Composition Workshop

Part 1


Many times we focus on the figure or positive space in our paintings and drawings.  Whether that refers to human figures, landscape, still life or any elements. However the space around the figure is just as important.

In this workshop we will explore positive and negative space, and the figure/ground relationship.  We will look at examples of negative space both in objects in our daily life, as well as in the work of artists such as Matisse.

The use of negative space will open up many possibilities to add interest to your work, giving space to breathe, and move in new ways.

In addition we will begin to work with the concept of planes.  Planes are of fundamental importance in all art, as can be seen in the work of the old masters, as well as modern abstract art.  Planes will play an important role as we continue with the full series of this workshop.

Part 2


In this workshop we will learn how to move the viewers eye through the painting:



forward and back in space

We will cover concepts from Middle Eastern art, Gaugin, Rembrandt.

We will also see an application of an important concept from the I Ching in spatial movement.

Movements in space




Part 3


In this workshop we will build on the movements in space from part 2.

We will look at the importance of elements such as:

The concept of push/pull



Varying size

Linear movement

Rhythmic movement

Planal vs gestural composition

We will work with exercises specifically designed to help us see and work with these movements.

Recommended text:

The Painter’s Mind by Romare Bearden and Carl Holty

Part 4


In this final part of the Composition workshop serieswe will take the opportunity to work on all we have learned in the context of a piece.  You can bring in something you have started at home, or start something new.  It can be an original piece, or based on a work of another artist.  We will focus on two questions of how to begin a composition, and the commposition/recomposition process

We will also look at some advanced topics not normally covered in art classes.

Rethinking positive and negative space:

Positive / Negative

Negative / Positive

Positive / Positive

We will also look at and work with:

Linear movement

Rhythmic movement

Asian art

Changing pictorial space through history, and East and West