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Creating Movement in Your Paintings Using Composition

Published on November 11, 2013 under All Posts
Creating Movement in Your Paintings Using Composition

 “Mount Shasta Dogwood Blossoms” by Stefan Baumann

Let’s talk about methods for creating movement in your paintings. I painted this composition of “Mount Shasta Dogwood Blossoms” outdoors from my deck. When I composed this painting, I wanted to create a circular movement with the effect of light on the blossoms as the central focal point.

When composing a painting, we are concerned with abstract shape as well as “eye magnets.” Eye magnets are subliminal lines that lead the viewer into the painting and to the focal point. In this painting, you can see that the abstract shape looks like a wreath with the larger flowers in front. As the viewer travels counter clockwise around the painting, the flowers get smaller, darker, with softer edges and less definition. Every brush stroke is placed to enhance this counter clockwise direction. This is done by using value and temperature as well as using hard and soft edges. Coming full circle, the viewer returns to the central focal point.

How you paint something is more important than what you paint. In this case, I had a wonderful subject, but if I had painted the blossoms as I saw them the painting would have been not quite as interesting.

The next time you begin a composition, remember to include both the abstract shapes and eye magnets that lead the viewer through your painting.


Plein air and Alla Prima artist Stefan Baumann, host of  the PBS painting series “The Grand View, America’s National Park through the eyes of an artist” and author of “Observations Of Art and Nature,” travels in his vintage travel trailer painting America’s western landscape. Baumann paints outdoors with oils and canvas capturing stunning vistas, wildlife, western landscapes, National Parks and still life, thrilling art collectors throughout the world.  He has many collectors acquiring his paintings as investment internationally. His painting style is called Romantic Realism with Lumunism and the extraordinary way he captures the effect of light is a truly an American Style used to paint the Western Landscape.  He can be seen painting in Yellowstone, Yosemite and in the Grand Canyon and Baumann’s “how to paint” DVDs filmed on location in the National Parks  are the very best on the market.


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