“Gone But Not Forgotten”
Several years ago I took this photograph of an old barn just west of my hometown. A few years ago it was demolished, and replaced with a brand new nondescript “barn”. I pass by the site often and remember the old barn, and decided to give it new life in a painting.
To give the old barn new life, I eliminated all of the extraneous objects and just focused on the cold snow. The flat winter sky didn’t give the barn the drama that I wanted, so I added a sky from another photograph and adjusted the colors.
The next decision that I had to make was the composition. To get the “feeling” of abandonment of the old barn, I composed it with very little else in the picture space. This created a problem.
There are no rules on composition, but there are some basic principles–one of which is that a composition should have balance with the positive and negative spaces. The barn and some of the cumulus clouds are the only positive shapes. That does not balance with the rest of the picture space which is negative space. ( Positive space is any object that has 3-dimensional form, and negative space is anything that is flat.)
One way of balancing the composition is to use detail or texture or color in the negative spaces. Doing “safe” compositions is easier, but not as much fun!