Category Archives: Composition

Composition is the interaction of shapes, lines, values, and colors.

30 Paintings and How I Took Them From Good to Great

1 After                 The wave that crosses diagonally needed to be broken up in the right half, so I added a break in the foam. Also, the ocean side of it was too … Continue reading

Posted in Brushwork, Color, Composition, Demonstrations, Landscape, Lighting |

Adding a Compositional Frame or Base Makes Stronger Paintings

Composition for most artists today avoids symmetry and seeks to create balance from unbalanced objects. Good composition keeps viewers interested and keeps them within the borders of the artwork. One effective method is to add a base that signals to … Continue reading

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How to Keep Water Flat in Your Paintings

Do you ever struggle with water that seems to fall right off the canvas?   It’s frustrating  to have a brilliantly painted ship with areas of water looks as if they are sloping or, at least not level.   Here is some advice for … Continue reading

Posted in Composition, Landscape |

“S” Curve Composition

The purpose of a curving path for the viewer’s eye is to enlarge the space inside the painting and create visual interest. The sketch below shows how the curving shape of foam can help create an interesting composition.

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Triangle Composition

The triangle composition works for several reasons. One reason is that it contains an odd number of supporting points. Our minds tend to find even numbers and formal symmetry more mundane than odd numbers and uneven spaces. It likely is … Continue reading

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“L” Composition

One basic form of composition separates one vertical side and one horizontal side from the rest of the painting. This shape is similar to the letter “L” so why not call it that. The reason this kind of composition works … Continue reading

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Achieving Balance in Your Art

Balance is the proper distribution of color, value, and size weights in a painting. See some more in-depth discussions on calor and value in the color section! To achieve informal balance (the most interesting kind), these should not be even … Continue reading

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Keeping it Together: The Importance of Layering in a Painting

Lines and shapes should not be left alone. Create paths, fill up the painting, and connect stranded objects. This sounds trivial, but it’s hard to realize sometimes and depends on good analysis of the scene you intend to paint. This … Continue reading

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Using Lines in Your Art

Lines are certainly created by the long strokes in a painting. However, lines are also created by the outlines of shapes and positions of shapes relative to each other. The idea of creating interesting paths with diagonal and curved lines … Continue reading

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Linear Perspective in Drawings and Paintings

Linear perspective is created with vanishing points – a point at which all parallel lines converge – even though we have nothing long enough to actually see this occur, it is part of how we experience the world. The wonderful … Continue reading

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