Monthly Archives: May 2013

A few more Painting & Photography composition rules made simple!

Slide2rlesaII 101- total.oriWhen I gave a talk on rules of composition to a camera club, I started by showing this slide. I have to say, the first thing on this list is more for painting, as I use an old-fashioned, empty cardboard individual slide holder (push out the negetive inside it) to help crop and decide how much area I want to paint. The view finder in your camera has the same effect (and remember the Rule of Thirds).

The scissors in the tool box is for cropping also. If you center things, creating target practice, or take something that makes you want to chop the work in half, then “apply scissors”.

Slide17In a previous blog, I explained the color wheel and how background colors can change the color in the foreground. I also talked about perspective and coming in on an angle instead of straight on, but diagonals and curved lines add excitement to photos and paintings because they bring your eye into the piece. rulessition II 101- total.ori

And creating certain shapes within a picture, they add to the composition to make the viewer look around and within the piece too.


The mirror and the is to remind you that it is more interesting not to have things doubled, a broken mirror has less similar reflected items. I shared a slide that had a curve of a sandbar on one side, so the reflection was cut off and not whole. The light is the source that gives you contrast.  We want interesting shadows leading us into a picture so low light and no shadows can make for a less exciting piece.

Slide3I told them there are many other tools and one is to have some empty boxes. Those are to fill up with new themes, like the ones I introduced (Primary Colors, Skies, Colors of Spring, Flowers, etc.). I see many people getting stuck on the same subject, so this is a challenge I offer you, do something different, take a risk.

Primary Colors are pri”merrily” great in photos and paintings!

Slide6If these do not inspire you to shoot for colors that have “pow”, then I do not know what you like. Red, Blue and Yellow can be very powerful if you can capture them.


I look for them wherever I am and get excited when I can capture them. Enjoy these and go shoot them for yourself and see what I mean!


I hope to inspire you to watch for these colors together. Kids rooms are generally thought would be fabulous in them, but look at my photos and see you can use them for a special impact.Slide1   Slide4

Now that you have been exposed to the primarys, go expose some memory cards (or film if you still can find it!) Slide5

Reminder: Click on any of the collages to make them bigger, then left arrow back to blog.Slide3


My Cleveland Art Groups

IMG_2162 Slide2 The Plein Air Painters of Cleveland painted at a friends garden today, Monday.


What a way to spend beautiful days. We painted there before and some finished work from last year. Some of the same flowers were in bloom and we had a lovely lunch afterward. Slide3

The day before, Sunday, the Hillcrest Art Guild Slide1had an art show opening so I got to see my old friends and their work.

COMPOSITION: Rule number 1- placement of your center of interest

Placement on your paper is vital to a good composition. Let’s explore a few ways to learn how to do this everytime you try. I always am taking pictures to show the best and worst way to take a picture to show differences in compositions and following specific rules that work.  Slide1    Slide2

With this in mind, let’s see how to place objects that are mathematically done to make the best choice.

Whether you photograph or set up a still life for painting, the same rules apply. Centering objects is less interesting. You want your viewer to move around in the piece.

The way you do that is by contrast, by odd numbers, strong focal points, nothing too interesting near the  corners, and most important, placement of the center of interest and what is going on around it.

I find the Rule of Thirds is quicker and easier. You will note that many of Slide3today’s cameras actually have the grid for this rule in the view finder. So when composing your images, keep in mind where these llines are and where the “magic spot” is in your pictures. 

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Slide5I want my viewers to enjoy my work, so I do take many photos to see which photo and composition is best for that subject. Florals and one item pieces generally look better off set because the negative shapes that form around it are more interesting. Odd numbers also give uneven shapes in and around them. Go take pictures and see what you like the best. Have fun!






Photographing abstracts

blues and greensOkay, my daughter states “I’ll never understand your mind!” when I take pictures of shadows and odds and ends in grocery stores. I love texture, reflections, shadows and pieces parts. Sometimes, these combined make for really great abstraction because the viewer has to figure out what it is in the photo. Remember the rule of thirds, & move the camera to where the center of interest will lay.

abstractsThese photos break up the space but the viewer has to figure out what they might be. The first is one that I took at night, by moving the camera (takes low battery power to achieve this feat!).  The building piece, the deep angles make this dramatic. High contrast, especailly with shadows is very exciting and I always look forward to sunny days where I can capture these. I take many pictures of the same shadow until I find just the right one.

That is a trick that you have to get into your head,  take loads of the same thing. Horizontal, vertical and sometimes just changing the angle will produce fabulous shots. I see people taking one picture and thinking that it was enough. I shoot 200 pictures a day and go through rechargeable batteries a mile a minute! One of these days I will go through all the rejects and file things separately, for sure!!

IMG_0257   IMG_1668

Textures are created sometimes by what you cut off in the picture plane. I like taking primary colors as a theme, and this photo with the cracks in the paint and sidewalk, has line and shape within the pieces of the colors. The grill surrounded by the brick with the shadow enhance this piece.

Camera Photos 135And the window panes add so much depth to my little one running through this maze of lines. So your assignment, go take weird pictures and make sure there is interesting textures within your photos.

Spring colors are different depending on where you are!

Slide3 My sister told me her friend said that the colors in Southern California are different! When I came home this week to Cleveland, I went around taking pictures of the spring colors to see if this was true.

Well, you be the judge friends and family on the sunny West coast!

Slide2And I was afraid I was going to miss the colors of the bougainvilla! Look at the tulips and lilacs, the flocks and forsythia in bloom these colors make up for what I thought I would miss.Slide1

Visit here in the Fall and you will definitely see the difference.

Lucky Penni, got a nice job painting flowers

orchidsapOne day my daughter was getting her nails done, and I noticed that when the sun came through the front window, it cast the name of the nail spa on the back corner wall.

The name of the salon is Orchids Nails, it is off of Mira Mesa Blvd. (near the 805) in San Diego. I was thinking it would be fabulous to have a larger than life “orchid” painted on that wall. So this year, they hired me to do it. They even asked if I could use water to make it a “feng shui” piece.

white orchidTo undertake this project, I took lots of photos of orchids so I had references. I added many colors within the white paint so they look real and pop off the wall. I used watered down acrylics and (brushes & fingers) it becomes permanent on the wall.

What fun it was as I have been painting the flowers in California all winter (see the pink flower paintings above, they are plumerias and geraniums). I love the photo of the owners as they beamed when I finished their wall. Can’t wait for comments from their customers. If you ever get a chance to paint a mural, try it.