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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

My New Favorite Quote on Composition

'Silvery Streams Among the Marsh'          11x14        pastel         ©Karen Margulis
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I came across the quote in the most timely manner. I was flipping through my copy of Robert Henri's book 'The Art Spirit' and it just popped out at me.  It was the perfect quote for me to read this week in the midst of my series on winding creeks through the marshes.  

I am always looking to gain a better understanding of composition. It isn't enough to understand your medium....how they work...it is also important to learn all you can about the basics of painting including the designing of a good painting. This quote is one I will now always keep in mind as I design my paintings.

"The eye should not be led where there is nothing to see"   Robert Henri


Close up of distant trees and marsh

I always try to compose my painting so that I lead the viewer around the painting...so they can enjoy the whole thing and not just zoom right into an obvious focal area.  This quote reminds me to make sure that I lead them to places that are beautiful or interesting.  Winding water and paths are often used to lead the viewers through a painting. It is a natural pathway for the eye.

But do we have things of interest at the end of the road....or along the road or waterway?  It is a good question to ask ourselves. If I am going to wander through the marsh or along a path...what will be there when I get to the end?  Will it be a thing? or will it be just a passage of beautiful color...or a wonderful mark or brushstroke?  Will it be something to please the eye?

In my painting I needed to make sure I had something pleasing at the end of my waterway. I decided that a beautiful but unexpected spot of lavender and a tiny spot of bright orange would be the reward for wandering back into my marsh.

I printed this quote and will place it on my easel to remind me to make the journey worthwhile for my viewers. This is my new favorite quote!






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