A Flora for a Roma is a 14x11 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.
Inside every rectangle is a square. Well, of course, you can find many squares. But the one I’m referring to is the square whose sides are the same length as the short side of the rectangle.
As illustrated by the dashed line inside the rectangle below:
This sort of square is called a rabatment. Why this lesson in geometry?
Simple. If you put the major elements of your painting within the rabatment, you will have taken a big step toward a good and interesting composition. Cassatt used rabatments as did Winslow Homer and most especially Degas. Rabatment explains some of Degas’ most elegant designs, those wonderful ballet studio paintings where empty floor space takes up a third or more of the canvas.
Elements outside the rabatment often lead the viewer’s eye into the square and should be secondary to those contained within the square portion. There are many interesting things an artist can do with rabatment. With A Flora for a Roma, I’m just beginning to explore.