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Composition is a part of the art of painting that none of us can afford to neglect — and yet we often do. Although our first instinct mag be to look at a subject and paint exactly what is there, what we must remember is that nature is not in the business of design; design is the artist's responsibility. We may need to move, select, and reject objects if we are to end up with a satisfactory painting.

Fortunately, there are certain rules and principles which haue been worked out for us. and that can help enormously when applied properly to the composition of a painting. This important process needs to be carried out before you take the paints out of their box. Although it's something we all attempt, it's virtually impossible to compose and paint at the same time.

One of the greatest artistic crimes we can commit is to bore our viewers. Good design will hold the attention. Remember, an artist is always an entertainer, just like a singer, actor or musician.

Idle Moments, Venice, 10 x 14" (25 x 36cm)

This is what I'd call a mood painting. In what is normally a bustling city, there is an air here of complete peace and quiet. As a composition it is well balanced, and the eye is taken into the picture along the canal. Entertainment is provided by the colors of the boats, while there is just enough detail to set off the simplicity with which the buildings have been indicated.

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