Thomas Cole, Clouds, 1838

Paintings That Break the Composition Rules

By Dan Scott / April 26, 2021 / 63 Comments

I curated a selection of paintings that break the typical composition rules, yet work. The idea is to demonstrate that composition is not a black and white area. The rules and theories exist for a reason in that they work most of the time. But they should be treated more so as guidelines or suggestions … Read more

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Secrets on the Lake, Study, On Location, Oil, 8x10 Inch, 700Web Medium

How to Simplify a Complex Scene

By Dan Scott / July 26, 2019 / 51 Comments

I recently spent a night at the beautiful Secrets on the Lake in Queensland, Australia with my partner, Chontele. We stayed in a secluded lodge, nestled amongst the dense rainforest. I used this trip as a chance to test out some of my new plein air painting equipment. But, despite the stunning nature which surrounded … Read more

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Dan Scott, Queenstown, High Contrast, 16x12 Inches, Oil, 2019 1200W Medium

How to Use Framing to Improve Your Compositions

By Dan Scott / June 24, 2019 / 17 Comments

Framing as a composition technique involves positioning shapes and other elements to “frame” and draw attention to certain areas in your painting. For example, you could position a tree or building to frame your focal point in the center. The idea behind framing as a composition technique is much the same as why we physically … Read more

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Giovanni Boldini, Girl With Black Cat, 1885 - 3 Notan

Notan – What It Is And How To Use It In Art

By Dan Scott / September 23, 2018 / 39 Comments

Notan is a Japanese term which literally means “light dark harmony”. Artists use “notan studies” to explore different arrangements of light and dark elements in a painting, without having the distraction of other elements like color, texture and finer details. In practice, this involves painting the darks with black and the lights with white (known … Read more

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What Are The Principles Of Art (Or The Principles Of Design)?

By Dan Scott / March 30, 2018 / 18 Comments

The principles of art (or the principles of design) are essentially a set of criteria which are used to explain how the visual elements are arranged in a work of art. These principles are possibly the closest thing we have to a set of objective criteria for analyzing and judging art. Art is a notoriously … Read more

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