When I first started painting, I struggled to get a pleasing composition, it was basically hit and miss (unfortunately, more misses than hits.) Then I discovered a fool-proof way to place objects – success every time.
Divide your canvas into thirds. You could place objects along any of these lines and have a pleasing composition. The human eye finds odd numbers more pleasing than even ones; this is why you divide your canvas into 3rds instead of half or quarters. I suppose you could also divide it into 5ths, but that would make the composition more complicated than it needs to be.
You can place your focal point (I call this the “start here” place on a painting – in the painting above, the feather is the focal point, it draws your eye into the painting) on any of the intersections where two lines meet.
Now you can create movement by placing other objects along any diagonal. I indicated some diagonals so that you would get the idea. Objects should be placed so that the viewer’s eye moves through the painting.
Original of the featured painting”SEE THE MUSIC” has been sold. Prints are available at Fine Art America.