The quest to end bad composition in artwork continues with part 3 on the video series on composition. In this lesson, we take a look at The Golden Mean and how to use it to create more aesthetic composition. We also look at The Rule of Thirds, a derivative of the Golden Mean.

What is The Golden Mean? It sounds pretty important and mysterious, doesn’t it? However, it is quite interesting, especially when you consider how it can be used to create aesthetic composition. The Golden Mean refers to a ratio. This ratio is simplified to 1:.618 . The Golden Mean is sometimes referred to as The Golden Ratio, as well as the Golden Proportion and the Golden Section. It has been around quite a while and there is some debate on who actually discovered it. It is pretty much universally agreed, however, that this proportion or ratio is generally more pleasing to the eye. Therefore, we as artists should at least understand that it is out there and perhaps open ourselves up to have it at our disposal.

Then how to we use it? Well, one obvious way to use this mysterious ratio is by cropping our artwork to match the proportions. In other words, make our picture planes length and width reflect the ratio 1:.618. For example, a canvas may be 28 inches wide and 17.3 inches tall. I know, that may be a bit strange and impractical. But we can at least consider that maybe a 28″ x 17″ picture plane may be more successful than one that is 28″ by 22″. Of course all of this totally depends on other factors as well, such as content. So, The Golden Mean is in no way a rule, just a suggestion. There are a couple other ways that the Golden Mean can be used to create aesthetic composition. These methods are explored in the lesson and video posted at TheVirtualInstructor.com. The lesson also addresses the relative of the Golden Mean, the more accepted and practiced, Rule of Thirds. To see the video lesson and to learn more about how to use the Golden Mean to create aesthetic compositions, click here->Composition Part 3- The Golden Mean