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The Way To Happiness The philosophy of these lessons: Look, Learn, Practice

Chapter 17 of "The Way To Happiness" deals with Competence. I've found that too many limit their own progress as an artist with the concept that they "haven't got the talent." 90% of being a good professional artist is about looking for yourself, learning (including good study habits), and practicing what you have learned to become Competent. If you are interested in a free copy of "The Way to Happiness", please email me for one.

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Lesson 22

1. Thought

The Golden Section "The Golden Section is a ... proportion approximately equal to 0.618 to one. Celebrated since Greek times, it is the proportion of regular and continuous growth and is found in such shapes as the spiral of sea shells and animal horns." American Artist, July 92, p. 57

2. Words:

Composition n. [ME.; OFr.; L. Copositio, a putting together...] 1. a composing; putting together of a whole by the combination of parts. 2. the putting together of words; art of writing prose or poetry. 3. the creation of musical works. 4. the makeup of a thing; aggregate of ingredients and manner of their combination; constitution. 5. the which is composed. 6. a mixture of various ingredients. 7. a work of music, literature or art. 8. an exercise in writing done as schoolwork. 9. an arrangement of the parts of a work of art so as to form a unified, harmonious whole. 10. an agreement, settlement, often by compromise.

3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."

The Golden Section is one example of a "method" of composition. Some of the very structured paintings of the Italian Renaissance are characterized not only by very very careful attention to classic perspective but also to the golden mean. But basically, as you can see from the definition above, composition involves putting elements together so they "work" as a unified whole. Use systems, but don't get trapped into thinking they are the only ways to compose. As an exercise, look for something in your environment that seems easy to translate into a harmonious two-dimensional composition, keeping in mind that the eye of the viewer should want to move around the page and should not feel excluded from any part of the page. Draw or sketch it.

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Last updated: December 13, 2004