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Composition: Arrangement of elements according to principles for a unified whole. 

  “Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the various   elements at the painter’s disposal for the expression of his feelings.”


                                                                                                     Henri Matisse (1908)


Elements of Design - tool box




Hue  - Value - Intensity

Warm - Cool - Bright-Intense - Neutral                           Compliments - Triad - Tertiary  - Analogous - Monochromatic


Straight - Curved

Calligraphy - Contour - Hatching


Organic - Geometric - Stylized - Naturalistic

Actual - Amorphous - Cubism - multiple views - Surrealism


Light - Midtone - Dark

High Key - Mid value range & higher - Low Key - Mid value range & lower - Highlight - Strong contrast


Smooth - Rough

Abstract - The appearance of texture - Actual - Collage, palette knife - Assemblage - Added actual textures



Positive and negative space creating a sense of depth


Principles of Design - organization

PROPORTION - Scale/Size relative to surroundings - small, mid, large in unequal proportions with one dominant

CONFLICT/CONTRAST - light, midtown, dark in unequal proportions with one dominant

DOMINANCE - One concept more important than others - you can have dominance in all categories

REPETITION/RHYTHM - Repeating same effect with variation - lyrical movement

BALANCE - Equilibrium - Gravity - a feeling comfort

HARMONY - Cohesive pleasing interaction - integration

GRADATION - visual change of intensity for interest - also creates movement

DIRECTION/MOVEMENT - - Horizontal, vertical, diagonal or oblique - curvilinear gives a sense of movement

UNITY - An overall feeling of oneness - a sense of wholeness



The Golden Mean or law of thirds -  Division of space into a pleasing composition with focal point well placed.

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