Now the work begins. The research, the writing, the illustrating... what started out as some 20 to 30 minute lessons now has the potential to become a complete program on it's own! But that's okay. One of the things I absolutely love about teaching is that it makes me learn new things, in order to be able to teach them. Teaching = Learning. Learning = Teaching.
Composition isn't just the boring math stuff of dividing up the page according to a certain formula that will give you pleasing places to put your focal point or centre of interest. It's applying colour, lights and darks, contrasts to create drama, to draw the viewer into the painting so that they can see and become excited about what it is that you want to show them. It's taking a
ho-hum photograph and improving on it to create a phenomenal piece of art.
Charlie Spratt, a highly respected and award winning Canadian artist, always asks, "What's your story? What are you showing me?" at his workshops. That has stuck in my mind since he first said it to me. If you don't see what I saw and felt when I saw this image then I have not done my job as an artist. Charlie's mastery of composition is expansive and he truly has a gift of being able to explain it in simple terms so that everyone can understand. (Check out Charlie's workshop coming in October at http://www.susanashbrook.com/specialty-workshops.html, and watch his video on his website at http://www.cspratt.net/artist.html.)
Also, I'm offering a workshop on composition and colour specifically for abstract and non-representational artists who use a variety of media as well as mixed media. Composition and colour are so important in these types of artworks as it is all design, with no traditionally recognizable subject matter. So if the composition and colour aren't drawing the viewer in, what is? (For information: http://www.susanashbrook.com/weekend-workshops.html.)
I just want to say that composition is no longer all about geometry and higher mathematics, but about colour and form and many other things that will actually get you all excited about it, as it did me. You might even discover that it's actually fun!
In keeping with today's composition theme, I'd like to share some composition tips with you:
Choose good viewpoints:
Moving over can make a world of difference to the composition! By moving over so that the bridge is not central has improved the composition in this example.
Painting Update: The Fossil Pieces
After having finalized the background the way I wanted, this week I applied the stencils. I mixed Raw Sienna paint with some Gloss Gel medium, to extend the paint and create a thicker product to apply through the stencil. Gel medium dries clear so the beauty of the Raw Sienna would be as intense as it comes out of the tube. Gel Medium is also less expensive than paint so it is a good way to save a few pennies in your artwork.
I applied the paint/medium mixture with an offset palette knife, trying to press lightly so as not to squish the paint under the stencil, creating an overflow between the stencil openings.
Now I have to let the stencilled parts dry before moving forward. Next week will be some fine tuning to finish the pieces off. Looking forward to showing it to you.
By the way, if you wish to comment on my blog, ask questions or make suggestions about what you would like to learn about, please go to http://www.susanashbrook.com/blog and click on comments to add your's. I would really love to hear from you.