Diagonal Composition for Paintings PartII

Wednesday's post explored the first drawing of five from notans of one landscape scene. Today I'm sharing one that looks at the use of the counter balance and different hue selection. This is the second in a series of three posts exploring the diagonal composition


Here the treatment of the trees places them in line withe smaller counterbalance tree to the right. But this diagonal composition also incorporates the silhouette and stronger back lighting. In essence I have combined two composition designs, the diagonal and the silhouette. The above 5x7 is on paper.


Breaking The Bottom Line

Here I am able to break the imaginary line that runs from the larger mass of trees on the left to the counterbalanced trees on the right. The cast shadows allow for light areas to break the middleground line between the elements. In the first post, the use of light was not as successful. Thus proving that just because I learn the composition designs, there's no guarantee the painting will succeed. Here the elements of light and show work in better unison to create a more believable foreground space than my first attempt.

The above notan is different, slightly, from the one used in the last post. I take liberties in translating the notan to the canvas. This almost has a third composition element, the inverted steelyard. It’s quite clear in the above sketch but disappears and ultimately doesn't play a role in the end design. The dark spot just right of the large mass is slightly elevated above the imaginary line joining right and left masses. That makes it a pivot point, but it is on the wrong side of the line. To be a true steel yard, it would have to be under the imaginary line acting as a balancing point for the heavy and lighter masses above it. The drawing had the hint of some brush to the right as a counter balance but as I blocked the canvas in, I reshaped it and made an artistic decision to make it as dark as the larger mass.


Picking the color palette

Violet was the primary color selected with the harmony coming from the reds and blues. The shadows are not as well defined at this stage but the idea of more intense dark tones is. This color palette to me is more pleasing than the greens selected for the first mini.


What I learned

  • The diagonal can be broken, unlike I thought from my first experiment. My exicution of the design determines how the diagonal can be broken or not

  • The silhouette design works well here with the diagonal design

  • Echoing the diagonal with the background appears to work for me too

  • If other designs emerge then want to disappear, as did the start of a steelyard, let them come and go

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Avon Waters
Modern Artist