Composition & Ordinance

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Pieter Paul Rubens, The infanticide in Bethlehem

Composition is the basis of every drawing or painting: the mise en scene or the definition of the type of painting, as well as whether it is exciting or a boring image. Composition is a consciousness that can be learned as follows: the first block explains how to approach a given surface. The second deals with geometric elements that play a role. The third block explains how to apply dynamically-moving elements, the fourth deals with the use of tonal values and color, to end with the kinds of drama that can be evoked by all these means.
Attached to each part is a practical assignment intended to imprint the subject matter well. The executed assignment gives access to the next lesson.
In addition, a practice program is offered, in which a number of basic painting techniques in oil paint and acrylic, which go back to the 17th century, among others, are explained. Starting with exercises in tonal values, continuing in the second study mixing colors by applying transparent layers on top of each other (glaze) or by direct mixing (palette). The third block deals with the art of ‘death painting’ (the underpainting), the fourth with how to work this up to end with various themes and how they fit in with various painting techniques.


The course “Composition and ordonnance” is divided into 5 modules of 6 weeks each (or another  period in consultation)
During 5 weeks a weekly lesson with theory, an assignment and practical exercises will be sent. In the sixth week a reflection takes place in the form of a videoconference.
These are two programs in one: a theory program with practical assignments and a practical program about drawing techniques with exercises.
The assignments of the first program are discussed weekly.
The exercises if desired, but at the latest during the reflection in the sixth week of each module.

Theory program
Every week a different aspect is dealt with, in which at the same time an assignment is given. After receiving the comment on the submitted assignment, the next lesson can be opened.

Practical exercises
The practical exercises focus on materials and techniques.
In this course various aspects of drawing techniques are discussed.

Module I:
Theory: General principles
Practical exercises: Research and exercises in tonal values

1:         Limitations: on the relation of composition with a defined surface.
2:         Constructions: about geometric foundation, golden section, etc.
3:         Symmetry: about mirror-image composition
4:         Central compositions: in which forms are placed in the middle of the scene
5:         Eccentric compositions: in which shapes are just taken out of the middle.

Module II:
Theory: Geometric compositions
Practical exercises: Research and exercises in color mixing

6:        Composing with diagonals.
7:        Composing with half diagonals
8:        Composing with basic geometric shapes
9:        Composing with horizontals and verticals
10:      Blending types

Module III:
Theory: Dynamic compositions
Practical exercises: Research and exercises on old masters

11:      Composing with arches
12:      Composing with arabesques, loops and spirals
13:      Composing with clair-obscure
14:      Composing with shadows
15:      Composing with residual forms

Module IV:
Theory: Musical compositions
Practical exercises: Research and exercises in construction

16:      Composing with tones
17:      Composing with color tone
18:      Composing with rhythm
19:      Composing with atmospheres
20:      Composing with counterpoint

Module V:
Theory: Composition and forms of expression
Practical exercises: Research and exercises on theme

21:      The Apollonian composition
22:      The Dionysian composition
23:      The spherical composition
24:      The drama forms in composition
25:      The spatial composition

Exercise program
This program is complemented by a practical layered painting course, related to compositions, in which the submitted assignments are discussed on a weekly basis, but also with practical exercises, which can be sent to you at your own discretion and which are further discussed during the reflections after each 5 lessons.
The exercises also if desired, but no later than during the reflection in the sixth week of each module.

Free working periods
The study program is interrupted four times a year with a fourteen-day free work period, which coincides with the school vacations. In the summer there is a prolonged break, in which a fourteen-day international practice with a conference is also planned.

The assignments for the theory program are always sent within 4 days and are then commented weekly.
This is recommended for assignments in the training program, but margins can be maintained (e.g. to be able to use the time of the free work periods).
The practice assignments are the most important topic during the reflections at the end of each module.