So getting back to my current artistic life...I am working on another dog portrait right now. This one is of two dogs laying out on their deck. They are very cute. Although the composition of the photo is rather uninteresting, I am trying to use light and color to improve the composition and draw the eye around the piece correctly.
I have been reading several books on composition lately and have especially enjoyed Ian Roberts' Mastering Composition. Although Roberts is an oil painter, his easy to understand text and visual examples have made me want to work to improve my compositions. One of the exercises he suggests is called "A Composition a Day." Each day you create a small 4" x 5" composition in pencil on paper. The objects you choose can be simple and easy to find around you. The point is to do it every day not as busywork but as a stretching exercise for the mind. I'm excited to try this when I get a free moment. In fact, as I'm also trying to improve my watercolor skills, I may just combine the two exercises into one. I'll let you know and post some of my compositional sketches here.