Composing For Different Shapes

I’ve always done small paintings, both outside and inside and then rework the compositions in the studio to come up with a variety of possibilities.  We had a similar exercise in art school where we picked a subject or story line then using outdoor sketches, drawings and photographs come up with 10 different thumbnail compositions.  After deciding on one, I complete three different color studies to come up with different color schemes.  The next step is a detailed charcoal value drawing and then the final painting.  This process helps me to see studio painting as a process with a purpose behind each step.   It also develops discipline in planning, forces the meto think more about composition rather than what is presented in a photograph or plein air sketch, and it helps me to think outside the box with color.

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