All images and text shown are copyright Dan D'Amico and may not be used for any purpose without his written permission.
Art Lessons - Composition
One of the challenges landscape artists face is creating a feeling of space on a flat, 2 dimensional surface.
This painting is a good example of how you can use lines and overlapping shapes to lead the viewer into the distance. 
The horizontal and gentle diagonal lines help to create a peaceful mood.

In this painting, my focal point is the foreground horses.  Instead of creating space that goes for miles into the distance, I used strong vertical lines of the aspen trees to focus the viewer on the foreground. 
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In this simple portrait, although there is no background going into the distance, I was still concerned with the space that Sammie occupied.  I needed to make her nose come forward of her eyes, and the eyes to come forward of the top of the head.  The placement of the eyes and nose within the picture plane helped to create a feeling of alertness and curiosity that is so much a part of Sammie's character.
In this painting I was interested in creating a depth of only about 50 feet.  By using the overlapping shapes of the apple trees, the deer are pushed back from the surface of the painting, and the viewer is drawn into the orchard.
In this painting I used the tumble of firewood and it's chaotic arrangement of diagonal lines and pointed shapes to express the frenetic energy of the chipmunk.