Welcome to the blog site of fine artist Julinya Vidigal de Vince. This site offers a series of short articles on various subjects related to the creation of fine art. These articles also provide links to works by Julinya Vidigal de Vince.

Drawing and Painting Using Compositional Balance

An important consideration when drawing, painting, or creating any work of art is its compositional balance. Composition, in a work of art, refers to the way in which its various visual elements are arranged and organized. The way that this is done creates the compositional balance in the work. Basically, there are three types of compositional balance. These are:
  • Symmetrical
  • Asymmetrical
  • Radial
Symmetrical Balance
Symmetrical balance, also known as formal balance, occurs when equal weight and importance are given to both sides of a composition. This is often thought of as a mirrored balance, because the weight is mirrored on either side of the work. This can occur either vertically (in which, for example, a painting is thought to be divided into left and right halves), or horizontally (in which a painting is thought to be divided into upper and lower halves).

A symmetrically balanced composition can invoke feelings of calmness, stability and security. Julinya Vidigal de Vince's oil painting Imperial Beach provides an example of vertical balance. The darker pier and figures on the left hand side of the painting are equally weighted by the sun and its reflection in the water and the clouds on the right hand side.

Imperial Beach - Oil on Canvas
Asymmetrical Balance
Asymmetrical balance occurs when the visual elements in a work of art do not mirror each other either vertically or horizontally. It is a less formal type of balance, and utilizes more subtle qualities to affect the apparent weight of objects in the work. These qualities include an object's color, its intensity or brightness, and its degree of lightness or darkness. For example, a large, light area on one side of a painting could be asymmetrically balanced by a small, intensely black or deep-purple area on the other side.

Asymmetrical balance results in works that appear more energetic and active than symmetrically balanced works. Because it is more subtle, it can be more difficult to create than a symmetrical work. However, it enables the artist to create works with a wide range of dynamism, depending on the degree of asymmetry.
Radial Symmetry
Radial symmetry is similar to symmetrical balance; however, in radial symmetry the composition is equally weighted both vertically and horizontally. Thus, if the painting were divided into four equal quarters, each quarter would have the same amount of weight. This draws the eye to the center of the work, which becomes its focal point.

Parati - Rua da Praia - Oil on canvas

Julinya Vidigal de Vince's oil painting Parati - Rua da Praia provides a wonderful example of radial symmetry in its vertical and horizontal balance. The two beautiful adobe walls provide equal weight to both the left side and right side of the painting, while the alley way and the sky provide equal weight to both the painting's top and bottom.

Radial symmetry has two commonly used variants. In the first, equal weight is given vertically, horizontally and diagonally. This gives the effect of having the composition radiate from its center. This is popularly used in non-representational art.

The second common variant is the spiral, in which the composition rotates around an actual or implied central point. A spiral produces a high-energy composition in a circular format. Alternately, it can provide a sense of added movement if used in a section of a work that predominantly uses a more rectangular composition.

Julinya Vidigal de Vince offers a variety of art workshops in Westlake Village California.

Julinya's Art Classes - Westlake Village, CA

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