Friday, September 30, 2016

Intermediate Watercolor Homework 9/30/16 Adjusting Composition

Most of the time the "Reality" of what you choose to paint can be treated as a jumping off place. It's your painting, you can alter it however you please. Nothing is sacred. I think we all understand this intellectually, but there can be some powerful forces that urge us to duplicate the source, as if that's our job. One of these is the notion that the more the painting looks like the scene, the better the painting is. That may, in fact, be exactly the criterion you want to apply, and it is as valid as any other, but if you find yourself bound to accuracy even though you'd prefer to make a personal interpretation, you might consider a "one thing at a time" approach.
Let's begin by looking at changes you might make to the composition of a scene. This need not involve big changes, like altering the color of a building, or deleting something altogether. Sometimes just turning your paper to a vertical rather than horizontal format can resolve compositional issues.

If you are actually on the scene, you can make profound adjustments to the composition by changing where you stand. Which of the following arrangements of shapes appeals most to you?

A change like this is easier to make than one that violates reality. We don't need permission to move the whole scene up or down, but it can seem like a sin to remove something, or change just part of the scene. 
The first step is to allow yourself to consider changes that improve the potential painting. In the photo below, can you picture how the scene would look if you took out the car on the left? Or the building behind it. Maybe both.

How would changing the composition affect the illusion of space? What if you raised the roofline of the rusty building till it overlapped the ridge line of the hill?

For homework, start with a photo and make any changes you believe would improve it as a painting source. See if you can identify the changes you want before you make a painted version. Remember, the best way to see if something belongs in the painting is to leave it out. And by all means remember, nothing is sacred. Bring in the original so we can all see how your changes affect the results.

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