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  1. #1
    Vital Statistics: 12x12 leanie's Avatar
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    Step Thirteen - Compose Yourself

    This week we are going to go back to the basics of composition, so for this weeks research my theme is one of there not being enough hours in the day/fitting things into my life/etc. Feel free to pick your own and keep it in mind when doing this week's 'research'...

    We will need to find some scrap paper and do each of the following and cut them out individually:
    Stamp something - this will be fun as I don't have access to my stamps this week
    Draw something
    Write something
    (scrap paper is normally thin enough, but if you're lucky enough and rich enough to do this on acetate or other clear media, or even vellum or parchment, remember to use a permanent ink such as stazon or permanent pens, and to clean your stamps immediately afterward)

    Finally, cut something out from a printed piece- whether that's a collage element you print yourself, a magazine, newspaper, or packaging.

    See you Wednesday, and thanks for following along on the journey,
    Leanne x
    Last edited by leanie; 07-04-2012 at 11:15 PM.

    Personal blog *
    Craftaholics TL & Blue Brad DTL * CJs: MojoII&III * SWAPS: Nada!

  2. #2
    Vital Statistics: 12x12 leanie's Avatar
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    This weeks 'action' portion will be in post format as I don't have access to my MS Word this week!
    And for some reason there are random stars dotted about in the text... Sorry!
    Leanne x

    As previously mentioned, this week we are going to go back to the basics of composition. *In its very basic form, this means how you arrange things on the page. *You can go into various levels of intricacy with this, as we will discover as we go on- but the main aim is to understand the 'rules' of composition, and why- in the majority of cases- they work!

    This week's 'research' portion was to stamp, draw, write and cut out. *Simple, but this way you now hopefully have a set of related items that we can arrange on your page, and we can spend our creative time concentrating on the composition, rather then the content

    Again, as mentioned, my theme is one of there not being enough hours in the day/fitting things into my life/etc. which is what occurred to me when I thought of composition- not a particularly long reach. *I don't mind, because this is also something I want to write about on a regular basis anyway!

    What I didn't anticipate was how I was faced with these choices this particular week, out of the blue. *We've a great deal going on behind the scenes at home with hubby, kids, family members being very ill, and have been for a little while. *By this week it's all started to come out into the open, having more visible effects on us all, and we are having to re-prioritise over and over, with no end in sight, no right or wrong answer because every choice has an undesirable side effect.

    I'm reminded of the Pickle Jar Theory...

    A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty pickle jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, *sized about 2" in diameter. *He then asked the students if the jar was full, amd they agreed that it was.
    So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. *He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They cagily agreed it was.
    Then, the professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up all the rest of the available space. *He then asked once more if the jar was full. This time the students were sure and they responded with a unanimous "YES!"
    "Now," said the professor, *"I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things with which, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. *The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. *The sand is everything else. The small stuff.
    "If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. *Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.*
    "Take care of the rocks first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

    Now your theme might be completely different, but I would still like to start with this prioritisation as our first exercise today- simply put your 'pieces' in a pile, with the piece you feel most important on the top. *This is not meant to infer that the pieces underneath aren't important, but just that the top one conveys what you want for this page best of all. *For me, this is the drawing of the waves, and the head I'm going to embellish- I don't always like my own pictures, but I do like to work visually almost as much as I love writing!

    All done? *Here comes the science...!

    Principles Of Art

    The artist - yes, that's YOU - can determine where the center of interest within your work will be, and and compose the elements accordingly. *This will effectively 'pull' the gaze of the viewer to the key message you are trying to get across.
    There are many factors to consider, known by various terms such as principles of art, which can bring an art page, card, scrapbook, or other piece of art into a harmonised item, and not just a random collection of elements. *These are factors such as:
    Shape and proportion
    Positioning/Orientation/Balance/Harmony among the 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
    Negative space
    Contrast: the value, or degree of lightness and darkness, used within the picture
    Geometry: for example, use of the golden ratio (rule of thirds)
    Illumination or lighting
    Repetition (Sometimes building into pattern; rhythm also comes into play, as does geometry)

    In addition, breaking the rules can create tension or unease, yet can it add interest to the picture if used carefully. *So if you have ever looked back at something and thought "Nooooo... it looks like I've just thrown it all on!" then look back over it with this list, and it may just explain why.

