Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What is the weird dog in the corner?

The weird dog in the corner is a "theory" I learned from painter Paul Hartley in all the years I had him as an instructor at East Carolina University. I studied under Paul, in various forms, from 1993 until 2002.

The idea behind the weird dog in the corner (or on the edge) is a compositional tool that helps to bring the eye back into the painting. This normally will work in conjunction with other shapes and directional movements within a composition.

Why is it the weird dog in the corner?

For some reason lots of painters will stick strange things in their paintings that occasionally make no sense or seem arbitrary. Often times these strange things are random dogs or the like. So the weird dog in the corner can really be anything placed as a compositional element, in a corner or on the edge, that re-directs the viewer back to the focal point.

My plan for this blog is to post the weird dogs in the corner from art history and discuss their many compositional uses. There are plenty of weird dogs in the corners and on the edge of many works of art.

Have a look at the Arnolfini Wedding by Van Eyck. The weird dog on the edge is actually a weird dog on the edge. The weird dog in the corner happens to be the shoes.

1 comment:

  1. I happened onto your blog by searching up images by Paul, also a long time professor of mine.

    Today, Thanksgiving, he passed in the afternoon. :(