Compositional Element of Direction

Compositional Element of Direction

Becky Joy

Composition Element Direction

Direction is a powerful tool that can be used in composing your paintings. There are four directions that can be used: vertical, horizontal, diagonal and circular.  

Directional lines can help to create a mood in a painting. Vertical lines can give the feeling of strength or power. For a calm and stable atmosphere use horizontal lines. Diagonal lines create more action. Consider using line in your design to help you create mood in your paintings.

When you approach a scene, consider the mood. Can you convey that feeling by incorporating line into your painting. Sometimes the scene already has a dominant line that dictates the mood of the painting. Other times you may be able to compose and change to create the mood that you want.

Below are some paintings using line. See how they feel to you. What mood do they create?

Horizontal lines dominate

Vertical lines dominate

Diagonal lines dominate

This painting has a dominate diagonal line, although there are verticals also. The diagonal line gives the painting some energy and movement so that it isn't static.

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