Composition from Photo

Composition from Photo - student project

I took this photo quickly without time to focus or think about composition.  I just liked the barn sitting on the hill and the round bales of hay under the eaves.

Composition from Photo - image 1 - student project


I attempted to use the rule of thirds in placing the barn in the composition.  Removing the large, dark foreground tree helped move the eye back to the barn (I hope) but I am concerned about creating depth in it’s absence.  I also cropped out the overhead power lines.  I had planned to remove the front fence but now wonder if the zig zag of the fence, to the yellow strip of pasture might serve as a line leading to the focal point so I’ll consider that.  I plan to change the day a bit and make it closer to a sunny afternoon with longer shadows and a change in some color.  I’ll also give the barn door a brighter, warmer color in order to emphasize the focal point.  I may add a cow or two in the field beyond the couple sleeping under the tree to the right but just a suggestion of a cow and no details as I want the focal point to be the big barn door.  


I’m new to all of this.   Walking through these steps to plan out the painting considering rules of design has given me a lot more confidence.  The practice has helped to make the elements of design make sense and I feel like I’m making progress.  I have been “stuck” in the research phase and have barely picked up my brushes this week so I appreciate the encouragement you give at the end of many of your demos to do the work and get painting.  So, I will get this one sketched out with a few value sketches, plan my color palette, and get going on this one.  Thanks, Robert!

Edited to add progress:

Composition from Photo - image 2 - student projectComposition from Photo - image 3 - student project


I finally have the sketch lightly penciled in on a sheet of 140lb cold pressed watercolor paper.  The paper is taped to my board and now I’m afraid to touch it.  What’s up with that?!  Since I’m so hesitant to begin, I’m going to start by getting a scrap of the same type of paper and working out my limited palette for the painting.  Then, I’ll write out a plan for the first wash for the large shapes.  I plan to work wet on dry except for some of the tree line where I want a soft edge where treetops meet the sky.  

Composition from Photo - image 4 - student project