In serving our realm, we seek out limits and borders to categorize and define and reveal. We seek to compose images that will communicate our ideas to others. We become masters of the horizon (the horizontal) and aspire to reach unknown spatial heights (in the vertical). Composition is a choreography of the known and the unknown, the invisible and the visible, the beginning and ending frame of a moment of communication. Two-dimensional composition is the arrangement of parts in relationship to each other and to the whole, presented on a single plane. Overall, you have the power to control the bounds or edges of a composition and frame or define its planar limits. As an artist you control point of view, visual emphasis and balance in the placement of the individual parts. The center of a composition is the primary target but focus can be aimed anywhere in the two-dimensional frame.
Change your view. Compose yourself!
Activity 1 Make A Central Emphasis Composition
Embed your visual power in a piece of paper. Using a blank piece of paper, choose basic shapes (lines, circles, squares, triangles) or a topic like a season. Look at the Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass windows web link here. See how the panels were organized using lines, squares, rectangles, parallelograms, and sometimes circles. Try one of your own. Focus the emphasis in the middle of the paper. Use scale and contrast to shift attention away from the center to the edges of the paper.
Activity 2 Make A Quadrant Composition
Compose in four corners or quadrants at once! Think simultaneously. Think of parallel universes! Take your paper and fold it into quarters (first fold the paper in half and then in half again). Thinking about seasons, choose a tree that you know. Draw or photograph the tree. Draw the tree, the sky and the ground in a different season in each quadrant. You can make the tree smaller in three of the quadrants to emphasize one season.
Think in quarters! Emphasize the visual!
Activity 3 Make A Tripartite Composition
Compose in thirds, either vertically or horizontally. Next, look at the animated composition definitions. Brainstorm ideas about a season. Using line, color, texture and shapes, sketch ideas or forms, then cut and arrange them onto your page. Shift scale like in the animations to create depth using something in the foreground that is a different size than in the background.
Think in triplicate!
Activity 4 Analyze Composition in Art
Using Google Art Project together. Evaluate the artist's use of balance, contrast, movement and emphasis. In conclusion, write a paragraph about your interpretation. Be sure to credit the artist, record the name of the painting, and list the museum where the original is exhibited.
balance: harmony is created in a work of art when textures, colors, forms, or shapes are combined harmoniously. contrast: dynamic juxtaposition between two or more subjects, shapes, colors, forms, etc. movement: directed path of viewer's eye through a composition emphasis: definitive moment (or moments) in a painting that draws viewer in
A frame of a single image is the limits of its:
What three elements make up horizontal compositions?
The focus of the image should always be in the center.
Contrast is when images blur together.
Perspective in a composition cannot be exaggerated to emphasize depth of field.
- Design Principles of Composition
- Create a Picasso Head!!!
- Make a Collage
- Paint like Picasso
- Architectural Compositions
- Still Lifes
- Stained Glass Window: Frank Lloyd Wright
- FOOD compositions from IKEA
- Kennedy Center Formal Visual Analysis
- National Endowment for the Humanities Painting Composition
- Learning to See VIdeo
Back to Top
- Figure Ground
- Self Portrait
- Poster Design
- 2D Geometry
- Site Analysis
- Furniture Design
- Digital Modeling
- Trompe l'Oeil