Archive for composition in art

Back in the Saddle Again

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 11, 2011 by Lisa Mills

I’ve spent the past week coming to grips with the fact that my artwork was not accepted for entry to the CPSA show slated for Dallas in July. I was really down for a while – since it was the first big thing I’d entered.  But I also used this time as an opportunity to better myself as an artist.  I’ve been evaluating my subject matter, my technique and my reference photos. There’s two main areas of weakness that jump out at me: my lack of experience as a photographer and my lack of ability to mentally compose a subject.

Photographs are the starting point to all my work since I am a realistic artist and a slow one at that.  My medium takes pain-staking hours to create and because of that I use photos (taken by me) as references for my subject.  Since I like animals, I have to capture shots very quickly so I’m not afforded the luxury of time to set up a shot.  There’s no time to think about aperture and shutter settings, and the “automatic” setting is rarely the perfect setting.  I’ve bought a great set of photography books by Scott Kelby who fortunately doesn’t dwell on techno-speak while explaining how to get the great shot.  Hopefully with some practice, I’ll get it down sooner than later.  Thank goodness for digital photos – I would’ve spent a fortune in film by now!

As for composition…this is the tough part.  People always tell me how “creative” I am.  Actually, for an artist I am not that creative.  I don’t visualize the shot or the final product easily at all. I can execute almost anything on paper with pencils – but coming up with that perfect idea eludes me.  It’s really frustrating.  I’m now trying to educate myself on composition and choosing the subject that “tells the story” and appeals to the viewer.  I want my viewer to feel something when they look at my work.  And that all comes back to the original reference photo – getting that great first shot.

I’m plodding on with the Duck Stamp entry – although I’m coming along slowly.  In the spare time, I’m educating myself on photography and composition.  Back in the saddle and back to the drawing board – right after I calm down two Golden Retrievers during a thunderstorm.