Common mistakes – 5

By | February 2, 2014
Common mistakes, pop-ups, rhythm, variation, cuts, dynamic and balance.

Common mistakes, pop-ups, rhythm, variation, cuts, dynamic and balance.

Common mistakes and pitfalls

Here we will show you some common mistakes and give you advice on creating images.
It is here to help create possibilities for problem solving. Within all art areas there are also artists who have done the opposite with successful results. You should not see these as rules, but rather like tools to use to achieve what you want.


Landscape by the meter

When painting landscapes it is important to avoid creating a pattern by the meter, something that lacks significance. It would make no difference if it was shifted a bit to the right or the left, a sign of unawareness in the images.

Landscape by the meter.

Landscape by the meter

Landscape with a deliberate pattern.

Landscape with a deliberate pattern.


Rhythm – variation art_school_variation-02 art_school_variation-03

Rhythm – variation

When drawing objects which have similarities you should strive to achieve a variation in shapes, size and colour. The following example shows how you can achieve this type of variation.


Bull’s eye – dynamic in the composition

Bulls-eye is an effect when an important part of an image is brought to the centre through two imagined diagonal lines. Important objects should not be placed over these two lines. A dynamic composition is achieved if you place important objects so that their centre of gravity is not in the middle of, or on, these two lines.

Focus in the middle or on the two diagonal lines = static composition.

Bull's eye – dynamic in the composition

Focus on the sides of the diagonal lines = more dynamic.

Focus on the sides of the diagonal lines


Vermeer’s painting is interesting since it contains both a static and dynamic composition.

Example: Vermeer (1632-1675)

Vermeer’s painting is interesting since it contains both a static and dynamic composition. If you analyse the parts of the image you can see that the background is static and the foreground is dynamic.


Similar and different art_school_similarity art_school_similarity-ex-bruegel

Similar and different

Different shapes can sometimes need a similarity to relate to in order to become interesting. (keeps the image to a whole)


Pop-up annoys

Example: Vermeer + addition.

Pop-up annoys

When it comes to composition, one should move from depicting to creating an image. Various motifs should be used to create a whole. It is all about allowing shapes and forms to become ”actors” in a play where you tell your own story. What is important is the story you have got to tell rather than the motif. A way to see if the various parts are not in harmony is to squint your eyes and focus on the main object. You will then be able to see which parts and colours are not in balance with the image as a whole. Alternatively some artists regularly use a mirror to view the painting they are working on.


No interesting focus point
Example: Paul Gaugin (1848-1903)

No interesting focus point

If there is no focal point in the image the eye will keep shifting its gaze without finding anything. Contrast, colours or composition is a means to avoid this problem. There are paintings when this is not of interest like for example monochromic or certain abstract works of art.


Wrong balance art_school_balance_02 art_school_balance-ex-claude-monet

Wrong balance

You can get unwanted effects if you are not observant of the balance in the composition. A symmetrical composition can be seen as parted and therefore not be connected in the image. There are paintings when this is not relevant such as some abstracts. You need to pay attention to the composition so that is does not counteract what you are trying to achieve.