Often composition is equated to planning, as if you could compose first (i.e. plan out the painting) and then paint, or execute the plan. Some artists and teachers use the terms Design and Composition interchangeably,both meaning to plan. And this approach works for many artists, but not for me.
Take a look at my Technique Takeaway coming up, Composition as Process.
|Pink Shape, 9x12"|
This sense of composition may be analogous to a piece of music that is written out before it is played, a music composition. The way that I paint is more like an improvised solo - I make it up as I go along. But that does not mean that it not a composition.
|Stripe Collage #4, 11x14", "You can't make this stuff up"; well, yes, you can. What you can't do is plan a piece that ends up like this one. You have to find it in the process of making it.|
Throughout my process of painting, I am engaged in the act of composing. The visual elements and their relationships to one another change many times during the course of creating a painting. The composition is in constant flux until it isn’t. The composition of the finished painting (if it finishes, which not all my paintings do), is an unknown until it reveals itself through the process of composing.
|Sunshine Stripes, 11x14", Even a very structured composition goes through many changes in its evolution towards a finished piece. Sometimes people mistake structure for planning.|
|Rising by the Second, 20x20"|