A good composition always makes a painting or photograph a more interesting piece of artwork. Besides the subject and colors being used, composition plays a big role in the project. An easy rule to follow for a good composition is to use "The Rule of Thirds." This is an easy rule or guide to follow without getting hung up on the mathematical formulas of the Golden Ratio, aka the Golden Mean, The Divine Proportion, and I'm sure there are others. For many years, designers, photographers, videographers and painters have been using the rule of thirds for good compositions of their work/designs. Please keep in mind this is just one type of compositional technique that can be used. There are others such as formal balance, and the imbalanced. The rule of thirds technique is an informal balance composition from which I prefer to use.
The rule of thirds is the process of dividing your canvas or whatever support you may be using into thirds. Divide your support into thirds with two imaginary vertical and horizontal lines on your support. Anywhere the imaginary lines intersect is the location your main center of interest should be placed or at least close enough to it. During the design phase it's always a good idea to look for pointers that will help lead the viewers eyes to the center of interest. It could be a tree line, path, tree branch, shadows or if your subject is something other than a landscape, try to arrange elements to point the viewer to your center of interest ie; drapery, edges of furniture, wall, chair, etc. You do not have to paint everything that you see out there either. Use your creative license to add or subtract elements in order to make your painting an overall better composition.
When I am taking pictures for possible studio works I also use the rule of thirds while taking the photographs. As I am looking through my viewfinder of the camera I will turn the camera vertical and horizontal, zoom in, and out if needed in order to look for a good composition while using the rule of thirds technique. This saves a step in the design process later when you are looking through photos for possible painting subjects. You can still use this technique with older pictures by doing some cropping in the photographs. So, the next time you are designing your next masterpiece, keep the rule of thirds in mind for a better composition. Now let's paint!