Below is all just humble opinion on technical matters. The composition discussion got me thinking. So thanks you guys.
This thread's image composition is actually very much like advertising illustration's. One of the hallmarks of commercial composition is the hyper focus to the main element..which is often centralized for added umpf on the mind of the consumer.
This composition struggles to convince partially because central object is so visually bulls-eyed, and there are little overlaps of shape, the viewer is not articulately meandered through space and to your other symbolic props. If you want the viewer to spend more time in the painting and lead their eye through your symbolic meaning, there are still some challenges ahead in future compositions, which were not solved here.
Because the central objects edge play is not well balanced (soft to sharp as you create focal areas within "tri-axial" space as the eye actually sees), there are a number of issues of flattening happening. I am speaking of edge play throughout the composition when you look at the entire image at the same time. The big edge games... The space does not read well because you have not solved these challenges.
Had you composed your image with perhaps stronger or more interesting overlaps in the setup (rather than just the one spacially fragile flap over the leg of the primary prop), you could have solved some of the edge problems with just pictorial structure. As it stands it looks like you have edges that need to be re-composed...or have yet to be fully composed since overlap was played down so much. Value and color shifts could offset edge issues as well.
As far as putting the object in the middle...I understand...that is your own choice. If you are going to pull something like that off, you are going to need to solve some of the focal edge games I mentioned. You will also need stronger weights to help lead the viewer around, keeping them in the painting. As it stands, your central prop is very heavy..so much so that the rest of your image may go un-noticed as you lose the viewer. Balance is particularly important in classical composition, as I am sure you are well aware. Right now your painting just isn't popping and holding visually in space, nor is it leading the eye into and out of space well (the thrusts mentioned previously).
The easiest trick to get past balance issues in your image would be to move the central object. However, there are other solutions to that which could keep the placement of your primary prop the same. Adequate time composing figure-field and abstract "tonal pattern" can be used to do that as well...and color composition. The latter could use more study as there are challenges with color circulation and color for narrative that are currently not solved. The clear gut reaction is to try to move the central prop. I can understand why that comment was made. Perhaps the solutions can run deeper than that.
The skill to do what you have done is respected and appreciated around here. I imagine your skin is thick enough to hang with this crowd. Don't expect agreements on everything around here.
Last edited by Jason Manley; January 27th, 2008 at 02:15 AM.
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