Virtual Art Academy
Fresh Breeze, by Winslow Homer

Adding Strength To Your Painting Compositions: The Principle of Right Angles

One painting technique to strengthen your composition is to look for opportunities to create right angles by adjusting the slants of shapes in your painting.

This painting by Jean-Francois Millet uses this techniques. The figures are at right angles to the horizon line

Here is an example of the principle of right angles in a painting by Arthur Streeton. He carefully angles the tree to be at right angles to the position at which it crosses the top edge of the field.

Summer Idyll, by Arthur Streeton
Summer Idyll, by Arthur Streeton
compositional principle of right angles in Summer Idyll, by Arthur Streeton
use of the compositional principle of right angles in Summer Idyll, by Arthur Streeton

Here is another example of the compositional principle of right angles in a seascape by Winslow Homer. He angles the dress of the figures to be at right angles to the slanting rocks. He also lets the figure cross the horizon of the sea to create a another right angle.

Fresh Breeze, by Winslow Homer
Fresh Breeze, by Winslow Homer

Composition in Fresh Breeze, by Winslow Homer
Use of the principle of right-angles in Fresh Breeze, by Winslow Homer

Adding Strength To Your Painting Compositions: The Principle of Right Angles 1