Read this snippet…
A student showed his landscape painting to one of the twentieth century great teachers and artist Frank DuMond for review.
After seeing that painting DuMond said ” The sky, the foreground, the middle ground, trees and everything came well but…” he paused for a moment.
That student looked at him anxiously.
After a moment DuMond said ” …but you have forgotten to add some cement to connect them to each other.” Paul Strisik, One of the popular American landscape painter quoted this incident in his book ‘Capturing Light in Oils’
What DuMond meant is …‘ individually every shape or part is good, but they lost the relation with each other, so the painting missed the harmony and unity.’
That would happen due to lack of composition skills.
Learning composition means coordinating many tools. If you know how to coordinate compositional tools then only you will become a professional artist.
For that you have to study six subjects. They are … Sketching, Value, Edges, Perspective, Color, Composition & Design.
A brief description about those six subjects.
This subject concerns ‘ Learning to See. ‘ That is Observation. Observation helps to understand Shapes, Spaces between Shapes and Spaces between Edges. Call these three as tools of the sketching.
We see everything in Light and Darks. These Light and Darks are the effects of Light, whether it is Sunlight or Artificial light. We will be able to create realistic illusions on canvas through creating light and darks. Relations between light and dark is Value.
Whatever we see in our visual world it appears in Color. What we paint on canvas is also Color. Art student has to understand everything about Color. Otherwise his color applications will be weak. His efforts to create realistic illusions on canvas will also be unconvincing.
This is the another important subject for the art student to learn. To construct realistic illusion on the two dimensional surface of canvas, student must know this. It is related to Size, Shape, Proportion, Value and Color.
In nature we won’t see lines. We see only shapes. The trees, houses, clouds, animals and people …all are shapes. But they are having edges. Because of these edges their shapes, sizes and proportions will be decided. Three dimensional illusion on two dimensional picture space also depends upon understanding of edges.
Composition & Design
Finally this is the soul of art. Line, Value, Edges, Perspective and Color everything is part of Composition & Design. If a picture appears beautiful, it means composition & design worked well in that picture. If picture appears dull and lifeless, it must be the reason of poor composition and design. That is the importance of Composition & Design.
To study these things, to acquire reasonable knowledge about these, it would take considerable time. So don’t be in a hurry. Start to learn. Enjoy the journey.