Composition Play: High Horizon on Vertical

high horizon sketch, vertical © 2011, Lynne Medsker

Some recent reading/browsing of art books, again, brought up the subject of composition. I generally go from my gut when I am creating/designing a piece…I think perhaps my years of seeing compositions through a lens helps me to just “feel” when something is in balance or where it needs help. But I thought it would perhaps help me to do some pre-designed artwork and see what sort of compositions appeal to me. Today’s post features a piece that I first sketched onto illustration board before painting.  I tried to be very “loose” with both the sketching and the painting process and, at least for this piece, felt like I succeeded. After I sketched the piece I marked off a border around the edges with some charcoal & smudged the areas outside of the border a bit before sealing the piece with some clear acrylic that had a rough texture for painting over. The area outside the border & the flat edges of the piece were also rubbed with wax. The wax seals the edges so that paint doesn’t get into the layers of the board & make it swell and, where it was applied around the border, it also repels some of the paint, giving it a faded/light appearance.

work in progress, first paint applied © 2011, Lynne Medsker

In an effort to keep my painting “loose” I used large brushes and big strokes to apply the washes of paint onto the illustration board. That was left to dry until the next day. I used a wide permanent marker to accent the border lines and painted the four corners black at the same time. It was “okay” but I felt like it needed something. I decided that I would paint over the original sketch marks with a line of black paint. Well, I didn’t exactly “paint” I used a small squeeze bottle with a fine tip on it. Closer!! I still wanted a little something else so out came a slightly less thick marker and I began to add small black circles that filled up and tumbled from different areas of the painting.

work in progress, adding details © 2011, Lynne Medsker

It was looking pretty good up close but from a distance it was hard to tell the small details had been added. I didn’t want to fill in all the circles but decided a compromise would be to put some paint dots in the center of the larger circles.

work in progress, more details © 2011, Lynne Medsker

That seemed to make the details stand out more and I happen to be a bit of a “dot” fanatic sometimes so I was doubly happy now. 🙂 The last step I added to this (and the other pieces made at the same time) was to accent the outside part of the border with a very thin line of paint where the composition crossed the line.

"escape" mixed media on illustration board, 10x20", $175 (unframed) © 2011, Lynne Medsker

I actually liked the way this piece turned out, all in all I think I am around 50% happy with the entire group, I guess that’s not bad for trying something outside my normal comfort zone!  I have more to share with you soon, next up?  Strata!

Until then,


2 thoughts on “Composition Play: High Horizon on Vertical

  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog! And I really like your finished piece in this post. I feel that the circles and dots add the extra dimension needed. Well, that’s what I think anyway. Thanks for sharing the whole process and the different stages, I love seeing how other artists work. ~Sara

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