But actually composition is much like Value and Color. If you don't pay attention to them, they may appear intuitively but also randomly. However, once you begin to consciously utilize these, they become intuitive but instead of randomly, they appear in a sure manner. A little like riding a bike - at first you have to really work at keeping your balance but after a while - you don't have to think about it at all. And the more you work with these, the easier it becomes to place them automatically in your work.
I was at a watercolor workshop where the artist/juror excused himself, leaving the class painting on an assignment, to go over the works chosen for the group's yearly show. His intention was to assign the awards. The show had been juried and narrowed down to 35 works from over hundreds of entries.
So you might say that the artists had been very successful and most had been painting for many years.
When the artist returned, he gathered the workshop attendees together and immediately gave an impromptu lesson. "While every painting in the show is well done," he told us, "they almost all lack one thing - a knowledge of composition." He then proceeded to give the lesson on types of composition.
Composition has to do with leading the viewer's eye around the painting. We'll discuss this more in class. Many artist's choose one or two different types and use them in all their work. I think most often when someone looks at a painting, they don't say, "oh look, the artist used a 'c' structure or 'converging lines.' It's more like staying interested in the subject and finding the part that is most interesting to the artist. And there it is again - what do you want to tell your viewer?