Painting Tips and Tricks: Creating an Original Composition

Painting Tips and Tricks: Creating an Original Composition

How do we create an original Composition Concept for a New Painting, you ask?

When your mind is a blank and you’re looking at stark white canvas, sometimes it’s hard to come up with an ORIGINAL COMPOSITION idea for a painting. In fact, it can be downright intimidating and scary!

So, let’s use the idea of creating an original composition for a fall landscape as an example while thinking through this process.

Here is a suggestion of how you might go about getting over the hump. This is a method I use all the time. It’s not the only method but it’s a goody!

First thing to remember is that “GOOGLE IMAGES” and “PINTEREST” are our FRIENDS!!!! 🙂
For instance, here are a few paintings I chose to help me create my own unique original composition of a Fall Landscape. Not COPY, just HELP!

original composition for creating a paintingpainitng an original composition at I Paint Today ways to create an original composition in your painting Chelmsford Ma at I Paint Today
So, we know we don’t want to copy. That’s plagiarism. Not only is that a big NO NO but it’s also not as much fun. Remember, there’s a difference between taking a class, following the instructor and creating a new and fresh original composition for your new painting.

While taking a class, there is nothing wrong with creating the same painting as your instructor. It’s not going to come out exactly the same anyway so this will be unique as well. But, for our purposes here, we are creating our own ORIGINAL COMPOSITION for our painting. We are each original and special people in our own right and we want our own personalities to come across in our paintings.

 So how do we use other images of paintings to help us come up with our own idea, our own original composition, you ask?

How is using images that belong to someone else not copying someone else? Isn’t this plagiarism, you ask? I know, these questions are just burning inside you, right? LOL Well, these are good valid questions with an easy answer.

The answer: We use concepts from a variety of images and combine them to create our own unique piece of artwork.

 Here is one way of creating a unique and original composition for your painting

First we need to select a few paintings that are on a similar topic from Google, Pinterest, magazines, calendars, Instagram etc… Any place where you can find images. Maybe you went out and took a bunch of pictures while you were on vacation. Hmmm look through your own photographs and/or previous paintings! You don’t always have to be looking at someone else’s artwork.

However, for our purposes, we are going to use these 3 paintings I saved in a folder from Google Images.

 Once we have our reference photos, we need to decide which aspects to use from our images.

This is what I’ve done here.

I actually took a quick poll from people that follow me on I Paint Today’s Facebook Page . These people not only picked their favorite painting but they gave me comments on what they liked about the painting they chose. Maybe you can ask your friends and family. Maybe you want to use only your own opinions. All are valid ways to do this.
How to create an original composition in a new painting in merrimack valley MA

Now, in my case, the poll I took on Facebook, the painting that won was the 1st painting on the left. This painting gives us the overall look and feeling we want in our new unique painting. In this case, it gives us the peacefulness of a quiet morning in autumn using the mist effect. It also gives us a feeling of depth using a road or path going off in a distance. Now we know, these two aspects, we keep!

In the 2nd painting, the one in the middle, many people loved the color contrast. They loved the bright vibrant colors. So, we’ll keep that but put it in the foreground in order to add to the overall effect of depth perception. Yeah baby!

original composition for creating a painting in Chelmsford MA

The Drawing Step

Through the 3rd painting, the one on the right, I found out many people love birch trees. Until I did my poll, I didn’t realize how many people really love this particular type of tree. So, we’re just going to have to put some birch trees in the painting as well. Yeah us! We’re on a roll now!

Now, to consolidate our thoughts, we do a quick sketch. This is not a completed drawing. It’s just a 5-10 minute sketch to give us an idea of a new layout. We’re still not committed but our ideas are starting to solidify into a visual concept. Get the idea?

We are now off to a running start and ready to tackle color and the canvas.


Stay tuned in for an upcoming blog. We will will continue this study by covering the beginning stages of applying color to the canvas. We’ll get rid of the scary white! 🙂

We also learn these concepts up close and personal in our Social Painting Party Classes, our Acrylic Painting Courses and our Oil Painting Courses:
Oil Painting Courses
Kids Acrylic Landscape Painting Course
Adult Introduction to Acrylics
I Paint Today Calendar

Related Blogs:
Painting Tips and Tricks – Painting a Palm Tree
Acrylic Landscape Painting Course for Adults Nov 2015

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