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let’s talk composition

October 22, 2010

mixed media collage

what is composition? well, i see it as that secret “it” factor that makes a painting work. and you don’t hear many artists talking about it. it must be because artists don’t want to give away their secret. or maybe it’s because composition is something that comes intuitively. let’s face it, you can be a master of techniques but if you have no knowledge of composition you will never be a great artist. today i am going to share with you a few of my composition secrets.

1. off the page- i like to have an image or design actually going off the edge. it creates more interest and just works.

2. off center- placing an image in the center of the canvas is just plain predictable and boring. when you place the image off center, it is more exciting and unpredictable. it makes someone say, “hmmmm… there is something different about this piece!”

3. black- using black in a painting somehow seems to ground the piece. i love using a little black around the edge of my paintings because it somehow draws your eye into the painting.

4. border-i like to have some sort of border around the edges of my painting. again, it draws your eye into the piece.

5. repeat shapes or colors- repeating a theme in you piece creates harmony. example, use circles throughout your piece.

what are some of your composition “secrets”? care to share?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2010 11:16 am

    Hi there – cool blog. Practical yet inspiring! Thanks Kylie

  2. October 22, 2010 11:23 am

    I like things off center – there’s more interest that way! But, if it needs to be in the center, then it better be dead on. Otherwise, it looks funny, and it bothers me.

    I like things to be different sizes. It’s also a way to play on the idea of importances and getting the eye to focus on things in a certain pattern.

    I also like the composition to be weighted to one side or another. Meaning, if there’s a lot going on the bottom, the top feels like it should be empty. This way, the top would act as negative space and important in its own right, while still emphasizing the detail on the bottom. This way, there’s no competition and no “too much going on”.

    That leads me into a balanced composition. It goes hand in hand with visual weight, and doesn’t necessarily mean there’s got to be equal amounts of things in all places. I mean it can, but it’s more the idea that all of the parts of the whole are balanced around the whole. Basically, there should be a focus and an emphasis, and everything else should reinforce that.

  3. October 23, 2010 6:07 pm

    I really work intuitively on my pieces. I have no set formula. I guess that is why I still have no “style”. Still working on that one.

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