What’s the Rule of Thirds for Flowers?

“Rule of Thirds for Flowers” ©️Robin King

There’s a “rule” of visual art composition called “The Rule of Thirds.” It’s about dividing an image into thirds to create a “pleasing” image. The first time I heard about a Rule of Thirds in the context of art I was when I read a book about photography many years ago. I remember laughing because my experience with a Rule of Thirds was through music. In so-called Western music, harmony is built on thirds to avoid the perceived “dissonance” of fourths and and sevenths. That’s a parochial view, of course, developed long before the world’s glorious variety of music was available to the entire world.

But it’s a “rule.”

Because my experience with composition originally came from music I think that by the time I picked up a camera I’d had my fill of “rules of composition” and have ignored them ever since. That’s probably a failing of mine; I don’t recommend it.

But I do recommend this abstract image. It’s a closeup of a lily. What an amazing structure! This one has a pistil trio that reminds me of piano keys.

To view “Rule of Thirds For Flowers” in my Redbubble Shop (as prints and on products) click here or on the images above: https://www.redbubble.com/i/art-board-print/Rule-of-Thirds-for-Flowers-by-artbyrobinking/95069737.5E8EA

“All the News”

“All the News” (©️Robin King)

Several weeks ago – before my most recent (and unexpected) absence from art & the internet – I uploaded “All the News” to my Redbubble Shop.

There’s so much news! Some is good; most isn’t. Some is objectively important to how we navigate our days; most isn’t. But it arrives, wave after wave of words and images. There are times when it threatens to overwhelm, to swallow us in the information maelstrom.

When I composed this piece I deliberately restricted the news aspect of it and allowed the face to be prominent. Yes, the effects of the “tide” are there but they don’t overwhelm, not entirely. The image is a digital collage that incorporates three photographs and one layer of digital painting. If you think you see a paint palette in there (with acrylic paint smeared on it), you’re right.

“All the News” is available as open edition prints and stickers. Here’s a direct link: https://www.redbubble.com/shop/ap/93859197

Smile for the Camera!

©️Robin King

Ummm…maybe I’m getting ahead of myself?  “Laugh at the photographer” would be more accurate. I thought my new camera was very similar to my very old one but it’s different in ways I didn’t even consider. I’m sitting here humbled by my ineptness and frazzled by nascent panic.

You know that place where you have a new techno-whoosit and it doesn’t do what you want but you don’t know if it’s your lack of knowledge or some flaw in the equipment? That’s the place I’m in. Most likely: I’m the problem. To remedy that I need time and patience. And sunshine, not only for the camera but also for my state of mind. We have sun today and probably a few days after that – with high temperatures and air quality alerts – so I’m planning to stay inside and go back to camera school.

Because my “happy place” in photography is close-up work being inside will be OK. Macros are good ways to practice, I think, because I can control the environment while I learn how to use this amazing camera that’s currently intimidating the heck out of me. Maybe by next week I’ll have fallen in love with it, the way I love my old one. Techno-whoosits need love, too. 

A Camera Is Not a Bicycle


“It’s like riding a bicycle!”

What’s that mean? You ought to be able to ride a bicycle even after a long time of not riding one, muscle-memory and all that. Right? I’ll buy it. Our bodies usually do a good job of riding a bicycle once we begin the activity again.

But a camera is not a bicycle.

I learned that the hard way this afternoon when I used a new camera after many years of not doing any serious photography. The camera’s similar to my old one – the one I could use with next to no conscious thought because I’d done it sooooo many times for sooooo many years – but just different enough to make my “muscle memory” choke. If I’d been riding that bicycle I’d’ve toppled over. Very quickly, I realized that my mind wasn’t engaged. I wasn’t thinking at all about ISO or f-stops or even which button to press to change from auto-focus to manual. Every shot I took was bad. They got worse, too, as I went forward. All those years ago what I did was practiced enough that unless something was weird or truly unexpected I could just do it. Autopilot.

Now? I’m scrambling to recall how to perform the simplest photography tasks. Fortunately, the information’s still filed away in my brain and it’s all flooding back to me faster and faster with each lens I pick up and each setting I adjust. ::whew:: Big relief! But I can tell that getting to the place I was before will take a little more time than I thought it would. 

And you know what? I’m enjoying every second of it. I missed playing with light!


Back to Photography, Happy Again

Years and years ago I had a job as the Easter Bunny’s Helper in a big department store (remember those?). I was the person who wrangled the kids and took the pictures. The camera was a massive box and had to be put inside a dense cloth bag so that I could take the film out to send it away for processing. The bag had zippers and arm sleeves, all designed to keep the light out. The job – aside from the occasional screaming kid – was fascinating! A few years later I had a job that suddenly included writing on-the-job training scripts for employees at our pharmaceutical manufacturing company AND taking pictures that demonstrated the activities. I needed to learn how to use an SLR  fast. The camera was an ancient Pentax that used film (this was pre-digital photography) and had no automatic settings. I took lessons from a local photographer and read as many books on photography as I could find. I loved taking pictures and never stopped after that. 

But paint and paper and clay turned out to be interesting, too. Over time I took fewer pictures. Cameras changed. I changed – LOL. Even though I still “capture” things it’s been a while since I filled a camera card. But I still have lots of photos I can offer the world. Today I took some time to upload the 5 photos above to my “ART BY ROBIN KING” Redbubble site to join the others are already there in my Photography Collection. They’re now available on various Redbubble products (journals, clothing, magnets, stickers, masks, prints, stationery, etc.).

In the weeks to come I’ll add more photography, work that hasn’t been seen yet.

And, as soon as I can sort out a camera that functions well enough I’m going to start shooting pix again. What fun!

Pixelmator Pro: Quick Look

Original (©️Robin King)

Three days ago I downloaded a 15-day free trial of Pixelmator Pro. Because of a leg injury I can’t sit at a computer for more than a few minutes at a time, so I’ve been trying to explore (and learn how to use) Pixelmator Pro fast.  

My first quickety-split discovery was how to resize an image for web use. Excellent! 

The second thing I found – and figured out how to use – was a set of editing tools that included the usual curves and slides. What surprised me was the fascinating array of presets that can also be adjusted. It’s this set of tools that enabled me to make the first photo, above, from the second. Quick clicks, easy slides: big changes.

Even though Pixelmator Pro isn’t Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (which I’ve used for years) I’m loving it so far. But I need it to work well when I create digital mixed media multi-layered images, so tomorrow I’ll try to make and edit layers.


Here’s the Pixelmator Pro site: https://www.pixelmator.com/pro/