Today is Father's Day... "Soaring" is a mixed media collage that I painted in 2009, 1 year after my father had passed. At that time I wrote:
My father passed away one year ago today on April 1st. It is said that a parent can give two important things in life to a child ...roots and the wings to fly. For my father............SOARING"

The original is in the collection of an art collector that I know appreciated the art as well as the motivating sentiment and to this day I remember all of the nuances of its structure.

I have asked my readers to send me their questions about my work and I thought that this example would answer one of those questions about composition.
Q: How do you avoid the natural tendency to divide a painting in half either vertically or horizontally?
A: The simple  answer is... I don't, I work with it.

I came across a sub heading  in a book "Design & Composition Secrets of Professional Artists" a North Light Book, 2001, that truly resonated and has guided my work.  
Artist Peter Folkes stated  "I take risks to find clever and exciting solutions." 

When I begin a work that is not from life but more conceptual, as "Soaring" was, I just let my  painting take  its own shape without premature judgement. It is in the initial setting down of the creative idea that I strive to convey an emotion. I will spot the compositional challenges as I work.

Problem: Here there is a very strong, deliberate vertical line that is emphasized by shape as well as color. I doubled down on this "error" when I placed the birds at the horizontal center line!

Solution : I followed Folkes design plan : find balance, use geometry, design with triangles, design with circles, combine opposites ...take risks!
If you were to place a tracing paper over this image ( I'm old school,lol... go ahead & use your computer programs) you could quickly discover the cross composition, the triangles, circles etc. Note the change of direction in the tilt of the birds wings, the textured rice papers that are applied that softened that cliffside edge, the exactness of size and location of the sun to create tension with the center line.
This is the way I think when I paint. This is what makes the act of painting a daily adventure.
 I enjoy sharing my thoughts and process. It is why I welcome your questions. So ask...I'll share.

  Next week's question: Why & how have I risked changing mediums over the years?


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