Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Explaining the Composition Finder

Sometimes people wonder about the little charts & diagrams on the Guerrilla Painter Composition Finder. Here are some explanations:
The Golden Section and Fibonacci Spiral
Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci was a 13th century mathematician, who is known, among many other things, for the Golden Section and Fibonacci Spiral. These are closely related mathematically to familiar forms in nature, such as the arrangement of flower petals, seed-heads and pine cones, the shell of the chambered nautilus, on up to hurricanes and galaxies.
Color Complements
On the front of the Composition Finder™ is a simple color complement guide, which can be a useful reminder when mixing grays and browns. The colors are not exactly accurate, particularly the purple complement of yellow. Many painters, however, find this slightly reddish purple more useful in mixtures with yellow than its true complement, which is more bluish.
The Golden Section describes a rectangle of particularly pleasing proportions, with sides having a ratio of 1 to 1.618. Examples of the use of similar proportions are found throughout art and architecture from the most ancient times to the modern. From the Renaissance on, many painters have used the Golden Section to create compositions and locate focal points within those compositions.
The “Golden Intersection
On the back of the Composition Finder™ is an illustration of the Golden Section and Fibonacci Spiral. Painting sizes that approximate the Golden Section are indicated. The Golden “Intersection” (considered by some to be a promising focal point for a composition using the Golden Section) can be found where the horizontal and vertical lines connecting the diamonds intersect.
Trust Your Visual Intuition
Truisms to the contrary, there are no hard and fast rules that govern compositions. Good painters seem to break one or more of “the rules” as often as not. Consider throwing all the rules “out the window” of the Composition Finder™ and just trust your visual intuition. As you survey your subject through the Composition Finder™, you will see how the visual interest changes as you move it across the scene before you. With a little practice, you will know instinctively when you’ve found the best composition for you.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


We recently watched a course about the effects of color. This is a topic that has actually been well researched, but I was a little disappointed that they didn't include orange or purple, and they didn't say anything about the various intensities. It was limited to black & white, red, yellow, blue and green. There are often conflicting effects, such as yellow indicating both happiness and caution, and blue symbolizing both friendliness and depression. One of the more interesting conclusions was that the color green enhanced creativity. The experiment involved asking people to come up with as many unconventional ways to use a brick as they could think of within a certain time limit, and the subjects who were given a folder with a green cover did consistently better than those whose folder was either white, blue or red. Maybe all we need to do is put our composition finder inside a bright green envelope, and we'll see lots more options for what to paint ;-)