Pathways

Sometimes, rather than a single focal point in a picture, the artist might want to have a series of focal points connected by pathways. A pathway is usually a linear or value pictorial element that connects one focal point to another. Strong pathways help keep the viewer involved in your drawing. Figure 6.48 shows an example taken from Michelangelo's work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that shows a good use of creating a pathway for the viewer.

Figure 6.49 shows the picture with lines indicating the pathways that Michelangelo created.

If there are natural pathways in the picture, the viewer will be able to comfortably scan the picture, moving from focal point to focal point. If the picture lacks natural pathways, it will feel uncomfortable to the viewer, causing tension.

Figure 6.48 A strong pathway keeps the viewer involved in the picture. Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.
Figure 6.49 The lines help to show the pathways. Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

Another example of building pathways can be found in Rembrandt's painting of Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, shown here in Figure 6.50. See whether you can find the pathways in this picture.

You have just covered a number of composition concepts in a single chapter. I hope that composition is not such a mystery for you now. A very good way to test yourself is to take an art history book and see whether you can find some of the concepts covered here in the art that you find in it. You can also try posing figures in Figure Artist to help solidify the concepts. Following are some renderings of poses in Figure Artist taken from some of the paintings in this chapter. See whether you can match the poses with the paintings.

Figure 6.50 Try to find the pathways in this picture by Rembrandt.

These poses are also included on the CD for this book. Taking the time to pose figures and set up scenes from great master paintings is an excellent way to improve your understanding of compositional concepts. After you pose the figures, try drawing a few of them.

Figure 7.1 The lighting shows what kind of material the dress is made of.
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