Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Water Tower #8

I love New York's water towers, those solitary sentinels surveying the urban scene. Their shape contrasts nicely with the interlocking blocks of buildings that I so enjoy.

Water Tower #8
With a solo show coming up next week, I decided to make another 24" x 24" Cityscape, Water Tower #8, to complement the other three of that size in the show. I found myself working from this photo taken in May of last year, when I had a chance to visit with my friend Heather, who came into NYC from her home in Pennsylvania to spend time with me.

When I told Heather that I like to find urban views from an elevated perspective, because it helps eliminate some of the "visual noise" at street level, she suggested that I take a tour on a double decker bus. Loath as I was to do such a "touristy" thing, I liked her idea, and this photo is one of several I captured that day.

I cropped it into a square shape, took out the colour, and changed the background a bit.

In various workshops over the years, I have learned the "rules" of good composition, which are of course made to be broken. They include:

- Make all four corners of the piece different.
- Avoid having a major line or edge running through the middle of the composition.
- Imagine a grid dividing your work into thirds, horizontally and vertically, and place your focal point at one of the intersections.
- Use a high contrast of dark and light to emphasize the focal point, and/or a contrast of shape, colour or texture. 
- Avoid using a shape or line that leads the eye out of the frame of the piece. 
- Have one colour predominate.
- Have a variety of small, medium and large shapes. Likewise, where shapes intersect the outer edge of the piece, vary the sizes.

These "rules" make sense to me, because I think the human brain is engaged by variety and asymmetry.  I think that this piece succeeds on many of these points, though I'm not quite sure about the predominant colour. And I love this hot palette, though I might be tempted to add a shot of turquoise to these rosy colours in a future piece.


Dianne Robinson said...

I like your bold colours in this piece. And thanks for reviewing the "rules" of composition. It's always good to review them.

Maggi said...

I like the colours in this piece too. A timely reminder of the rules of composition for me too.