Just a Little Blue is an open studio 20x16 oil by Shirley Fachilla.
For all intents and purposes, she’s smack in the middle of my canvas. Ask any landscape or still life painter; a focal point (i.e. the primary subject is the focal point) shouldn’t be in the middle.
This middle business may be almost always true for landscapes and still lifes, but it isn’t always true for figurative or portrait. If you have a single figure in a symmetrical pose, the figure may work best in the middle.
To create another composition that works as well, I’d have to shift her, crop her almost in half and perhaps leave the other half of the canvas empty. Hmm, then I might have a Degas composition. Very tempting! If you’ve read this blog much, you know I do so love Degas.
This particular subject was inspired by Carolyn Anderson who said that the middle is sometimes the only place for a figure, especially one facing straight toward viewer. (Here are two quite different examples of just what Carolyn was talking about: a Bouguereau and a Chuck Close.)
Though Just a Little Blue isn’t looking at you, she makes up for it by being such a well-balanced girl. And by the way, she wore a black camisole under her white, semi-transparent shirt; it made for an interesting painting challenge.