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StudioSense - The Balancing Act

Compositions can be enhanced through a variety of techniques. I like to think abut composition from two perspectives: first, the placement of objects (trees, barns, rocks, people) in the painting, and, secondly, the balance (or more appropriately the imbalance) of value masses.

Here's an example. The image below is "Cross Country Craving" in its earlier stages. Note the "sameness" in the snowscape on both sides of the ski tracks, especially the horizontal rows of brush and the value (lights and darks) of the snow.

Below is an updated version. I have added masses by applying a different value to the lower right side of the tracks. The foreground now includes a darker shadier space. I added some darker values to the left (but purposefully kept in out of balance), as well as to the area in front of and behind the barn.

Since there are several horizontal rows of dark shrubs and grasses, the next step is to break that up. I chose to combine the brush on the left side of the painting. I also broke up the ground in the distant left, beginning to lay down a shady, snowy path behind the barn. Finally, I broke thorough the row on the lower left, "clearing" the brush (hey, nothing to compost!) and filling with the snow's shady blues.

A snowy landscape on a sunny day also convinced me to add a variety of small snow piles and reflections of the bright day. I plan to bring out more contrast between the brightest portions of the snow and the deep blue of their shady areas. Note those updates on the left side of the ski tracks.

As for further compositional changes to make the landscape less balanced, I may tackle adjustments to the distant tree line, more so than the small gap I added to the right of the barn.

The idea here is to vary the shapes of the masses, the lights and darks and the patterns that envelop the landscape, to convey the chaos of nature (in addition to the chaos of a twisted trail of ski tracks!

More to come on this painting. For available paintings for purchase, visit my webpage here.

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