In painting, graphic design, photography, and sculpture—composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work. It can also be thought of as the organization of the elements of art according to the principles of art. The term composition means ‘putting together,’ and can apply to any work of art.
What is the Rule of Thirds? The rule of thirds is very commonplace in photography. It instantly helps to add tension, balance and interest to your photograph but applies equally to composition in painting.
The golden ratio is also called the golden section. Many artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio—especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio—believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing. The Golden Section was used extensively by Leonardo Da Vinci. Note how all the key dimensions of the room and the table in Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” were based on the Golden Ratio, which was known in the Renaissance period as The Divine Proportion.
Step by step to apply Rule of Thirds.
1. Divide your page horizontally into 3.
2. Decide whether to have your horizon on the top third or the bottom third (the bottom third is always easier to balance, it helps to make the sky look vast and imposing).
3. Split the vertical into thirds.
4. Align areas of focus at the intersection between the lines.
5. Start painting.
Here are examples of painting with Rule of Thirds.