The Artwork of Michael Divine

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The Rule of Thirds and Composition

Rule of Thirds Image

One of the things we’ll be looking at and working with in the drawing workshop I’m teaching is composition. The Rule of Thirds is, I think, the best way to consider a composition. Using this little painting for an example – take a look at where the lines intersect the painting. It almost falls perfectly into it’s respective sections. The right edge of the left third intersects the cloud opening and also the center of one archway. The left edge of the right third cuts through the column – balancing out the openings on the left. In the smaller thirds even, the small person falls in the middle third of the bottom right corner thirds. The lowest line of clouds, too, starts at the top of the bottom third of the painting and slowly drifts upwards. Between these and other details, the painting ends up falling into a nice order and feeling like a really balanced composition and ends up being more engaging and pleasing to the eye.

I didn’t measure any of this out when I painted it. I just sort of place things where they feel comfortable and natural. I think the more one practices this kind of thing the more it is a naturally occurring phenomenon on our work.

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