The Golden Section "The Golden Section is a ... proportion
approximately equal to 0.618 to one. Celebrated since Greek times,
it is the proportion of regular and continuous growth and is found
in such shapes as the spiral of sea shells and animal horns."
American Artist, July 92, p. 57
Composition n. [ME.; OFr.; L. Copositio, a putting together...]
1. a composing; putting together of a whole by the combination
of parts. 2. the putting together of words; art of writing prose
or poetry. 3. the creation of musical works. 4. the makeup of
a thing; aggregate of ingredients and manner of their combination;
constitution. 5. the which is composed. 6. a mixture of various
ingredients. 7. a work of music, literature or art. 8. an exercise
in writing done as schoolwork. 9. an arrangement of the parts
of a work of art so as to form a unified, harmonious whole. 10.
an agreement, settlement, often by compromise.
3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."
The Golden Section is one example of a "method" of
composition. Some of the very structured paintings of the
Italian Renaissance are characterized not only by very very careful
attention to classic perspective but also to the golden mean.
But basically, as you can see from the definition above, composition
involves putting elements together so they "work" as
a unified whole. Use systems, but don't get trapped into thinking
they are the only ways to compose. As an exercise, look for something
in your environment that seems easy to translate into a harmonious
two-dimensional composition, keeping in mind that the eye of the
viewer should want to move around the page and should not feel
excluded from any part of the page. Draw or sketch it.
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