What's the secret that turns a landscape into a painting? Composition
Art historian Ian Dejardin on how painters warp reality to present a scene in the frame
Landscape Artist of the Year Canada brings together the country's top professional and amateur artists in a battle of the brushes to see who can best capture the country's most iconic landscapes. Stream Landscape Artist of the Year Canada now on CBC Gem.
"Composition in landscape art is about the arrangement of what you see in front of you, and it's something that very often, for someone who doesn't know about art, [it] will take them by surprise," says Ian Dejardin, art historian and executive director of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, where the work of Landscape Artist of the Year Canada's winning artist will be put on display. "Because if you actually transport them in front of the same view that they know from a painting, they'll suddenly see, well, that tree isn't actually there — that mountain isn't actually that big."
"Artists take poetic and artistic license with what they see in front of them, and the driving factor behind that is composition. They have to think of a landscape, which for us is huge in our peripheral vision, and they're fitting it into, usually, a square format."
"If you have a square format you have sides, you have a top and a bottom, and that landscape has to fit in to it in the best possible way to evoke what you're seeing in front of you. If you're looking a television, you take what you've got. If you're painting, you can make it into what you want."