Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

3 Easy Techniques for Dramatically Improving the Composition in All Your Landscape Oil Paintings

April 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 339

In art, composition is how you arrange the various elements to create a pleasing and eye-catching arrangement or design in your oil painting. Good composition is paramount to whether or not your painting will be a strong and interesting work of art or a weak and disordered one. When the composition is done well, you do not notice it so much. You just know there is something interesting about the painting that you find appealing. However when it is done poorly, the painting doesn't look quite right and just feels awkward.

Creating a good composition will be challenging in the beginning and you will have to work at producing a strong one, however eventually with practice, it will become second nature. Here are three easy methods of good composition that you can use to dramatically improve your oil paintings.

Rule of Thirds

The "rule of thirds" is a basic rule of composition that has been used by world renown artists in their oil paintings for over a century. In terms of usefulness, it is really a guideline rather than a rule and is often disregarded by novice artists and many art instructors. What the rule of thirds does is to assist the artist with the placement of each of the various elements that are present within the composition, especially the center of interest. Using it will dramatically improve your paintings.

When the rule of thirds is applied, a rectangle will be divided into three equal rows (horizontal) and three equal columns (vertical) by four lines. The rule of thirds states that the painting has a stronger composition and is much more interesting to view if the center of interest is not directly in the center of the canvas, but rather at one of the four focal points where the vertical and horizontal lines intersect. By placing a secondary object at the opposite intersection, balance in the composition can be achieved. Additionally, for best results, the horizon line in your landscape oil paintings should be placed along the top or bottom horizontal lines. It makes for a more interesting composition when thehorizon is either high or low. For instance one-third of the scene is above the horizon and two-thirds below (or vise-verse). Running it across the middle tends to split the painting in half and creates a weaker composition.

Rabatment of the Rectangle

The next easy technique for creating better compositions is called "rabatment of the rectangle."Rabatment is a way todivide up the space within a rectangular shape to create a square with four equal sides that are equal to the short side of the rectangle. In other words, it is the perfect square that can be found inside any rectangle.

For each landscape (horizontal) rectangle, there is either a right or left rabatment and for each portrait (vertical) rectangle there is an upper or lower. It is within these squares that you wouldplace the most important aspects of your composition, thereby creating a center of interest. Compositions are much more interesting to view if they are not located in the center of your canvas. In the diagram you will notice.

When you use this simple technique to compose your landscape oil paintings, you are more likely to create a composition that is unified, harmonious and balanced. Next time try enclosing your main center of interest within the rabatment square on the canvas. You can use either upper or lower square on a vertically oriented canvas, or left or right square on a horizontally oriented canvas. The elements outside of the rabatment should compliment the center of interest that is located within the square.

The Golden Ratio

The third technique used for compositions in art is called "the Golden Ratio" is a little more complicated than the first two talked about. The golden ratio is a mathematical ratio commonly found in nature that can be used to yield pleasing, harmonious proportions within a painting. It has many names, with the most common ones being the Golden Section, Golden Ratio or Golden Mean. Some lesser known names for thisrule is called the Golden Number, Divine Proportion, Golden Proportion, Divine Section, Golden Cut, Fibonacci Number and Phi (pronounced "fie").

The gold ratio isn't merely a definition, it's an actual ratio of 1:1.618. There is a simple way to demonstrate this ratio and that is by using a rectangle with a width of 1 and a length of 1.618. Within this rectangle is a square with a ratio of 1:1 and another rectangle with a ratio of 1:1.618. If you were to draw another square within the smaller rectangle, once again you have a 1:1 ratio square and another rectangle whose proportions are 1:1.618 just like the larger original rectangle. You can continue to divide the resulting smaller rectangle as before on into infinity. Give it a try.

The golden ratio can be used to create beauty and balance in the layout and design of all your paintings. Note the point where the diagonal lines intersect. That particular point is key when using this ratio to compose your paintings. You want to place your key elements or focal point at this intersection. As already stated, the golden ratio is infinitely divisible. This means multiple intersections can be identified where sub elements of a scene can be placed.

