Today I wanted to spend a class focusing on composition. In chemistry we might talk about the chemical composition of some substance - a specific combination and arrangement of elements. In a similar way composition in visual art refers to how we arrange the elements of visual language within a picture plane.
The elements of visual design are: line, shape, space, form, texture, value and color. All paintings are comprised of these basic elements. It is a huge topic. I didn't want to dig too deep into principles of good composition today. My main purpose was just to bring it to our attention and have it be our focus for a day.
I asked you to bring in an object to paint. Preferably a simple object. The assignment today was to divide your canvas into four rectangles and create four different compositions using your object and the objects around your table. We talked about some simple rules that are often brought up in relation to composition. The rule of thirds, "don't put stuff in the middle", "asymmetry is more interesting than symmetry", "negative space is just as important as positive space" etc. These generalizations have there place and can be helpful but it is important to understand the underlying principles they are based on. I covered some of these ideas in the demo and critique.
I said too much to repeat here but I think the important thing is that you know composition is something you ought to be thinking about and studying. You need to be asking yourself the kinds of questions I brought up in critique.
I was pleased with the paintings you all made. Next week I will bring a photograph for us to work from for our next painting. I want to work with transparency and reflections. I won't be posting images for you to vote on. You will have to put up with my decision this time around!