|'New Day Dawning' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
The Z wins it for me! I love using a Z curve Composition in my paintings. It is especially useful in a landscape as many elements naturally form curves. The Z composition is just a variation of the S Curve which is simply arranging the elements of a composition to form a series of curves. These curves lead the eye through the painting.
Edgar Payne in his book on composition prefers to use the term Compound Curves. I like this term better because it doesn't limit you finding an S or Z in your painting design. You could very well have a sideways M or W. It could be big long lazy curves or tight short curves. The idea is to use the curves to pull the viewer into and through the painting.
The curves don't have to be a feature such as water or road or path. Many times the curves can be subtle like the arrangement of the light on the grass that pulls the eye around the painting in a curving manner. I like to use Compound Curves in my wildflower paintings as well. This is done in a very subtle way and I will share more about that in tomorrow's post.
|My favorite Kiawah Island marsh view has perfect compound curves|
|Plein air version of the same marsh|
|a more subtle use of compound curves|