Great compositions don't just happen by accident. They require a lot of thought, planning and patience, as well as a familiarity with the visual elements. For more information on using the principles of good composition in your landscape oil paintings and other genres of paintings, visit Bluemoon Original Oil Paintings online.

Teresa Bernard has been a fine art artist of original oil paintings since her preteen years. Since then she has gone on to create a name for herself as an accomplished artist and has sold her paintings across the US and world wide. Her paintings can be viewed online at

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Oil Paintings


Landscape Oil Paintings


Golden Ratio


Good Composition


Rule Of Thirds



It is true that a photo booth hire cannot actually replace a camera but you will never run short of photographs if you think of photo hire.It is true that a photo booth hire cannot actually replace a

By: Simon Liva l Arts & Entertainment > Photography l November 21, 2012 lViews: 268

Well-known director Pascal Laugier is once again all set to frighten his fans with another dreadful affair, The Tall Man. The spooky thriller has been produced by Clément Miserez, Kevin DeWalt,

By: rose jasmin l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l November 02, 2012 lViews: 262

The Good Wife is an American legal drama series. It was first broadcasted on CBS on 22nd September, 2009. It is the creation of Robert King and Michelle King. It is produced by the Kings, Ridley and

By: Monu Mani l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l November 01, 2012 lViews: 257

ICarly in an American teens show created by Dan Schneider who is also the executive producer of the show. this show is about a girl named Carly Shay who along with her best friends Sam and Freeddie

By: elvis l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l October 25, 2012 lViews: 265

Love stories are supposed to be full of romance, seduction and enduring love. As these funny love stories show, however, these stories can also be filled with laughter. Fortunately, shared laughter

By: Jasmine Montford l Arts & Entertainment > Humor l October 25, 2012 lViews: 311

Lost is an American television science fictional series that is full of mystery, adventure and supernatural drama. It was originally broadcasted on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010,

By: ramandeep l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l October 25, 2012 lViews: 336

The other day, I talked with a creative genius, someone who was academically inclined with a Bachelor's Degree in acoustics, and also an incredible artist. To top off all that he had honed his skills

By: Lance Winslowl Arts & Entertainment > Paintingl June 15, 2012 lViews: 259

Keeping your focal point in mind when painting is just one of many things to remember whether you are painting or drawing. There is a lot to learn when embarking on the path to becoming a good

By: Craig A Shillaml Arts & Entertainment > Paintingl June 12, 2012 lViews: 196

We all like to think that we can create a home that will be comfortable and that will also be able to impress others. We may sometimes struggle to achieve these twin aims, but it's also clear that

By: Simon Barnettl Arts & Entertainment > Paintingl June 08, 2012 lViews: 199

When you start as a beginner there are so many things to learn and everything seems so difficult to do right. No doubt your expectations will be high and not unnaturally you will find your first

By: Michael R Dalel Arts & Entertainment > Paintingl June 06, 2012 lViews: 221

Being an artist can be what you want it to be. Here you will find 12 steps that will help you on your way towards achieving some or all of the artistic success you want. Whatever you think right now,

By: Michael R Dalel Arts & Entertainment > Paintingl June 06, 2012 lViews: 196

People often find for various pencil drawing techniques just to improve their skills. But people should note that these techniques will be useless without the right equipment. It is true that we

By: Vincent R Davisl Arts & Entertainment > Paintingl June 05, 2012 lViews: 198

Being able to speak the language of the arts can be helpful if you are ever want to commission a painting and need to converse with the artist. The artist will also find the following definitions

By: Teresa Bernardl Arts & Entertainment > Paintingl April 10, 2012 lViews: 218

A simple lo-tech technique that is used by many world renown artists to begin their extraordinary works of art is called grid enlarging. You do not have to be a skilled artist to get the same great

By: Teresa Bernardl Arts & Entertainment > Paintingl April 07, 2012 lViews: 307

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus