirds. notice the placement of the objects of interest close to the orange lines.Compositional Techniques Rule of thirds ± The rule of thirds is a guideline commonly followed by visual artists.
there is always one in the middle that is "framed" by the surrounding objects. What other compositional techniques are used to make it work? What other rules are broken? Describe the compositional strategies of the painting on the right. breaks the rule of odds by having 4 objects (the mason jars) instead of 3. yet it is a successful composition. The painting on the left. Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition Source: Composition (Visual Arts). a diptych.Compositional Techniques Rule of odds ± The rule of odds states that by displaying an odd number of objects. Wikipedia .
Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition Source: Composition (Visual Arts) Wikipedia . Another example would be when picturing a runner. The headlights on the cars in the painting at right are aimed into the empty road.to which the artist wants to apply the illusion of movement ± This can be achieved by leaving white space in the direction the eyes of a portrayed person are looking at. further implying space.Compositional Techniques Rule of space ± The applies to artwork (photography. The painting on the left shows figures moving in opposite directions. illustration) picturing object(s): . advertising. adding white space behind him rather than in front of him to indicate movement. there is space implied by the shadows behind the figures walking into the painting and those walking toward the viewer.
By decreasing the extraneous content. the viewer is more likely to focus on the primary objects. Source: Composition (Visual Arts) Wikipedia Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition . the artist may use less detailed and defined brushwork towards the edges of the picture. In this painting. The triangle created by the elements in this image further solidifies the composition. squares and color. as the brighter areas of the image tend to draw the eye. In painting. Clutter can also be reduced through the use of lighting. the surrounding buildings and traffic are depicted with looser brushwork than that of the main building and figures. as do lines.Compositional Techniques Simplification ± Images with clutter can distract from the main elements within the picture and make it difficult to identify the subject.
Wikipedia . which can appear less natural for a naturalistic. Thus if you have more than one subject in your picture. the mouth and eyes fall within the corners of the area of an equilateral triangle.Compositional Techniques Limiting focus ± When used properly in the right setting. Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition Source: Composition: Visual Arts. Geometry and symmetry ± The "rule of odds" suggests that an odd number of subjects in an image is more interesting than an even number. this technique can place everything that is not the subject of the painting out of focus. In a attractive face. the suggestion is to choose an arrangement with at least three subjects. ± Related to the rule of odds is the observation that triangles are an aesthetically pleasing implied shape within an image. informal composition. An even number of subjects produces symmetries in the image.
Exact bisections of the picture space should be avoided. unless a symmetrical or formal composition is desired. high contrast. showing more sky if painting is of clouds. Small. A moving subject should have space in front. The prominent subject should be off-centre.Other Compositional Techniques (just remember it¶s ok to challenge the rules!) There should be a center of interest or focus in the work. The subject should not be facing out of the image. sun rise/set. duller elements. The direction followed by the viewer's eye should lead the viewer's gaze around all elements in the work before leading out of the picture. and more ground if a landscape Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition Source: Composition (Visual Arts) Wikipedia . and can be balanced by smaller satellite elements the horizon line should not divide the art work in two equal parts but be positioned to emphasize either the sky or ground. to prevent it becoming a pattern in itself. elements have as much impact as larger.
Tying it all together« Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition .
practice. what doesn¶t and most important²ask yourself WHY? Anne Kullaf © 2008 Color & Composition . analyze what works. practice! Focus on shapes and values ± sketch in charcoal! Use complementary colors for shading Try working with a limited palette Be aware of compositional techniques but don¶t be a slave to them! Experiment and try to break some ³rules´.Tying it all together« Here are some things you can do to loosen up: Practice.
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