    I know that this is a great deal of information, and something you can research further if you feel you'd like to go into further depth, so I'd just like to concentrate on some of the more compositional techniques for our page this week.

    Common Compositional Techniques

    Firstly the Golden Ratio, also known as the rule of thirds. *Here are two pictures, cropped in different ways. *They've been overlaid with a grid that splits them into equal thirds on both directions. *Which do you prefer?

    Without the grid, the majority of people will choose the second picture. *This has been interpreted for centuries as a base affinity we have with the Golden Ratio, which is a mathematical ratio found in art, music, and nature. *A very simplified version of this theory is that as long as there are two thirds of one thing and a third of another, such as the space left and right of the peak in the picture above, we sense a balance, and find this aesthetically pleasing. *
    No one knows for sure why we find this so. *Many plants grow in line with this arrangement, which translates into a Fibbonacci spiral, and which makes for the perfect spacing for growth. *Scientists speculate that, as these numbers provide the perfect arrangement for maximum growth potential and survival, we understand on the most primal and subconscious levels that it is a positive thing.

    Back in AJ land divide your page into thirds, and place the element at the top of your prioritised pile on one of the intersections where the lines cross. *Then, in order, place your other items on other intersections, or into the 'thirds' defined by the lines.

    Visualise where and how your elements will overlap and try different combinations- This is where having 'transparent backgrounds' can really help if you find it difficult to imagine, and I find it handy to take a picture on my phone of each of them so I can compare them back and forth until I'm happy with my choice, and I know it's the best way to portray my message.

    Now take a step back and consider some of the other common compositional techniques, such as the "rule of odds".
    The "rule of odds" suggests that an odd number of subjects in an image is more interesting than an even number. Therefore, *if you have more than one subject in your picture, the suggestion is to choose an arrangement that has at least three subjects, because an even number of subjects produces symmetry in the image, and this can appear as a more forced rather than a naturalistic, informal composition.
    On my page I used this technique to place my journalling.

    As you can see, whilst we're onto odd numbers, I also picked a third compositional technique- the rule of space. (I know, more rules, but I think of them more as guidelines, like Johnny Depp in PotC)
    This can apply to a piece featuring something to which you want to apply the illusion of movement, or which is supposed to create a contextual bubble in the viewer's mind. This can be achieved, for instance, by leaving white space in the direction the eyes of a portrayed person are looking, or, when picturing a runner, adding space in front of him rather than behind him to indicate movement into the space.
    Also, by leaving more space in front of an object, we pull it into the foreground and increase its importance. More space behind it has the reverse effect, because it draws attention to where something has been, rather than where it is going.
    I chose to have more space before my 'head' to show all the information that went in, rather than concentrate on what will be coming out as the result of all that mental processing...!

    So why not play around, see what you do naturally, and see of it falls within any of these, or whether you're one to break from tradition. *Maybe take an old page of a layout you no longer like and change it around, to see if these guidelines make a positive difference- And *let us know if you're in the majority or a rebel!

    Finally, here's my finished page, using the things I've talked about today:

    Feel free to pop onto the thread to share, question and chat- we dont force anyone to share their work as Art Journals are personal places, but it's always great to bounce ideas off each other and be inspired by different viewpoints
    See you next week, when Julie Kirk is back to lead the next leg of ourArt Journey!
    Leanne x

    UKS Leanie

    Personal blog *
    Craftaholics TL & Blue Brad DTL * CJs: MojoII&III * SWAPS: Nada!

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