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Art Magazines and My Ith Rule of Composition

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Vermeer Art of Painting
Cropped The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer

I visited a local bookstore yesterday to go through their various art magazines. Going through these magazines I am in search of visual inspiration, art news, resources on the web, and digital art techniques. In yesterday’s session, I looked through the following magazines:

  • Artforum
  • Computer Arts
  • Computer Arts Projects
  • Digital Artist
  • Digital Arts
  • Digital Studio
  • Elephant (first issue of a new art magazine).
  • Eye
  • Frieze
  • New Art International
  • Raw Vision

While reading Artforum, I came across an article More than Meets the Eye and my gaze fell upon one sentence in that article:

"The compositional rigor of Noland’s painting was, in my opinion, beyond reproach."

Compositional rigor? My first thought upon reading this sentence was that it made judging art sound like judging the figure skaters in the Olympics. The judges have their rules, check lists, and parameters in order to grade the performance of the athletes. It seems to me a rather cold way in which to consider a painting.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, composition in art is basically about how the picture is put together. It is about the individual elements of the image and how they are arranged and used with respect to one another. With this in mind, there are a number of so-called rules that the artist should follow in order to create an aesthetically pleasing painting.

Personally I like to think that I do not consciously consider the rules of composition when I either look at or create a picture. In fact with respect to my own art, I try to follow the Ith rule of composition which is a rule that I created. The Ith rule of composition says to ignore rules 1 through I-1. Following the Ith rule of composition insures that creativity is not constrained.

The Illustration

Rather than use one of my own works of art, I opted to use The Art of Painting painted by Johannes Vermeer circa 1661. Note that I have cropped the painting to fit this space. To learn more about Vermeer and his art, check out the Essential Vermeer web site.


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