Composition drawing

The word composition creates many insecurities in the novice painters mind. Not surprising though, when its definition “Composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject” leaves vagaries abound.

Composition is a multi faceted consideration for the artist. I like to describe composition as the composure of an art piece. It is difficult to understand someone who is experiencing an emotional drama, and expressing themselves with a torrent of reactions. So it is also difficult to appreciate a painting if the artist has not considered the way the viewers eye and mind will react to it.

The artist may intentionally create tension in a drawing using all expressive means but the composition must have composure if the viewer is to appreciate it.

There is a lot written on the way artists construct composition but I would suggest the following framework; Always have intention. For example, when drawing a life model, tutors will always talk about the need to consider the shape and size of the paper making the drawing fill the space well. This is sound advice as a learning tool, but the artist may wish to express solitude and abandon and make a small drawing to one side of the paper.

As we know rules are there to be broken. Even if you are not intentionally breaking a rule, it is important to make whatever you do an intentional act. It is the art of giving intention, however much it may break the rules, a purpose and clear outcome. This is the complete opposite of not knowing the rules and not knowing how to break them!!

Author: Robin Williams

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Williams studied fine art painting in the early 80s. He has been a professional artist since working both as a portrait artist and children's book illustrator. He considers himself an abstract surrealist, searching for a tension between the real world and the abstract world which invariably results in surrealism of some nature. His work attempts to capture a transient magic and not a static place in time.