Yesterday I attended my sketch class and the topic was artistic composition, or how to plan your drawing and arrange a subject on the page. We heard about the focal point, and ways to emphasize it, so the viewer’s eyes are naturally carried there. We also talked about never placing your subject in the middle of your page, and how it is best to have it touch at least one edge. In the photo above the African Violet blossom is slightly askew, and touches the edges of the page. We learned several composition styles. One of the most common is the S composition. Our instructor showed us several other examples while in the class room. I’ve always wanted to be able to draw, which is why I’m taking a beginning sketch class. As I listened to the lecture I kept transitioning the composition rules for drawing to photography. When we discussed Tunnel composition I thought about a photo I’d taken recently in Silverado Canyon.
After the lecture, our class went outside to work on landscape drawings. I was the last to leave the second floor room. When I arrived at the top of the stairs, shown below, I realized this would make a perfect S type composition. I quickly but down my sketch book and pulled my ever present camera out. I took several photos of the beautiful staircase, and then continued out to sketch trees. Outside with my classmates, who were watching the instructor sketch, I gazed longingly at a waterfall across the courtyard. I wanted so badly to try a fast speed shutter setting on the bubbling water. Yesterday I learned that I’m so much happier with a camera, not a sketchbook in my hands. I guess that’s the reason I’ve trouble practicing my sketching, but always have my camera handy and ready to go. I learned something yesterday, but it wasn’t what I’d expected. I’d learned something about composition, and couldn’t wait to get home and go through my photographs to look for specific examples, but even more important, I learned just how much I love photography.