Composition: a path through the painting


We’ve all heard of the rule of thirds, but there is also another good way to create a focal point:

A path through the painting. That refers to the way line work creates a dynamic path that leads the eye around the painting. I often use it as it makes for a very interesting composition. When out in nature we have to look for these things. I think they are almost more important that the subject itself! A good painter can create a great painting out of the most drab and boring subject, i.e. a junk yard or an intersection with nothing much there but ugly buildings, just by making use of this!

That brings me to another point: it’s easy to get lost in the subject and neglect the composition. In this instance, dry docked boats with men working on them is great subject matter in itself. However, if we just show a boat on stilts and nothing else that can be a bit underwhelming to look at. After all, we just have our pathetic, two dimensional piece of paper or canvas to capture it all! So I tried to create a path to make it more interesting. I also created big areas with, what I call abstract painting. The entire hillside behind the boat and the entire foreground has an abstract quality to it. I always say, in representational painting, 80% of every painting is non-representational!

Finally, ‘pardon the dust’, so to speak: my website is currently down because it gets a much needed revamp. Hopefully it won’t take too long. Stay tuned!!


2 thoughts on “Composition: a path through the painting

  1. Roger Barker

    Thanks Frank for all your insight-this old brain needs the rerun. By the way I know you’re aware of the absence of those annoying signs on the beautiful east side of the Sierra and all the agency lands. Will send you a pic of our framed Lucca painting soon. Roger and Pam

    1. frankeber Post author

      Thanks, Roger. Yes, the east side is a bit different! But only if it’s BLM land etc. Whenever it’s private, it’s fenced in. Would love to see a picture of the lucca piece! Great to hear from you!

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