Updated: Feb 19, 2019
In my opinion, 'composition' is the most important parameter in a painting. It is closely associated with its cousin parameter – the narrative, that is, the story going on in the painting. It is no secret that I’m a great admirer of Edward Hopper and Hopper was a giant where it comes to narrative and compositions.
Compositions could, on a first approximation, be described as the ‘placement of objects’ in the painting. Delving deeper into compositions, one can roam into the true scope of composition – that is setting up the tone of the story. Helmut Newton for example uses composition to its maximum, reinforcing the story for his photograph. The placement of light sources, shooting angles, and background objects are instinctively but critically selected by the artist in order to transform a mundane view into something beyond the ordinary.
If Hopper and Newton shout out at compositions, Ansel Adams whispers perfection in composition in the most silent of ways.
Most of the parameters in visual art are of technical nature – size, colour, drawing, tone, value etc. But composition is profoundly innate. It’s instinctive, quasi-spiritual and I would not know how to teach it or transmit it. I’m still learning and I’m nowhere near these giants that I’ve mentioned. The reason that I mentioned these stalwarts of composition is to expose my admiration to these people who were life-long champions of the subject.