One beautifully composed painting I discovered recently is "The Dancer," a watercolor painting by Carla O'Conner. Today's post is about how she made this happen.
What do we see working here?
|"The Dancer" 30" x 22" Watercolor|
Notice how the image is anchored to the painting's edges at each point a central triangle, enabling the negative shapes--those shapes outside the image-- to form their own triangles. And look how each of these is a different size and configuration: that's using the principle of variation.
Next, look at the painting's notan. All the darks are connected forming a visual path guiding the eye from one area to another giving unity to the entire piece. In quantity though, there is more light space than dark, the principle of dominance at work here.
Back to the painting.
Notice the strong vertical alignment of shapes, the strong vertical edge of the head, the head looking downward, the stretch of the arm aligned with the vertical edge of the painting and the vertical format itself, all giving balance to the entire piece.
And finally, study how O'Connor uses the contrast principle by juxtaposing strong darks within a field of strong lights and how she achieves the color harmony principle using both low intensity and analogous colors.
And we don't have to know all this to enjoy this painting.