artists use The rule of thirds to create dynamic compositions

In this comprehensive guide, we'll look into the history of the rule of thirds, explore its various applications and provide practical tips for incorporating it into your own artwork.

It's a simple yet powerful tool that can transform your approach to composition.

Whether you're a beginner looking to improve your compositions or an experienced artist seeking to refine your skills, mastering the thirds will take your paintings to the next level.

Create dynamic compositions with the rule of thirds.Engage the viewers with dynamic compositions!

A Centuries-Old Secret to Captivating Artwork

This time-honored technique, used by artists and photographers can elevate your artwork to new heights. The rule of thirds was written about in the 1700s.

First it was first about how to use light and dark values in a painting. The recommendation was to have unequal parts of light and dark.

Then the suggestion was to paint everything in a 2:1 proportion. Such as, two thirds light and one third dark, one third land with two thirds sky or vice versa, etc.

Using this easy technique, we are be able to create balanced and engaging paintings that draw the viewer's eye and hold their attention.

it's easy to use the rule of thirds!

The rule of thirds is the artists' shortcut to easy composition.

It involves dividing your painting surface into nine equal parts and placing your main subject along these lines or at their intersections.

This strategic placement creates a sense of harmony and tension that makes our paintings more interesting and visually appealing.

The thirds rule is easy composition.Try it for super easy composition.

Divide the painting surface into nine equal parts.

Place two lines horizontally and two lines vertically at one third and two thirds of the format.

The main subject of the painting is placed at or near one of the intersections of the lines. The subject (the focal point) in the painting above is at the top left intersection.

There's more about creating a focal point.

the Rule of Thirds creates a balanced composition

Think of a teeter totter.

A heavy person sits on the short end of the teeter totter. In order to balance, the lighter person sits way out on the longer side of the teeter totter.

In a painting we place our subject, the focal point one third of the way into the painting. The rest of the painting takes up the remaining two thirds of the space.

This makes a balanced painting, just like on a teeter totter.

A painting with unequal parts is more interesting and attractive to the viewers. The focal point draws the people in.

Then their eyes have space to move around in the other parts of the painting.

Where do we place the subject of a painting?Place the subject at the fulcrum of the teeter totter.

Drawbacks of Centering Subjects

The viewer's eye is drawn to a centered subject, then they don't look around the rest of the painting. Why?

It divides the painting in two. Then viewer doesn't know whether to look left of right. Indecision causes them to lose interest in the painting.

There are a few times we may place the focal point in the middle, like in a portrait.

It's best to place the subject in a three quarters view, not looking directly at the viewer. That changes the painting from being completely symmetrical and creates more interest.

Advanced Techniques and Variations of the rule of thirds

In our culture most of us read from left to right. So, an intersection on the right side is considered the ideal place for the focal point.

landscape paintings vs. portrait art

The thirds rule in a portrait compositionUse the vertical lines for tall subjects.

Tall or long paintings subjects may be placed along the third lines.

This works for either horizontal or vertical subjects.

Vertical subjects such as a tall waterfall, a tall building, a tree or even a lighthouse may be placed on or near one of the vertical lines.

The remaining two thirds of the painting balances the tall object.

Long buildings could be placed on one of the horizontal lines.

Additionally, the lines of land or water may be placed at or near one of the horizontal third lines.

This would give us the 2:1 ratio of land to sky or land to water.

That's what the artists were talking about in their writings back in the 1700s.

create a secondary focal point

A second focal point gives the viewers more to look at and keeps them interested in the painting.

Place the second subject at another intersection of the third lines.

In this painting the hummingbird and the flower are placed diagonally across from each other.

Diagonal lines create a dynamic tension and more action in a painting.

A second focal point makes the composition more interesting.A second focal point creates more interest.

artists often use the rule of thirds as a shortcut

Do they always follow this rule? Of course not, but it is an excellent tool for the artist's tool belt.

Applying the principle of thirds creates dynamic and balanced compositions.

We can confidently count on a good composition and turn our attention to color and other painting skills.

As you continue to grow and develop as an artist, be sure to check out more articles and tutorials.

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