|small woodland thumbnails|
- take the edges of the scene into consideration,
- to see how your subject "fits" within that rectangle, and
- whether it "balances" nicely.
and when you then come to paint at your easel, you will feel a greater sense of confidence - it makes a big difference, even without knowing very much about composition and design..it will automatically help you to trust your own judgement.
The top image above shows three thumbnails in a sketchbook which is approx 10" square. Two pencil ones, and one with added watercolour. In the end, I didn't like any of them very much, and didn't paint this subject at all! But I did enjoy sitting there doing them, and it is all good practice.
Now this one I really enjoyed. I started with the top window, and allowed the image to grow up, down and out from there. I knew more or less right from the start that I would paint within a tall rectangle, it was that kind of scene, so I just had to think carefully about the placement of the main elements when I started on my pastel paper. After about 15 mins spent on this watercolour sketch in my sketchbook, I cracked on with the painting, which happened quite quickly. the shadows moved a bit as I worked, but I had my sketch to refer to, so it didn't affect me too much, I stuck with the sketchbook shadows.