Enlarging to the point of Abstraction, A lesson in COMPOSITION


 Create an abstract piece of art by cropping in on a small area. Work in COLOR- prismacolor pencils, oil pastel, paint etc. on a full sheet of watercolor or drawing paper- 18” x 24” minimum.


1. Select a piece of your own artwork from which to create an abstract composition. 

2.    Use the viewfinders provided to select an area of your piece to enlarge. The area you select should create an interesting abstract composition. When you look through the viewfinder, concentrate on how you want the final picture to appear. Be sure to use the rule of thirds when selecting the area to enlarge:


If your original piece is small, you may need to create your own smaller viewfinder with graph paper and an exacto knife.   

3.  Be prepared to share the COMPLETED piece at the critique in two weeks, along with your original piece that you enlarged.

Essential Terms

Abstract:  The subject matter does not include any recognizable objects. 

Composition is simply the effective selection and arrangement of your subject matter within the picture area. Remember the rule of thirds and keep the principles of balance, movement, and unity/harmony in mind when selecting the area to enlarge.

Movement is used to create the look and feeling of action and to guide a viewer’s eye throughout a work of art or to a focal point.

Balance is the equilibrium of various elements within the work of art.  Arranging elements so that no one part overpowers, or seems heavier than any other part. Symmetrical/Formal Balance- equal balance on each side of an imaginary middle line. Asymmetrical/Informal Balance- balance achieved through unequal distribution on each side of and imaginary middle line. Radial Balance- occurs when elements in a work are positioned around a center point.

Emphasis is used to make one thing- a focal point, in a work stand out. It is given to a center of interest, which might be the largest, brightest, or lightest subject.

Unity is the arrangement of all the visual elements in a composition to create a feeling of completeness and wholeness.

Harmony is the blending of elements to create a more calm, restful appearance

“Remember, no matter how beautifully you paint an object, it remains a mere study until it is artfully incorporated into a composition. Occasionally I’ve seen students whose paint handling is crude, whose home values are unconvincing, and whose forms are badly proportioned, but who somehow manage to unify their paintings and end up with a stronger artistic statement than those with sophisticated skills yet no eye for the overall effect.” – Charles Sovek, Oil Painting, Develop your Natural Ability – (Watson-Guptill)

Evaluation and Critique:

•Does the design take on an abstract quality?

•Does the piece have an interesting composition?

•Does the piece have good craftsmanship?

 Click on any image below to view a gallery of my AP studio art student’s solutions:


Click on the link below to see some really amazing abstractions of fruits & veggies by an outstanding AP student:

This article features the bold fruit and vegetable drawings of Sucha Chantaprasopsuk, completed as part of her AP Studio Art Drawing qualification at Reavis High School, Burbank, Illinois, United States. The drawings were submitted for Sucha’s Concentration project (awarded full marks – 6/6) and were featured on the AP Central Collegeboard website, as a learning exemplar for others. – See more at: http://www.studentartguide.com/featured/ap-studio-art-drawing-fruit#sthash.3B9pRovG.dpuf

Phenomenal Fruit Drawings: AP Studio Art


Alfred Imageworks, Music © CraveSound, HyeSook Hwang