Composition basics for beginners in realistic or abstract painting | Doris Charest | Skillshare

Composition basics for beginners in realistic or abstract painting

Doris Charest, Contemporary Fine Art Specialist and Instructor

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14 Lessons (43m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:04
    • 2. Placement of shapes

      1:53
    • 3. Arrangement of shapes

      2:29
    • 4. Let's start with movement

      2:55
    • 5. Movement - Big and Small

      2:55
    • 6. Composition with stamps

      5:59
    • 7. Contrast

      1:30
    • 8. Framing the subject

      3:38
    • 9. Leading the eye

      2:42
    • 10. Bridge

      3:13
    • 11. People

      1:37
    • 12. More on composition

      4:28
    • 13. Stamping and more for composition

      6:25
    • 14. Conclusion

      0:44

About This Class

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Composition is essential for a good realistic or abstract paintings. The arrangement of the shapes on the canvas can make your painting a success.  While understanding composition is a challenge, there are easy ways to learn the basic so that you can have successful compositions.  Included are tips on composition that have been tried and proven successful.  Learn about different compositions and try them out yourself. This is a fun way to learn composition techniques that will help you create great paintings.  Exercises that you can try and a pdf that you can download to help your memory are included. 

Transcripts

1. Introduction: compositions simplified. Welcome to my easy tips that help you with composition by door. Sorry, I am a teacher. I have a degree in fine arts and a master's degree in visual art education. I love teaching art, and I want to share my love of art with you. All the information in this course is based on my personal experience and my teaching experience. I chose topics that I have been asked about over and over again. Composition. What is it? Composition is the way you arrange your shapes on your canvas or paper. It is also the way you choose colors, shapes, values and detail. Nature is not perfect, and sometimes you have to alter what you see. The topic doesn't matter. You nearly always have to alter something. Composition is also planning the planning of your baby. You're painting your drawing or sculpture any kind of artwork. The goal is to get your audience to look at your painting, your drawing, your sculpture, your artwork. Here. We're going to touch some techniques that draw your audience in that make your work stand out. You also want to get them so in love with your painting that they will want to keep looking at it a long time. You want to get your audience to say I love this painting? Here are some exercises that will help you with the composition Each sex uncovers new elements for you to experiment with. So join me and my course composition simplified. We're going to have a lot of fun. We're going to do a lot of exercises and touch different techniques that get your painting to be the best. You can make it tojoin me for composition simplifying. 2. Placement of shapes: creating groupings. By creating groupings, you will create not only a center of interest but something interesting in the grouping. Remember that the goal is keeping your viewer interested. Realistic are abstract. This does not matter. The principle is the same. If you look at the top laugh, you see that there two trees or two shapes together. And then one tree shapes separately with a different book with a different shape next to it . Below it is three different shapes, all interlinked and then a different shape next to it. Then you have two shapes with the different shape and then one alone. Then you have it reversed. Some do we have one alone and you have tude interlinked shapes with one different one. Now, how does that work? In a real painting you we have here you have three different shapes that air interlinked and then the tools, a different shape, something that is unusual in that is a different shape from the others. You have roundish shapes versus a square Here you have roundish shapes everywhere, but you have the main focus, which is the oranges who are together with the big shapes, and one is a little beer. You have three pairs, and then one is a little until these in the focal points. And that's basically how you arranged them together. Assignment. Pick one of the four arrangements. Create a painting that has tracked combination of shapes. If you have time trying them all, the more you practice, the better you get. See you in the next section. 3. Arrangement of shapes: Here's another idea. One part stands out in a grouping. Some groupings are all of the same object, like a bowl of fruit or oranges. So the question is, how do I make one stand out? There are a number of ways you could have one with the stamp and the leaf, while the others air bear. You could wrap one in cloth. You could have one bigger or smaller than the others. There are a lot of options, so here you have an arrangement of shapes. So how do you bake one stand out from the other on the left, you have what is known as a horizon line, and you make a darker in the on the bottom of that one bottom left you. We have a crooked line that has more space around it than the others. Then on the top, right, you have a crooked line that has more space at one spot than the other. It's spreads out from the others and then the bottom right. You have one that is mixed in with all the others, but it's different somehow. So how do you do this? Look at this painting. You. We have red all over, But there's one area that stands out at the top middle. It has