Websters Dictonary describes the meaning of perspective as, “the act or process of composing specifically : arrangement into specific proportion or relation and especially into artistic form the painting’s unique composition.”

Basically what Websters is so profoundly trying to say, is that composition is simply the act of arranging elements around in your image, in order to make it the most pleasing to the viewers eye. I guess you could compare it to setting a dinner table for a lavish party.  What if you took all the silverware and just dumped it all on the table, in a chaotic mess.  Your guests wouldn’t really like that too much. It’s frustrating to look at, the same way your painting would be if you did the same with all the elements in your scene. 

For example, imagine you’re painting a path through the forest.  You could place the path in the center of the image, which a lot of beginnings will do.  This is ok, but the viewer eyes are going to follow the path through the image first.  By putting the path in a zig zag pattern, your eyes will sweep through the whole image, noticing all the other details,  making it more compelling and satisfying to the eye.

So why is composition important anyway? It’s important because it brings all the elements of your picture together.  Without proper composition, you’ll end up going in a direction that’s the complete opposite of what you were trying to achieve in the first place.

There’s some help with this in the way of the rules.  One being, the rule of thirds  The rule of thirds arranges the elements in your image using a grid placed over the image with 3 boxes placed horizontal and vertically.  You then place objects in the intersecting points between the boxes, this always works to make your art more natural and pleasing to the eye. If there’s no composition in an image, you can notice something doesn’t look right, but you can’t place what it is. (image of Rule of Thirds rule)

Composition is a big part of what makes a piece go in the direction you want. You always want to make the viewer feel something when they look at your art. Composition is what makes that happen, as it’s the way to bring all the elements and planning in your scene all together as a whole.

To give you an idea, look at different pieces of artwork and how the composition affects the mood. How does it make you feel?  Happy, sad, scared, inspired?  It’s what every great artist has up their sleeve, you spark emotion with your work, and you’ll have all kinds of fans! The best way to direct a viewers eye into your art is to set up a focal point.  Something that’s predominant in your image, maybe a strong light source, or vibrant color, maybe the pinnacle of a castle.

You could go about it, by placing more dominant details in one part of your image, and smaller details in the other.  This is a great way to lead the eye into your artwork. This gets the eyes moving in a direction you determine, a great way to get your viewers to notice all the other hard work you did making the rest of the image just as great.

There’s a lot you can do with one focal point, well you don’t have to stop there, you can create more then one.  It will definitely be more challenging to pull off, but would create more involvement for the viewer.  You’ll notice this from now on when looking at other works of art, it needs to be cemented in your bag of tricks, so you can take better control of your image.

For example, if you have one large object on one half of your painting, you might consider placing two smaller objects on the other side to maintain balance.  You can practice by creating large and small shapes on the canvas and playing around with balance and movement.  Just by playing around with these rules can produce some great setups, practicing the areas that you’re not strong with and in no time you will start to make motivating improvements at how well your skill level is coming along.

For example, you might want to mix small and large shapes in your painting or combine straight lines and curved lines, or cool and warm colors. A great way to create dynamic composition is to create a path for the viewers eye to travel around your picture with either elements or light or shadow, you can use many techniques to achieve this. Keep these rules in mind when setting up your composition, and you’ll be making amazing compositions in no time and it will be engraved in your mine forever.

This is the sense that everything in a piece “goes together” either through a unifying element like color, or lighting, or shape symmetry, you can make sure no object looks like it’s overwhelming your image.