Here is the second chapter in the Practical Composition series. This course examines a capital notion: visual dynamic.
Watch it on Artstation Learning: https://www.artstation.com/learning/courses/56E/dynamic-shapes
Memorizing visual patterns involves identifying the force relationships between our vision's various perceptible signals.
In nature, form, color, and light carry an intrinsic tension. Their structuring characterizes the way we see the world visually. Thus, we know how to distinguish the grass from the sand, and the snake from the rat which moves there.
Contrast, essential for capturing attention, arises from the dynamic relationship that resides in a given category of perception: shape, color, tone, saturation, texture, roughness, reflectivity, lines arising from separation in space or between two colors, distortion due to movement, and any other element that the human mind can perceive through its senses.
In nature, our ability to perceive these specific dynamic relationships in the arrangement of visual cues, which we might call patterns, is an essential function of our survival.
Recognizing edible plants from deadly ones, identifying prey, and fleeing predators as early as possible; all of this largely depends on our vision and visual memory.
As a painter, the contrast ratio you bring to one of these categories of perception creates some dynamics. It is this dynamic that feeds your audience's attention.
Pitch black night has no visual dynamic at all, just like the blindness that results from too much light. For its part, the black square only maintains an extrinsic dynamic - its outline with the outside world - while intrinsically, it brings rest and passivity.
On the other side of the spectrum, chaos, visual noise, such as the sand, also carries very little intrinsic dynamics. An excess of visual cues naturally tends towards homogeneity and is, for the attention, not dynamic.
When this same sand, strewn with a few black rocks, meets a calm body of water at the edge of which an animal with dark fur is drinking, in the shade of a tree, all these elements, by the diverse visual contrasts relationships they maintain (light and dark colors; straight, broken, curved lines; roughness and reflectivity; small and large volumes; flat, curved and rugged surfaces, etc.) created a very strong dynamic. But this dynamic doesn't come from the nature of the objects themselves. It comes from their abstract visual language.
One of the main difficulty of composition, is to learn to see these abstract elements of visual language.
In its dynamic component, the art of composition consists in arranging these contrast ratios in such a way as to capture the viewer's attention and keep it on, and in, the work itself. This is counter nature: our vision is hardcoded to scan over and over our environment, and to achieve this goal, we need to synthesize nature at the visual language level.
Through the practical exercises that I present in this course, and by limiting myself to using two values to simplify the understanding, I'm inviting you to develop your ability to identify, create and master dynamic in your images.
Remember, before anything, it is the composition that captures your audience's attention, not your detailing, perspective, or anatomy skills.