Composition: The Arrangement of Contrasting Forms

Pilgrimage, watercolor, 15.5 x 11.5, 2013
Pilgrimage, watercolor, 15.5 x 11.5, 2013

The mission church of San Francisco de Asis, located in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico, is considered one of the finest examples of Spanish Franciscan architechure in the United States.  It is also one of the most painted and photographed buildings in the Southwest.  Since the beginning of the 20th century, hundreds of painters and photographers -- Georgia O'Keeffe, Andrew Dasburg, John Marin, Paul Strand, Laura Gilpin -- have come to Rancho de Taos to capture this arresting study of form, line, space, light, and shadow.  


In my rendering of this Southwest icon, I've incorporated a variety of forms and shapes -- the massive structure of the church, the abutting pueblo buildings in the distance, and the amorphous shapes of the pilgrim women in the foreground.  Composition is the sum total of many parts.  This one works because of the arrangement of contrasting shapes, forms and shadows.  

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