a blue teal color that comes up and then that the top. It has a blue green, none of blue green, but a yellow green that comes down. So what we noticed most is that reddish spot in the top third. In this one, all the lines are converging, and then in one spot it breaks apart. So that's like a cloudburst. So you have lines of the bottom, even though they're a different color. And the ones at the top all kind of come together in one spot where they break apart or amalgamate one of the two piers. Ah, waterfall. But again, it's mostly an arrangement of shapes. You. We have a very small shape, which is the waterfall, and it's lighter in color, surrounded by two larger shapes, the one on the right. It's smaller than the one on the left, but they're darker. Then the waterfall, which is very light. So that's another way of creating emphasis. Here's your assignment. Pick one of the compositional formats and try it out. You can work realistically or abstract. Lee. It's your choice again. If you have time trying them all, the more you practice the better. See you in the next section 4. Let's start with movement : Welcome back. Let's start with movement this time movingly or I around. The painting is one of the steps in planning your painting. There are many ways of doing this. The best advice here is to arrange your shapes carefully and move them around until they really work. Start with a value sketch that works really well. Now we're going through the movement category, so notice that the shapes are moving and then a little away from the larger shapes is a smaller shape. The shapes can surround the subject area on three sides, like in the top left in the middle. You see that your focal point is a little bit of ways from shapes that lead your eye towards it on the right hop. You see that the focal point is surrounded by other shapes on the bottom left. You have a whole bunch of shapes at an angle, and then your focal point is a little ways away. But in the middle one, these shapes almost surrounded. What happens is it creates a past for your focal point and then on the bottom, right? All the shape seem to be top heavy here, and then your little focal point drops away. That could be anything that could be a drop of water, maybe a leaf falling from a tree. It could be a lot of different things, So here you have a shape that has on the bottom rate. It's very heavy, and then the main shape is leaping away from it. So this painting is called jump, and so your focal point is the shape leading away from it, and it's surrounded by shapes that support it here, the focal point being the center trees with the red, all the shapes around it, and then your focal point is in the center of it. Here, this movement, the shapes all move around on the curves, so the curves all move around the face, and that's the focal point in this one. The focal point is the face with the beginning of the violin and all the small designs and other shapes lead your eye towards it. Here. For this dancer, it's the dancer. That's the focal point, and all the shapes kind of lead to the head and the arms showing the dance movement. Here's your assignment. Pick one of the compositional formats and create a painting or drawing etcetera from it. You can work realistically or abstract Lee. If you have time, try them all. The more you practice, the better you'll get. So do this now and we'll see you in the next section. 5. Movement - Big and Small: movement continued big and small. Here are more ways to move your eye around a painting and helping your focal point stand out. Keep in mind that there are many ways of creating these compositions and you're on Lee. Limitation is your imagination, so that's pretty limitless. Do a sketch first. That's your biggest help of all. Here are some examples on your top left. You have a very large area that covers more than half of your surface and a small piece breaking away in the middle. You have a large dark at the top, and then there's a second piece that more or less moves away on the top, right. You have almost like a bridge, so you have two large pieces that are attached or leading the eye to think that they're attached. And then a small piece that breaks away notice how all the large shapes are there. The bottom left is a large area of darks. This time it only covers 1/3 off the whole area and then a small piece breaking away in the middle. Something similar but a different kind of shape, with a piece of the dark area breaking away with the focal point. And then you have irregular shapes on the right really large irregular shapes and then a piece of the dark, irregular shape, along with the focal point. So these air all ideas that you can work with and create more movement. Here's an idea that similar, You have a very large textured surface and then, in one area, like a window shape where you have something different. Your focal point here Do we have the tops of domes of churches and then the moon, which is your focal point. Here's a large building with a window that you focused on so that window is a different color. That's the focal point, but within that window there's colors that are from the background as well, so that lends at the end, so parts of the background are in the focal point. Here's a large area, mostly coming from the bottom, a large area from the top and then in the middle. You have smaller shapes, so these air always you can create movement. Here's your assignment. Pick one of the compositional formats and create a painting or drawing etcetera, just like the other ones. You can work realistically or abstract Lee. If you have time, try them all. The more you practice, the better you'll get. We'll see you in the next section. 