Compose Yourself

    Over the years I have found that organizing my paints and my thoughts before starting to work is helpful.  Locating the paper, colors, brushes, and other tools I will need before I begin seems to quiet my self-chatter, calm my anxious heart, and focus my mind on the creative effort at hand.  Composing myself in this way seems to help jump-start my best ideas.  

     Composition is important in starting a painting too. Composition is the placement of lines, shapes, and colors in such a way that you direct the eye of the viewer.  By our increased or decreased emphasis in an area, we can invite the viewer to pause, to linger in areas we want to emphasis, or to hurry through to the next thing we want to be noticed.  By disrupting the expected route our eyes will take we can surprise and delight the viewer.  

     How do we create this emphasis?  Make something bigger, make it the brightest color, make it a different texture.  Different is the important word.  Our visual perception is made to notice the difference between shapes, lines, surfaces, textures and colors.  Our physical safety used to depend on it more than it does today, but it still helps us tell a radish from a rose, and a cat from a coyote. To compose or design a piece means you are organizing the information in it so the viewer sees it in the order you desire.  As the artist, you are the puppet master of this performance! 

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