Creating Tension in the Nines

Andy Braitman demonstrates how to break your painting down into nine shapes and how to create tension in each of these shapes.

1. Start by breaking your canvas into nine shapes.

2. Look at all nine quadrants and see if you have some kind of information in each of the nine spaces.

3. Ideally you want your subject to flirt with the middle of the canvas but not placed in the dead center.

4. In the spaces that have no substance in them (i.e. are empty), you will need to find creative ways to activate the space to make them more interesting.

a. You activate the space by adding TENSION.

b. TENSION: Giving power to space by activating it

i. Ways to add TENSION:

1. Altering the values to add more contrast and weight to one side

2. Adding or sharpening edges to break up the space

3. Etc.

5. Move around your canvas and look at each of the nine shapes to make sure you have created interesting tension, shapes and value relationships that together will help build a strong and successful foundation for your painting.

Joey Hampton