6. Composition with stamps: stamping to learn about composition by Doris I. You were going to use stamps. You can use stamps that you bought stamps that you made. It doesn't matter. The whole idea is to use just a stamp and practice your composition. This is a great way to practice and gives you ideas as well. So Step one is painting your stamp. I prefer painting my stamp rather than dipping it in paint because I don't end up with blobs of paint or drops. Here and there I have a nice, even coating on stamp, and then I can just use it like I want to so just painted carefully. Often I use different colors on the same stamp, but in this case I'm going to use just one color for this. Exercise yourself. When you're doing this, you can use more than one color. That's not a problem. Just keep adding color and put whatever color you like on there. So for this exercise, we're going to step in just about every area, and then we're going to leave one area a little bit more bear, and we're going to add a second element. So you're going have an all over pattern. Similar stamp everywhere. If you're doing a painting, would be a similar design everywhere and then one that is different. So that's one composition, and we're going to see more so something similar everywhere and then one that is different . Let's see the next composition. You know this composition. We're going to use the same stamp. I'm going to say, Well, what I have done. You speed up the camera so that you can see the stamping a little faster and you don't have to wait again. What you want to do is stop just about everywhere except one area. You won't leave it a little later in one, so I'm trying to create an all over pattern, and then I change up a color. I add a different color, so you're going to have all over in similar color, and then one that's different isn't that wonderful. It's a beautiful composition. It's a great way to create another design. Here's another one. So you're going to take a piece of paper and you can choose whatever shape you like. Here. I have chosen a square just because and I'm going to put it there and then I'll stamp all over everything. And whenever the square ISS, it's going to act as, Ah, buffer and we'll leave that area. Wait, so just stamp it up as much as you want absolutely everywhere, Just like that at home. You can use different colors if you want. I'm just using one color for this exercise. Normally, I often use other colors, and here's the square. The edges aren't quite visible, so I'm going to stamp one more time just like that. And then we'll see the edges. Burger she That's a great composition. So all over pattern and one area that is different with no pattern in this composition, you're going to use a leaf from your house clan. The idea is for you to create an all over pattern with the same shape. You don't work that shape to be the same, like the saying heavy purple. You want some light areas. You want some dark areas, but you want that same shape all over. What we're going to do after the pattern is created is add a smaller shape. If you wanted to, you could add a bigger shape. If I had a bigger leave from this plant I could add a bigger pattern, but I don't. This is the biggest leaf this plant has. So I'm going to create a pattern with belief over and leave one area that's a little more bear, and there I'm going to add a smaller me. Now we're going to add the smaller and we wouldn't print very well, so we'll just grab it again. So this is what you want. You want to create that all over pattern, where the sizes are the same, and then one area where it's smaller flu. It creates something different. So have fun with this one. We'll see you in the next composition. This composition uses the bottom of old people, and you just feel it in you just stamp and I I feel it in like that and you want to create on all over pattern. So I'm just going to stamp off quite a few places and try and have a balanced design. And then I feel in just about every circle with that design with my brush, and then I'm going to leave one area that is different, so it's empty, so I haven't all over design with the same one and then one that is different 7. Contrast: contrast, creating contrast is key to creating a good composition. The highest area of contrast is often where the focal point ins you need to add to your repertoire. You need to create drama. I loved and still love blended colors that gently flow from one to the other. I used to create whole paintings based on this love off those blended colors, but in the end they looked washed out without focus and just plain boring. And then I discovered drama. So here is drama. You have a high contrast area. The 22 is white. The figure is dark. Here you have another high contrast area, the dark, dark rocks against Ah, a dark tree, and then the light is shining on it all. Here you have a sunrise, so the sky's dark, the land is dark, and then the middle is a focal point. Here you have a sunrise again, the sun is rising, and it's shining on part of the land just the way it does when the light first comes onto the land. So here's your assignment. Create a high contrast painting doesn't have lots of drama. Remember, catch someone's attention. That's your goal. Do this now and we'll see you in the next section 8. Framing the subject: welcome back, framing your center of interest. Basically, this is probably one of the easiest compositional exercises there is. Basically, you have large shapes around the focal point, or many shapes intertwined around the focal point. Make a sketch first. That's my best advice, and I'll be saying it often. Here at the top left, you have the focal point that they're surrounded on three sides by different