The Composition #2

“The elements of composition embrace the whole creative process.”

The Art of the Artist – Composition – by Fletcher Martin

Composite #2 CJM 5 x 7

Composite #2 CJM 5 x 7


Design as part of a composition can help orchestrate the page and create balance.   Here are a couple of definitions from Webster’s on Design.

  • DESIGN – “To conceive and plan out in the mind.”
  • DESIGN – “An underlying plan that governs functioning, developing, or unfolding.”

I really like the second one!  An underlying plan on a canvas supports all the succeeding steps in developing a painting.  Deciding where to place the point of interest can be challenging.   Here are a few simple “Tips” to help you get started creating.  Overtime you may find this comes naturally.

Tip!    Take time to view master works of art. Like those of  Paul Cezzane!

Tip!   Take your time, practice, get frustrated, re-work if necessary and continue.  There are NO Mistakes!


The GRID – this is a method often used by photographers to orchestrate a shot.  It’s also a helpful tool to get started with developing a composition for a painting when your painting from life.

  • In using the GRID, you want to place the point of interest at one of the cross points.  The eye has a natural tendency to want to rest in one spot.  What a strong composition often does is keep the eye traveling around so as to capture and embrace the entire visual story.  Placing your point of interest off center helps achieve this.

The Grid System(These can be made with a clear piece of velum taped into a small pre-cut mat. Use a Sharpie to draw the grid.  It’s a handy tool to keep with your drawing or painting gear.)

  •  Use your camera!  If you have a small camera take a picture of your subject. This helps give you some perspective and can be useful in making a decision on what you want to leave in or out of the painting.  The images also serve as useful references if you have been painting landscapes on site and want to work more at home.

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