Putting It Together – Three Day Composition Workshop
April 19, 20 and 21 from 9:00am to 4:00pm
Facilitated by Terry Miller
Class Size: limited to 10
Email Lindamarymasten@gmail.com to express interest
Send a check payable to MacCenter (44 Gypsy Lane, Bennington, Vermont 05201)
Note: after March 1, 2024 deposit is non-refundable
If needed, there will be snow day make up classes.
“Even in front of nature, one must compose.”
That statement, attributed to Edgar Degas, supposes a basic grasp of and understanding of a
certain set of time-tested demonstrations of what a well-ordered, well-balanced composition
can be, is a necessary part of being an artist, even one of the reputations of Degas. The
difference between a nicely handled and technically proficient painting or drawing, and a nicely
handled, technically proficient, and remarkably well balanced, unique, and appealing fine work
of art, depends on how you – Put It Together.
Description of Course:
Instruction through lecture and visual presentation during the morning sessions will introduce students to the elements and key principles of good compositional design. Showing examples from Masters of the past as well as his own contemporary works, the instructor will show how relatively easy it can be, following some basic concepts and guidelines – such as the rule of thirds or the structures of the golden rectangle – to take much of the ‘guess work’ out of putting together an appealing composition.
After a lunch break, the afternoon sessions will be more hands-on, and students will have the opportunity to design and sketch out compositional ideas based upon those principles noted in the morning. Using their own reference materials, the activity and corresponding discussion will center on the various ways in which singular resource material can be used in more than one way to allow the student to look at their subject matter from different viewpoints. The instructor will also offer demonstration to highlight the key principles of good design using random student supplied resource materials.
Whether you are continuing to refine your abilities, which have developed over the course of a few years, or a novice just starting out, the importance of knowing how to develop a good composition is essential to enhancing the results of your technical skills within your chosen medium.
Morning Illustrated Lecture and Background Materials:
Bring note-taking materials, as there will be much presented that you will make use of during the Hands-on activities of putting together your own compositions.
Afternoon Hands-on Composition Activities Materials:
Plan to bring in a good body of reference material that you will be working from. Your reference should consist of photos, original sketched out ideas, digital images, whatever you usually work from. Your reference material should encompass a wide variety of subject matter – try to be as unspecific as you can when selecting reference, avoid only using reference that is pretty much based on similar themes; the more diverse your reference, the more challenging the activities will be and the more you will learn.
Source material should encompass reference that might be considered as ‘background’ possibilities (or the stage settings in which your ideas for compositions will play out); ‘main characters’, which can refer to animate or inanimate subject matter that may become your dominant focus within your compositions; ‘featured characters’, which should be considered as secondary subjects which will add much to the story that your composition will attempt to put across. Any additional sorts of reference you will wish to work with is up to you but try and consider the above three categories as your main sources for composition preparation. Sketch book or individual sheets of paper to work your ideas on, is essential.
If you have existing sketched out ideas, along with the reference source material you worked up those sketches from and are having problems in working out a compositional idea that you are happy with, bring them along as well. We will endeavor to resolve any issues with the goal being that you leave at the end of the day on Sunday with compositions and initial ideas that you may ultimately work up into finished works of art.
Brief Bio of Terry Miller:
Terry Miller’s professional career as a fine artist began in 1990 after ten years of teaching in Special Education and before that, a dozen years working in architectural design in New York City. During the years prior to his turning professional, he worked at honing the skills he was
born with as well as those refined in art school by working in “off hours”; on drawings based upon many travels throughout the world and the North American continent with a focus on the natural world and the animals that reside within it.
Working exclusively in various grades of graphite, he continues to portray his firsthand experiences in the field through delicate line work and strong textural contrasts that predominate in his chosen black and white medium. Over the last several years, his works have been spotlighted and included in North Light Books’; ongoing series, Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing. During the summer of 2008, the Woodson Art Museum in central Wisconsin honored Terry with a solo exhibition, Unknown Bridges, which included almost forty of his
works based upon the more abstract nature of bridges and their structure juxtaposed with subjects from the animal world. The Woodson also honored Terry by naming him their Master Wildlife Artist for 2013.
His drawings are included in corporate and institutional collections across the country and can be seen at McBride Gallery in Annapolis, Maryland and on the eastern shore of Maryland at Troika Gallery.
Places to Stay in Bennington:
Knotty Pine, Hampton Inn, Best Western and Paradise Inn