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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

Fee:  $450

To Register:

  1. Email to express interest

  2. 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

MACC Little Boy, Blue .JPEG
MACC It's All Uphill From Here Thought Jasper .JPEG
MACC Icebound .JPEG
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