Rules of composition – and how to break them, by Keith Hornblower. (Part Two)

Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Yesterday we featured three ‘rules’ of composition in painting from our talented and inspiring English watercolour tutor Keith Hornblower  — and stressed the importance of breaking them. As Keith says: The most exciting things happen when rules are broken – but there are a few things to be aware of when composing a picture.”

He adds: “You don’t have to apply every rule to every painting, but knowing the rules means that when you break them you are doing so consciously. If you look at the examples below, they each illustrate one of the principles of composition and, in all likelihood, break most of the others.”

Keith has been ruminating about nine ‘rules’, so in order not to overburden you, I’ve split his thoughts into three parts. You can see the first three by clicking here.

Here are 4, 5 and 6.

No.4 – Simplify! [See Keith’s picture of the London Embankment above.] “Think about what the painting is all about – the reason you’re painting it in the first place. The chances are that there’s a lot of surrounding clutter which would distract the viewer; get rid of it, or at least play it down. In the same vein, look for strong silhouettes. Often, this is the boundary between sky and earth and painting against the light enhances the effect beautifully. It also has the added advantage of unnecessary detail being lost in the shadows.”

No.5 – Leading Lines. “These are lines which draw the eye into and around the picture, for instance kerb lines, fences or an avenue of trees.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.6 – Diagonals. “Following on from no.5, diagonal lines add dynamism to the picture, whereas horizontals and verticals are static. Moving in closer can often enhance the effect, so where you sit, or stand, is important! Do you need to be near, far, high or low?”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

Coming soon: Numbers 7, 8 and 9. Why not come to the Watermill this Summer to learn more from Keith? And how to break the rules! Keith will be joining us from Saturday 13 August to Saturday 20 August 2016.

Keith painting picKeith Hornblower is an acclaimed English painter in watercolour, teaching and demonstrating to art societies and universities in the UK with enthusiasm and great humour. His approach is dynamic and spontaneous, dispelling the fear of white paper and encouraging people to let go and have fun. He stresses the importance of capturing the light and observation of tonal values, often using a very limited palette of colours to make things easier for his students.

Some comments from some of Keith’s previous students: “A magician with paint, your paintings always have the most wonderful light.” “Brilliant! This is what watercolour is all about for me — so free and fresh. What fun for you and your very lucky audience.” “A great tutor and so very helpful with techniques and tips.”

You can find more details about Keith’s exciting 2016 course by clicking here. And if you would like to enquire about availability and/or reserve a place, please use our Secure Enquiry Form, by clicking here.

*** Why not bring your non-painting partner as well? There’s a generous £200 discount for him/her if they share a room with you — and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities suggestions by clicking here.Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

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