composition 1

Elements- 1
by Nitin Kumar
In the visual arts – in particular painting, graphic design, photography and sculpture –
composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in
a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work. It can also be thought of as the
organization of the elements of art according to the principles of art.
The term composition means 'putting together,' and can apply to any work of art,
from music to writing to photography, that is arranged or put together using
conscious thought. In the visual arts, composition is often used interchangeably with
various terms such as design, form, visual ordering, or formal structure, depending on
the context. In graphic design for press and desktop publishing composition is
commonly referred to as page layout.
These paintings all show the same subject, the Raising of Lazarus, and essentially
the same figures, but have very different compositions:
Elements of Composition
The various visual elements, known as elements of design, formal elements, or elements
of art, are the vocabulary with which the visual artist composes. These elements in
the overall design usually relate to each other and to the whole art work.
"Elements of design" are:
Line - the visual path that enables the eye to move within the piece
Shape - areas defined by edges within the piece, whether geometric or organic
Color - hues with their various values and intensities
Texture - surface qualities which translate into tactile illusions
Tone - Shading used to emphasize form
Form - 3-D length, width, or depth
Space - the space taken up by (positive) or in between (negative) objects
Depth - perceived distance from the observer, separated in foreground, background,
and optionally middle ground
Line and shape
Literal lines do not exist in nature, but are the optical phenomena created
when objects curve away from the viewer. Nonetheless, line-like shapes are for
all intents considered line elements by the artist; for example, telephone and
power cables or rigging on boats. Any such elements can be of dramatic use in
the composition of the image. Additionally, less obvious lines can be created,
intentionally or not, which influence the direction of the viewer's gaze. These
could be the borders of areas of differing color or contrast, or sequences of
discrete elements, or the artist may exaggerate or create lines perhaps as part
of his style, for this purpose. Many lines without a clear subject point suggest
chaos in the image and may conflict with the mood the artist is trying to evoke.
Movement is also a source of line, and blur can also create a reaction. Subject
lines by means of illusion contribute to both mood and linear perspective,
giving the illusion of depth. Oblique lines convey a sense of movement and
angular lines generally convey a sense of dynamism and possibly tension. Lines
can also direct attention towards the main subject of picture, or contribute to
organization by dividing it into compartments.
The brain often unconsciously reads near continuous lines between different
elements and subjects at varying distances
What is a line in Art?
Line – a series of points; an area whose length is considerably greater than its width; anindication
of direction, an apparent movement. A line is a point moved or moving through space. This
applies to drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, clay/pottery, and architecture.
Characteristics of lines: lines can be actual or implied; a line which denotes or describes an
outside edge of an object is a contour line. A contour line divides the plane or delineates an edge
of a volume.
A directional line points or moves the eye in a particular direction. Horizontal – often read as
across, quiet, stable. Vertical: reaching up, spiritual, uplifting, rising. Diagonal: dynamic,
Lines can be interpreted as having expressive qualities; particular qualities – thick or thin,
weighty or straight, hard-edged or soft – can indicate moods or feelings.
If you could visually divide the paper in half. There would be a poppy on both
sides. No one side dominates the pictures.
Neither poppy appears to be more important than the other.
What type of balance is shown in this painting, Arrangement in Grey and Black:
Portrait of the Painter's Mother (commonly known as Whistler’s Mother), by James Whistler?
If you said, asymmetrical balance, you were right! The large form of the woman is
"visually equal" to the black curtain and white painting on the wall. This makes the
painting appear balanced.
What type of balance is shown in this stained glass artwork, Rose Window?
Radial Balance! Look at the spiral or spinning effect of the pattern. The axis is the center
point and the design or pattern appears to "radiate" from that point.
What type of balance is shown here?
George Seurat, (French) 1859-1891, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte
Here the larger figures to the right are balanced by the many smaller figures to
the left. Also, Seurat added additional "light" to the left. How does this add
balance to the painting?
What type of balance is shown here?
The monkey and the the cat
balance each other out on
either side of the woman.
Freda Khalo, Autorretarto con
Collre de Espinas y Colibri,