Composition is one of those aspects of paint learning that will never be complete.  You can never sign off and say, "Well, I learned that now on to painting".  Composition possibilities are endless and fascinating. An art friend and I were talking composition a bit ago, specifically joking about JPI--jolts per inch.  In truth not a laughing matter.  In many schools of composition the punch of your composition or design takes precidence over everything else in the painting. Any of your favorite illustrations and movie stills have that NOTAN/JPI punch and drama.  The rest of the story is subordinate to that initial

I recently read someone's comments concerning Jeff Koon's enormous hyper-polished steel balloon dog sculptures.   It got me wondering how we can or should judge art. I saw Koon's gallery show in New York a while back with rooms of these brightyly reflective, highly chromatic balloon animal creations. Now I could have reacted in several ways. I could have gone in the gallery wanting, say, Rubens and then felt the dogs were a slap in the face. High art? Ha! No way. This is trivial nonsense on a large scale. Or conversely, I could go into the gallery, just curious, and found

Shown and sold at the 2005 Contemporary Realism Show, Center for Living Arts, Mobile, Alabama.  The use of wax medium (beeswax melted in turpentine) facilitates the more open treatment, allowing a watercolor like fluidity, while retaining the richness of oil.  It is good for a sketch feel while you are working.  This is my wife and favorite model for over a quarter of a century, the artist Jen Cart. sold to private collection

No mural of the Kennebec river history could be complete without reference to the trappers who explored the river and hills.  I had drawn out the composition and the pose for this main figure in this panel, but I didn't yet have a face I liked for him.  While at the courthouse working on the mural, this man, one of the building painters came by.  My wife Jen spotted him and said, "what about him?"  Perfect! He was a great model, getting right into the drama and quiet action of the scene.  Wonderful.  Thank you. From that point on many people