shapes, and they're all intertwined in the middle. You have similar but larger shapes again surrounded on three sides. Here on the top, right, you have the focal point surrounded on two sides, creating a channel for the focal point to move on the bottom left, you have something similar to the top left. It's surrounded on three sides by shapes. These shapes are more linear than, and the top ones are more curvilinear again in the middle bottom one, you have shapes that are surrounding the focal point on three sides. You have a strong shape at the bottom and lighter shapes at the top and then on the bottom , right. You. We have all the shapes at the top and then your focal point nearer to the bottom. So let's say, if we can find examples off this here you have your focal point that is surrounded basically on three sides. There's just a small channel at the top where I can come in to the face. So basically the shapes surround the focal point. Here. The focal point is surrounded on all starts except one little channel of the bottom that leads your eye towards the focal point. Here. The focal point is surrounded on 3.5 sides because their lines leading to the focal point on three sides and a little bit on one side. Here, your focal point is basically the eyes of the in the face of the cow, and it's surrounded from the top and a large shape on the left in the large shape on the right. So it's it's around. This tiny birds is surrounded by a strong shape at the bottom that holds it up and then lighter areas on the top. This figure is basically surrounded by dark shapes at the bottom, because the focal point is very much the hat, and then the light areas lead towards the face. Here it's a little more subtle, so there are different curvy areas and rectangular areas and the all surround the figure and the eyes brought in from the top left towards the figure. Here, the figure is surrounded on two sides, surrounded by light areas on the left and darker areas on the right. Here's your assignment again. Pick one of the compositional formats and create a painting or a drawing. You can work realistically or abstractly. If you have time, Try them all just like I said before the morning practice, the better you'll get. You congest work any style you like and even experiment. If you've never tried abstract try at this time, See Hucles do this now and we'll see you in the next section. 9. Leading the eye: welcome back, leading the eye to the right place. You are the artists. You get to change the scene or shapes around to suit you remember and keep that in mind. One artist that I went to listen to at a famous gallery said something that I will forever remember. She was a landscape painter, she said. God did not do a good job of arranging thes shapes, so I had to help him. Everyone thought that was funny, but it did bring the point home about how the artist needs to move shapes around, sometimes to make things work. So keeping that in mind, we're going to look at different ways. You can lead the eye around to the focal point. Angles can lead the eye around. Remember that leading the eye to the focal point is the goal. Here, the different angles. You have an angle coming in from the laughed leading to the focal point. You have one from the bottom leading to the focal point. You have one that starts at the top, goes to the focal point and leads out again, or it starts at the bottom and leads to the focal point. And then out again. You have two lines that lead to the focal point from the boy. You have two lines that lead to the focal point. From the top you have one line that leads to the focal point from the left. Now, this looks confusing in the beginning. Or at least I thought so s so. Here are some examples. So here you have a landscape, a landscape where the lines lead to the focal point again. Similar thing lines that lead to a focal point. The focal point in this case being some of the trees. The lines are more or less angular and they lead the eye towards the focal point. Here you have a more abstract piece where the lines lead to a focal point, which is a figure. All the lines lead to the main figure here. All the lines lead to the horizon line, where the trees are so the line's some are horizontal, but they all lead up. The horizontal ones lead to the main line that leads up to the horizon line. So here's your asylum. Pick one of the compositional formats and create a painting or drawing. You can work realistically or abstract Lee. If you have time, try them all. The more you practice, the better you'll get. So have fun with this and we'll see you in the next section. 10. Bridge: Welcome Back. Bridge Bridge is one of the more challenging compositional formats, but once you start, you realize that it is very exciting to work with. Essentially, you are creating two large shapes that are linked by a smaller shape. Practice with a sketch. Look in nature for ideas. There are a lot more out there than you think. Here's an example. So here's a brooch, a very large shape, a medium shape and then a smaller shape that links the two in the middle top. You have a large shape on the right, a large shape of the bottom laughed and three smaller shapes that length, um on the top right. You have large linear shapes that crossed the canvas, and then this small, tiny shape that links one with the other in the bottom left. You have a very heavy bottom shape and then two shapes that reach out from each side and then the little one that links the two in the middle. You have an irregular shape, and then at the bottom right, you have another irregular shape, and then small shapes that link the two. You can also have scattered shapes that link so on the bottom right here you have one