The Fundamentals of Composition

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The fundamentals of composition are the same throughout the arts. Whether you are a painter, sculptor, illustrator, writer or musician, you will use the same principles to create the art that you wish to make.

What are these fundamentals? What does it mean to compose a painting or a sculpture and how does it apply to other disciplines?

The Fundamentals of Composition is my effort to answer these questions. It is an on-going exploration into the nature of art and how we can use it to improve our own work. I will cover both traditional and digital art media.

This blog is written in bite-sized chunks for easy consumption. I hope that you will find it useful for learning about art, improving your own work, as well as gaining clarity about how your craft fits into today’s society.**

I am trying to share my love of drawing and painting with everyone. I hope that by posting to this blog, I can express my passion for the visual arts, and hopefully inspire others to find their own passion.

The blog is an ongoing collection of tutorials, critiques, inspiration, and random thoughts on art. All media are welcome so long as they involve a pen/pencil or paint/chalk/charcoal.

I’m not really sure where all this will lead, but I’m hopeful about it. I hope that people will enjoy what I create here and perhaps learn something in the process. Feel free to comment on anything you see here. Constructive criticism is always appreciated!

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I’d like to introduce a blog about painting and drawing by an artist who has no formal training or college degrees. I will be discussing the fundamentals of composition, design and movement in my work as well as other things that will help you on your own art journey.

I have been studying art for over 20 years and although I have not had any formal training or college degrees, I have learned from books, mentors, observation and practice.

I was always interested in art and once I started to learn more about it, I wanted to learn more! Some people may think that with all the schools out there that teach art you would go and get a degree but I didn’t want one.

I can say though that my training is equal to or greater than what most schools offer today. My mentor told me a story once of someone who went to school for years at one of the best schools in the world studying to be an artist. He spent hours every day learning how to mix paint and use brushes but did not spend much time actually drawing or painting. The result was a technically perfect painting but it had no soul! He missed the fundamentals and never learned how to express himself through his art. We don’t need to know everything before we

“The creation of art is a series of risks. The artist takes a risk by beginning to make an artwork, and he takes further risks along the way.

There are three fundamentals to composition that tell us what elements we should consider when taking these risks. They are:

1. Balance: All things in a work of art are in some sense balanced with one another.

2. Harmony: The parts of a work relate to each other in some way, such as being different views of a single object, or contrasting colors next to each other.”

In the works of Leonardo da Vinci we find a lesson in compositional principles. He teaches us that simple things can often be combined to make something greater than the sum of its parts.

Treat every part of your picture as if it were your main subject, and then place it in an appropriate spot in the overall composition. This is one of the first lessons taught to students of painting, yet I feel like so many artists ignore it. Too often I see pictures where the artist has clearly done hours and hours of work on one part of the painting, only to have it ruined by the fact that they placed it poorly in relation to what is around it.

The most common place where this happens is with figures. There’s a lot of detail, but they’re placed right at the edge of the painting or even hanging off into empty space, with no indication of why they are there or even why they should be important. The result is that you end up not knowing what to look at!

If you want to learn how to compose good paintings, I suggest you study Leonardo da Vinci’s works. You will find many examples of how he used simple elements to create a complex whole.

Leonardo da Vinci was the greatest painter of the Renaissance. In his private notebooks he wrote, “A painter should begin by studying drawing, and he should acquire a knowledge of drawing if he intends to acquire excellence in painting.”

I’m writing this blog because I would like to see more young artists drawing. I think it’s important to start with drawing because that is what we do before beginning to paint or sculpt.

I love to draw. It is freeing, fun and very satisfying. And you don’t need a lot of materials or special skills. You can use a pencil and some paper or you can draw on your computer.

No one ever sees your drawings but you. They are for your eyes only and yours alone. No one judges your drawings but you. And that means that you can relax and enjoy them more than any other art form.*

And the truth is: The best artists are those who draw!

If an artist’s goal is to convey a message, then what better way than through the use of metaphor? By using one thing to represent another, artists can add layers of meaning to their work.

The artwork presented here is based on a photograph taken by the author in Barcelona. In it, the artist has used his skills and training in painting to create a piece that has both literal and figurative meanings.

The picture represents a house party taking place somewhere in Spain. The house is painted red to signify passion or love; many Spanish homes are painted this color. The door is open as if welcoming visitors into its home. A man with a guitar stands in front of the house playing music for the guests. He represents the artist who uses his musical voice to communicate his message. There are people sitting at the table drinking wine and dancing which signifies celebration and joy. The table cloth has been dragged on the ground because life is not perfect and people make mistakes. Many of us make mistakes but learning from these mistakes allows us to grow as individuals and helps make us stronger.”

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