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Constructing composition


Last week when I was walking in the woods with a neighbor and our dogs, I mentioned that I had been awake part of the night planning the exercise I was going to use in my painting class that morning. She wondered what it would be like to be “creative”. I, on the other hand, cannot imagine life otherwise, but just said it’s a twenty-four hour, non-stop way of being; it just is. Keeps me wondering how to approach all kinds of things. In this case, it’s the importance of composition in abstract painting.

A student once asked me what makes a good abstract painting. I had to think about it over the week, then came to the understanding it is how the work is organized, the composition. So I have been teaching a six week workshop on composition and will teach the same material, more or less again in Annapolis Royal in October. This current group is my set of guinea pigs. They actually are enjoying my experiments.

The project I worked with in the class last week revolved around using line to begin and or organize the work. Previously we had, among other things, used shapes. The challenge for me, as always, is how to communicate about a non-verbal process and awaken ideas in the students that they might not have had otherwise. Yes, creativity. It’s fascinating to me, developing ways to express ideas. Even on the way to the class I change the project, expand, revise it. In the end, the exercise was successful for everyone. And I slept well that night!


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