It is a wonderful feeling to be able to render a successful drawing and painting of a subject in front of you, but it is much more satisfying to arrange elements within a picture plane that creates an underlying harmony. The design of a piece of art goes past the object that you want to draw or paint; there is a visual balance of that object, how its positive shape interplays with the negative shapes around it. Using a repeating line, either a physical line or a perceived line creates repetition within your piece to provide a sense of movement. You are basically creating a piece of art with so much more substance than merely copying a subject onto a piece of paper or canvas.
“While intuition and feeling are, of course, a major defining element for an artist, they alone are not enough to consistently achieve a mastery of composition that rivals that of nature. Intuition and feeling without the knowledge and judgment of design principles are a liability in art - for without the knowledge and the know-how of design principles, the composition can easily appear chaotic and disjointed..”
~Juliette Aristides, "Classical Drawing Atelier"
“The word design conveys the finer and truer idea of an original guiding thought, a principle of unity, out of which the parts and details of a picture are developed by a natural and organic growth. You compose a pudding or a black draught - you design a work of art.”
~Kenyon Cox, “The Classic Point of View: Six Lectures on Painting.”
I continue to study design and composition, analyzing masters’ work to help my work and my students’ work become stronger.