large shapes and a bunch of little shapes that are scattered but link each other to create a bridge. Here are some examples. So here's a figure, and then you have Louis shapes that crossed the canvas at an angle, so almost little rectangular shapes that go across and bring our eye towards the figure. Here you have to heavy shapes on each side and then other shapes in the middle, and they are bridged by long, skinny linear shapes. Here you have a row of trees, so the trees all create a bridge, and in the middle there's a lighter area, which is the break up of the large spaces on the right and the laugh to create a bridge. Here you have a bridge between the top and the bottom, so you have, ah, large, heavy shape of darker green at the top, large blue shape at the bottom and then in the middle. You have other shapes, lighter areas that create a link between the two. Here you will have big red at the top, big dark at the bottom and the lighter areas with smaller, different shapes in the middle that link the two together. Here's your assignment. Take at least two of the formats and create a painting that follows one of four months we looked at. You won't like all of compositional formats. This is something I probably didn't mention earlier. They'll be some you are drawn to and are easier for. You work with those. Don't force it, work with the ones that come easily to you. So do this now and we'll see you in the next section. 11. People: Welcome back. This time we're going to talk about people. People are always the focal point. If you have one person in the painting or dive, they will be the focal point. The same is true for animals. If you have one animal in the painting or a drawing, they will be the focal point. This is even more reason for you to be careful in the placement of people in your paintings . Having them there creates an automatic focal point. Here's some example. So you have a face here in an assortment of different blended areas. What do you see first? The eyes that's automatic in most paintings. Same thing here. There's a massive amount of lines there, but what do you see the most? The eye people are automatic focal points in this one. The eyes were closed, but then just having a person there creates that automatic focal point. There's an amalgamation of lines and textures, but just recognizing something in there that is a person creates your focal point. Even if the texture is all over and even on top of the eyes, the focal point is still the person. So here's your assignment. Create a painting with a person in it. You can work realistically or abstract li. See if you can hide that person in there. If you have time to try more than one, go ahead. The more you practice, the better you'll be. Have fun with this assignment and we'll see you in the next section. 12. More on composition: more on composition by Doris. We're actually going to test out different compositions here and just examine how composition actually works. So we'll start by painting small circles with my stick and creating an all over pattern. Well, this is one way to practice your compositions. You could just take us any drawing material and then dried out here. We're going to add on top of that all over composition, one larger shape. So this is one way to create a composition, small elements and then bigger shape. Here's another way to create a composition. This is called the grid Proposition, so I'm going to use squares. In this case, even if it's called grid composition, you can add circles, triangles. I'm going to have one square that sort of grayish in color so those lines maybe indicate a pattern or a gray. I'm going to add another rectangle here, and I'm going to keep adding wrecking so this texture will be different here. Remember that some textures caused the peace next to it to jump out and others cause it to recede. You really have to plan this part and play with it when you are adding to it, so this one will be just one playing color. So here I have a lot of variety in my squares at another color, maybe a different one. And within my large square uncle, other smaller square. Well, it's a little hard to draw with this stick, but I really do like it. It's more interesting when I'm actually doing regular drawing, so you have one small square against a larger white square and then textured ones or different colored ones in the background. So that's one type of composition. This is called a grid composition. Let's have a look at the next one here. We're going to pee till we're going to just add, like that just repeated shapes. So we're going to repeat the shapes and have an all over pattern. We're going to actually just keep adding that shape. And then how do you create something that's different? So that's the question. So here I add a different value, so I don't have a lighter area. I could have a darker area. There are lots of options. That's one way to create an interesting compositional here. It's even lighter, so it shows more, so that's a fun way to create a composition very easy to. Here's another way to create a composition again. We'll use a brush and just use Mark's. Make it faster and for you to get the right idea. We're just going to create an all over composition and just keep adding and leave one area that is a little more open this area, we add a different color. We add a complementary color, so you have a reddish color on the color wheel. On the opposite side, you have blue. So that's another way to create a focal point when you're doing composition. So you create something where the focus is a complementary color. Let's have a look at the next. For this last composition. We're going to just use a brush again and will make marks again, creating that all over pattern and just to make it quicker. When you're planning your painting, these air all ideas that you can look at you can choose complementary colors. You could choose different shapes, and this is just to give you an idea of all the different things you can do. When you're planning your painting, you want to create something where your focal point is outstanding. So here I have a lighter value. So I have to same shade, but a lighter value. So you could do that in your painting too. So have fun playing with ease and we'll see you in a thief. 