Saturday, January 26, 2008

Composition in Triple Time

1845 reference to J T Smith's illustrated book, published in 1797, defining a compositional "Rule of Thirds":

"Sir Joshua Reynolds has given it as a rule, that the proportion of warm to cold colour in a picture should be as two to one, although he has frequently deviated therefrom; and Smith in his 'Remarks on Rural Scenery,' would extend a like rule to all the proportions of a painting, begging for it the term, "the rule of thirds," according to which a landscape, having one third of land, should have two thirds of water, and these together forming about one third of the picture, the remaining two-thirds to be for air and sky; he applies the same rule to the crossing of line, etc."


Julie said...

Thank you for your reply on the barns - the situation is similar here, though many very old ones are being restored (some sympathetically of course) for other purposes.

I try and bear in mind thirds as a handy variant of the Golden section. Intruiging the way the central window is eclipsed on this shot!

btw - the psychedelic artwork was simply produced by a basic paint editing program - I often work into real paint as a result of experiments such as this.

Dick said...

I don't know anything about the rules but I like the photo.

Ted Roth said...

Julie - Thanks for explaining your "painted" photos and for your other comments. As to the central window, I shot lots of variations before selecting this as the final. Because of the true distance from front to back, slight movements changed the layout greatly.

Dick - The discussion of Rules is the result of correspondence with viewers of this blog who rarely or never post here but receive the photos via email. I don't put any stock in rules, but there are some principles behind them which are helpful and which most of us, to one degree or another, apply intuitively. Thanks for your comments.