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

Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Here’s the third and last in the series of ‘rules’ of composition in painting from our talented and inspiring English watercolour tutor Keith Hornblower. (You can see the first part by clicking here and the second part by clicking here.)

As Keith has stressed, breaking them is just as important as knowing them: “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.” He adds: “The most exciting things happen when rules are broken – but there are a few things to be aware of when composing a picture.”

So, here are ‘rules’ 7, 8, 9 and 10

No.7 – Sense of movement. “If your subject is people, cars, boats etc. give them space to move into. In the example below, the figures are set to left of centre because they are facing right.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.8 – The Rule of Odds. “Odd numbers tend to work more harmoniously than evens. Don’t ask me why.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.9 – Balance. “A large object on one side needs to be balanced by something on the other side. That’s all.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.10 – Framing. “I like to have something dark at the edges/ foreground to frame the picture. It helps lead the eye into the scene and also gives a feeling of aerial perspective.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

Keith adds: “Also look for patterns of texture, shadows, colour etc. and a sense of harmony and rhythm. These come down to your own gut feelings and judgement; in the end, it all does, so if you think it works, do it! I hope this helps and I’d love to hear your own ideas.”

We hope you enjoyed Keith’s thoughts about the ‘rules’ of painting – and the importance of breaking them. Why not come and discuss them more with Keith on his inspiring course at The Watermill this Summer?

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.

Please Comment

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.