Portland OR 2018 Art and Soul Workshops

Workshop Details

Jane Davies
9:00 - 4:30
Wednesday & Thursday Feb 14 & 15

P230 - Composition & Contrast - 2 Day

$ 295  


Composition in painting means the arrangement of elements and their relationships to one another within the frame of the piece. It is not about the interpretation of a painting, or its emotional content, or its references. It is simply the totality of its abstract visual content (whether it is an abstract painting or a representational one).

I find contrast to be the most useful overarching principle in composition. You can look at many aspects of a painting through the lens of how much or how little contrast you have, and greatly increase your understanding of composition.

We ALL lean towards unity, repetition, and cohesiveness. Yet, often, it is the variety, the off-balance, the tension or discord in a piece that makes it compelling. We do not necessarily see this; we see a piece that we "like" without noticing that it's the VARIETY, the differences, the contrasts that make it strong. This workshop is meant to bring you up against this tendency towards unity, and challenge you to expand towards variety.

Supply List to bring to class:
• Paper for substrate: hot press watercolor paper or smooth printmaking paper works best (I use Stonehenge printmaking paper) Cut to 8”x8” or 10”x10”, or similar, comfortable size. Bring enough for about 20 small compositions.
• Acrylic paints: bring artist grade acrylics, such as Golden, supplemented with student grade (Liquitex Basics, e.g.)
• 8 oz bottle of Blick Matte Acrylic White (see my Favorate Materials page)
• Brushes
• Soft rubber brayer, 2” – 3”
• Acrylic matte medium (Utrecht brand) or soft gel (any other brand)
• Acrylic glazing medium (for diluting your paints and keeping them wet longer)
• Collage papers (your own painted papers as well as others; think pattern and color, not image)
• Scissors
• Disposable palette (pad of paper style)
• Drawing materials, such as pens, markers, pencils, crayons (Caran d’Aches NeoColor II are good), etc.
• Stamps and stencils (optional)
• Large roll of soft paper towels
• Spray bottle for water
• Container for water (think quart yoghurt container)
• Small make-up sponges for applying paint
• Any other bells and whistles you care to bring

For recommendations on specific materials, please go to my web site:

$5 fee paid to instructor at beginning of class includes:
• Reams of 9”x12” cheap drawing paper for making collage papers and for other applications
• Some drawing materials to share
• Pearls of wisdom and pearls of stupidity