13. Stamping and more for composition : stamping and more to learn about composition. These are fun exercise. Is there just a way of practising composition? There's all sorts of ways to do this. You can work on paper and then do a bigger painting. It's just a great way to practice and most of all have fun. So we're going to go straight to the video. So let's do that now. Damping to learn ABOUT Composition By Doris Sign You were going to your stamps. You can use stamps that you bought stamps that you made. It doesn't matter. The whole idea is to use just a stamp and practice your composition. This is a great way to practice and gives you ideas as well. So Step one is painting your stamp. I prefer painting my Stan rather than dipping it in paint because I don't end up with blobs of paint or drops Here and there. I have a nice, even coating on stamp, and then I can just use it like I want to, so it just paint it carefully. Often, I use different colors on the same stamp, but in this case I'm going to use just one color for this. Exercise yourself when you're doing this, you can use more than one color. That's not a problem. Just keep adding color and put whatever color you like on there. So for this exercise, we're going to step in just about every area, and then we're going to leave one area a little bit more bear, and we're going to add a second element. So you're going have an all over pattern. Similar stamp everywhere. If you're doing a painting, would be a similar design everywhere and then one that is different. So that's one composition, and we're going to see more. So something similar everywhere and then one that is different. Let's see the next composition in this composition, we're going to use the same stamp. I'm going to say, Well, what? I have done your speed up the camera so that you can see the stamping a little faster, and you don't have to wait again. What you want to do is stamp just about everywhere except one area. You won't leave it a little later in one, so I'm trying to create an all over pattern, and then I change up a color. I add a different color so you're going to have all over in similar color, and then one that's different isn't that wonderful. It's a beautiful composition. It's a great way to create another design. Here's another one. So you're going to take a piece of paper and you can choose whatever shape you like here. I've chosen a square just because and I'm going to put it there, and then I'll stamp all over everything. And whenever the square ISS, it's going to act as, Ah, buffer and we'll leave that area white. So just stamp it up as much as you want absolutely everywhere, Just like that at home. You can use different colors if you want. I'm just using one color for this exercise. Normally, I often use other colors, and here's the square. The edges aren't quite visible, so I'm going to stamp one more time just like that. And then we'll see the edges. Burger she That's a great composition. So all over pattern and one area that is different with no pattern in this composition, you're going to use a leaf from your house plan. The idea is for you to create an all over pattern with the same shape you don't want that shape to be the same. Like the saying heavy purple. You want some light areas. You want some dark areas, but you want that same shape all over. What we're going to do after the pattern is created is add a smaller ship. If you wanted to, you could add a bigger shape. If I had a bigger leave from this plant, I could add a bigger pattern, but I don't. This is the biggest leaf this plant have. So I'm going to create a pattern with belief over and leave one area that's a little more bear, and there I'm going to add a smaller me. Now we're going to add the smaller and we wouldn't print very well, so we'll just grab it again. So this is what you want. You want to create that all over pattern, where the sizes are the same, and then one area where it's smaller so it creates something different. So have fun with this one. We'll see you in the next composition. This composition uses the bottom of old people, and you just feel it in you just stamp. I I feel it in like that, and you want to create on all over pattern. So I'm just going to stamp of quite a few places and try and have a balanced design. And then I feel in just about every circle with that design with my brush, and then I'm going to leave one area that is different, so it's empty, so I have a no longer design with the same one and then one that is. 14. Conclusion: conclusion. Try out as many of the compositional formats is, you can pick out your favorites and work with them. You'll probably choose some compositions that work better for your style, and then you're going to use them over and over again. That's what you're supposed to do. This is where you will do your best work. Most of all. Have fun. Try out new compositional styles when you need a change. Look back at this course and start again at different times in my career, I have, like different compositional formats. You will, too. We'll see you in my next course. Textures and backgrounds. In the meantime, have fun. Bye for now.