Home at last from a couple of weeks on the East Coast, mostly Boston, but one of my other favorite stops was the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. Thats where I taught Friday’s workshop on Collage and Composition. Almost all of the participants had been at the 11th International Encaustic Conference the previous weekend, so they knew their way around hot wax. But many of them had not worked much with collage, which surprised me.
We had a great time working with my “AB3” system of composition arrangement. I’ve included a cheat sheet about what that means at the bottom of this post.
When I submitted the proposal to Cherie Mittenthal, artist and director of the encaustic conference, I told her the title was “Composition Boot Camp and Kick-Butt Collage.” She liked the proposal but suggested I tame the name a bit. I did, but everybody still made awesome kick-butt collages, as you can see in the video, below.
The AB3 System gets you started by using Alignment, Breathing Room, and Thirds to plan your initial arrangement. Here’s what the Cheat Sheet says:
A=ALIGNMENT – The direction a picture, element, or shape “points” – the best alignment directs the viewer’s eye into engagement with the message or focus of the work.
B=BREATHING ROOM – Allow your elements to establish a dialogue with each other. Leave enough space that there is a contrast between “quiet” and “busy.”
3’s=THIRDS AND THREES – Use the nine-space grid that photographers use to establish good “bones” for your piece, and think in odds rather than evens.
One of my students, Mary, lived in Wellfleet, very close to the Arts Center. Bill and I told her that we had tried to find the Wellfleet Harbor and ended up on this weird one-lane road that took us to an even stranger dead-end island. Mary said that we had obviously gotten lost and ended up on isolated Lieutenant Island – check out the road through the marsh and the creaky wooden bridge we drove across. EEK!
Special thanks to Bill for all of the great photos that I used in the workshop video. Most of the time I take all of the photos myself while I’m teaching and I never get to see myself! And thanks to the super-nice kick-butt workshop participants.