The Composition #11

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

The Art of the Artist – Composition – by Fletcher Martin

Composite #11 CJM 5 x 7

Composite #11 CJM 5 x 7



Many elements of composition have been covered over the past weeks.  What I’d like to touch on this week is  TEXTURE as part of a composition.  Perhaps we are more familiar with texture in 3D work however it can have a place on a  physical and visual level in 2D work.

A few definitions:

TEXTURE –  “In the visual arts, texture is the perceived surface quality of a work of art. It is an element of two-dimensional and three-dimensional designs and is distinguished by its   perceived visual and physical properties. Use of texture, along with other elements of design, can convey a variety of messages and emotions.”

TEXTURE –  “Physical texture, also known as actual texture or tactile texture, are the actual variations upon a surface. This can include, but is not limited to, fur, wood grain, sand, smooth surface of canvas or metal, glass, and leather. It differentiates itself from visual texture by having a physical quality that can be felt by touch.

TEXTURE – essential part :  substance

A painting can have both visual texture and physical texture.  Visual texture might be the way an artist chooses to convey velvet fabric in a painting or a stone wall.  Physical texture often comes through in paintings where a thick paint is applied or where the brush strokes are visible.  Thick paint application is called “impasto” and is another technique used to convey a message visually.

Tip! Purchase a palette knife

Tip!  Experiment with texture in your painting


Vincent Van Gogh - Wagon

Vincent Van Gogh – Wagon

This painting by Vincent Van Gogh is quite amazing in person.  When I saw it I was surprised by the amount of paint he used and how 3 dimensional it really was.  For me, it was  sculptural and close to “relief” work.   It’s clearly a master work and one that combines so many element of composition well.

** NOTE: Many of the Impressionists used thick applications of paint which added not only another layer of dimension and development but allowed for light to reflect in new ways adding a “liveliness”.

Yayoi Kusama 1959

Yayoi Kusama “No. F” 1959

This piece by Yayoi Kusama “No. F” is an oil on canvas using impasto.  Even though its a very monochromatic work you can see the raised forms through out. I like this piece because I think it shows both “visual” and “physical” texture.  It has a very organic nature to it that is appealing and creates interest.


Anthony vanDyck "Virgin and Child"

Anthony vanDyck “Virgin and Child”

This last painting by Anthony van Dyck done around 1630 is a masterful work depicting “visual texture”.  The viewer can understand the essence of the fabrics lustrous nature through the use of variations in light and value. It looks as though it might be satin. One also gets the sense of the soft supple nature of the child’s flesh.

I hope you continue to practice with composition and the potential you have an artist when you can apply these to your own work and voice.  The sky is the limit when you have the tools.

Stay tuned for next weeks post which will wrap up this topic on COMPOSITION.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s