Mitchell Albala – Through the Picture Window: 7 Essential Keys for Improving Your Composition (Online); Friday, August 9, 2024

Date: Friday, August 9, 2024
Time: 2:00-3:30PM Pacific Time/5:00-6:30 PM Eastern Time/10:00-11:30 PM London Time
Medium: All

Our first act of composition occurs when we impose a “picture window” around our subject. We look through our viewfinders or crop the subject on the computer — but what are we actually looking for when we do that? Is there more to it than “don’t put things in the center?” Are we relying strictly on instinct to tell the difference between “weak,” “better,” and “good” compositions? There are, in fact, several practical and easy-to-identify compositional considerations we can look for. The greater awareness we have of them, the greater control we have over our compositions, which in turn allows us to make more informed choices. Mitchell will present examples from his own compositional process, and then take a deep dive into each of these considerations, by developing several compositions through the picture window. Working with various source photos, Mitchell will demonstrate how each of these considerations can be used to make your compositions more interesting and dynamic:

  • variation of shape size (large vs small)
  • complex vs simple shape arrangements
  • balance between light and dark
  • placement of the horizon line
  • movement
  • picture format – horizontal, vertical, or square
  • “active” vs “inactive” negative space

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Mitchell Albala is an award-winning landscape painter, workshop instructor, and author. His semi-abstract and atmospheric landscapes have been exhibited nationally and are represented in corporate and private collections. He is the author of two best-selling books on landscape painting: Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice (Watson-Guptill, 2009), with over 60,000 copies in print; and The Landscape Painter’s Workbook: Essential Studies in Shape, Composition, and Color (Rockport Publishers, 2022), which is currently the #1 selling book on landscape in the nation. Mitchell leads plein air workshops in Italy and teaches workshops throughout the Pacific Northwest. He has lectured on Impressionism and landscape painting at the Seattle Art Museum and has written for International Artist and Artists & Illustrators magazines. Mitchell also hosts a popular painting blog, which is among’s “Top 100 Painting Blogs for Artists.”

About Our Technique Takeaways: 

  • Discover techniques you can ‘take away’  from some of your favorite artists and apply to your own work. This one-and-a-half hour presentation will showcase a process that the artist incorporates in their art practice.  Instruction will be through a combination of lecture and demonstration by the artists.
  • If you are unable to attend live over Zoom, you will have access to the recording for 60 days. Technique Takeaways are non-refundable.
  • Once you’ve signed up, you will receive the link to the class page where you will find the Zoom link, class recording and other important information for this class no later than the night before the class.  (Don’t forget to check your junk folder).
  • You can also access the class on our site on your Online Classrooms page.
  • To participate live, you will need a Zoom enabled computer OR iPad/smart tablet OR smart phone (android or IOS) and a strong internet connection.

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