Composition in Art Part 3 - Using the Golden Mean and The Rule of Thirds

Creating good compositions in your artwork does not have to be guesswork.  In fact, it should not in any way be guesswork.  This page is devoted to part three of our study on compositional devices in art.  In part one, we looked at Plato's Rule .  In part two, we explored how to use eye movement to create good composition.  Next, we'll look at using the Golden Mean, or Golden Ratio to create good composition in art.  We'll also take a look at it's cousin, The Rule of Thirds. 

The Golden Mean is basically a mathematical ratio.  Mathematicians will argue that it was discovered by Pythagoras while others give credit to Vitruvius.  Simply put, this ratio can be broken down in the following example...

Golden Mean in Art Compositions

Now how can we use the Golden Mean to create artwork?  Well, logically we can use it when we crop our images or frame our canvases.  However, there is another practical way to use the Golden Mean in our artwork.  It is to find the "Golden Points" through the Golden Mean.  The Golden Points are places within the picture plane to place subjects or objects in a way that will result in a more aesthetic composition. 

The video below highlights how to find and use these Golden Points create good composition from them.  This video also addresses the cousin of the Golden Mean-The Rule of Thirds.  It is my opinion that The Rule of Thirds is a derivative of the Golden Points.  If the Golden Mean is a bit too confusing, The Rule of Thirds may be a good substitute.

The following video explains how to use The Golden Mean and The Rule of Thirds in your artistic compositions...

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