Till Death Do Us Part © Karen Appleton, reproduced by permission
What's composition all about, ultimately? For painter Karen Appleton, it's finding ways of making the painting irresistible – pulling the viewer right into it.
"I always want to make the strongest abstract visual statement, but before I start thinking about composition, I am already in love with the idea for the painting. The foundation of a painting for me is always an idea or feeling, and once I know this, all composition decisions are based on what will best describe what I want to say in the painting. How and where I crop an image or don't crop an image; how and where lights falls; how shadows are cast; what direction shapes are going – all these things help me express the underlying idea."
Dandelion © Karen Appleton, reproduced by permission
"One basic approach to composition for me, though, is to keep in mind the Alfred Sisley quote I have on my blog, which is, 'Every painting shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love.' I always looks for that one area on my model or set-up that just makes my heart beat faster.
Joy to the World © Karen Appleton, reproduced by permission
"With that spot or area in mind, I organize the image on the canvas so the spot will land on or near one of the golden sections of the canvas. Then I check to make sure diagonals from the folds of wrapping paper, corkscrews of ribbons, cast shadows, etc., are leading the eye around and to that area. For me, this spot is always a key area in describing the feeling or idea behind the painting as well.
detail, Joy to the World © Karen Appleton, reproduced by permission
"Ultimately my goal with composition is simple – do everything I can to reach out and pull the viewer into the painting. I want the painting to just be irresistible."