Arrangement in Painting.
There are a few basic rules to keeping a good arrangement in paintings.
About arrangement in painting – landscape paintings
Most good landscape paintings catch your eye and hold your interest by having well placed items in the landscape, we can call this arrangement in painting.
You need to keep the arrangement tidy.
You need to keep the arrangement balanced.
And you try to make the painting arranged so people will keep looking at it.
The first thing that catches the eye is usually a glow coming from somewhere in the middle area of the painting.
Then the person viewing will focus on the scene and see something that they like.
From there they will let their eyes wander around the scene.
It is your job to hold their attention as much as possible.
This can be done by placing the items in the landscape so as to direct their eyes around and not off the picture.
The items include the sky, clouds, mountains, trees, huts, fences, logs, water and rocks etc.
In a good arrangement the items are placed so the person viewing will be attracted into the picture and keep enjoying looking at it.
You can work to a formula and experiment with the formula.
Do see the attached video it is easy to understand.
The formula for a good arrangements in paintings
Have the horizon above or below the center of your work, not in the very middle of the picture as this might cut your picture in half and cause the viewer to look at the picture in sections rather than the whole thing.
Do not place objects such as trees, cabins, rocks, people etc., in the very center of the painting, this area is best left for the viewer’s eye to rest after scanning the items around the painting.
Sometimes a painting might need an item in the middle but not often.
So the idea is to trap the viewer’s eye by placing objects here and there around the painting in such positions and shapes as to give the eye a path to follow.
We do this by keeping trees leaning into the picture, maybe shape a branch for the eye to travel along towards the next object which might be a cottage facing into the picture, then a fence coming in to the picture and if needed a log or a few tusks of grass to steer the eye around and into the picture.
Where mountains reach the edge of the picture, they should slope down into the picture, even if it’s just a little bit, for mountains dropping off out of the picture will surely attract the viewer’s eye out of the picture, however if the mountain must slope down and out, this can be compensated by a carefully placed object with the strength to attract the eye away from the mountain and back into the picture.
It is all a matter of stopping the eye from wandering off the picture.
Have a look at some well-known landscape paintings and see if you can follow the path that the artist has laid out to catch and steer the viewer’s eye around and towards the middle of the painting. (not just landscapes)
You might also notice the dark tones nearer the edges of the paintings and a bright glow somewhere near the center; this is another part of our formula.
Correct perspective is important, that is, things near you in the foreground are very big and things far away in the background are very small.
You must learn how to judge the correct size of objects in the landscape so as to have everything in perspective.
You might learn the construction lines used by draftsmen and imagine those lines on your painting as you work.
It sounds complicated but it is simple.
Or look at items in nature, comparing a tree near you with a tree in the distance.
Hold a ruler at arms length and compare their heights.
Again it sounds complicated but these bits of knowledge will stay with you forever.
The correct perspective is determined by the correct size of the items and the correct tones of the colors of the items in your paintings.
We will talk more about tones later.
Here are a few more tips about arrangement.
Too much sky looks better than too little sky.
Keep the corners of your paintings dark and un-interesting.
Try to not have objects too close or too far from the edge of the painting.
A finished painting can be cropped to adjust the arrangement if needed.
Try not to have water running off the very bottom of your scenes, running off at the side or corner is better.
Feng Shiu, the chinese art of arranging things harmoniously, suggests that money runs in the direction of the water.
Therefore water running off the bottom of a painting is lost.
Don’t make your painting too busy with lots and lots of detailed areas such as little flowers as this will become hard to look at.
Do not try to cram too many items into the one painting, simple can be much more pleasing to look at.
Australian landscapes lend themselves to long paintings, 1×2, 2×4 etc. that does not mean upright paintings are out, they are popular also.