Composition Seminar

In-person seminars suspended until further notice. See my shop for videos and webinars.

This seminar and workshop will help you use composition to evoke feeling through your work. I give a series of lectures on the few principles behind all artistic forms and how the great masters have used them to create masterpieces in varying styles. The sessions are creatively invigorating (read the comments!) so come prepared to learn.

This course meets for multiple in-person sessions. If you want to study with me online, go to the PRODUCTS menu.


Session 1:  The Role of Composition; Abstraction & Feeling; Metaphor; Consonance
Session 2:  Balance; Dominance; Light & Dark Massing; Contrast
Session 3:  Continuity; Rhythm & Pattern; Transition & Counterchange

One of the most baffling problems for students of creativity is how to make decisions while painting — whether to make something lighter or darker or bigger or smaller or brighter or duller. These are the problems of composition, problems that did not bother any of us when we were children — we composed instinctively. Great artists also compose instinctively, but not as children, rather as grown-ups who are able to get their vision into pictures with grown-up wisdom and skill.

This course is designed to open your eyes to how pictures are “little worlds” that reflect your tastes and sensibilities. I will teach you how the great masters of the past learned from nature, learned from other masters, and grew in their skills until they could turn their feelings into forms that emotionally move their viewers.

For those of you who took my Drawing from the Masters classes where we studied the paintings of great masters, this is the same material boiled down into a crash-course. This material can be a major mind-shift for some people. Be ready — you will learn.


Bring a sketchpad and a mechanical pencil or pen or some other non-messy point media. No charcoal or dusty media or anything that leaves shavings.


This is not a university curriculum course and you will not receive college credit for it.