Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne
This is a well-loved book. It is a great a compilation of different compositional designs and as it relates to the landscape. However all of the concepts can be applied to still life and portraiture. I have read through the book multiple times. I have annotated much of the book and still find myself pulling the book out to re-read a passage or two when I am contemplating a compositional challenge.
The book has a lot of text, with a lot of thoughtful ideas, however what makes this books such an invaluable guide on composition, are the black and white diagrams of successful compositions.
Many of these thumbnail diagrams are analysis of famous paintings by some of the most successful landscape artists.
And then in the later part of the book, are color studies and painting examples by Edgar Payne. It is great to see how he explored color as a compositional aspect as much as he did the more structural underpinning of landscape compositions.
And the great thing about this book is that even though it focuses on composition of the landscape, I find that a lot of the advice can be applied to different genres of art. Right after I read this book, I made exercises where I would apply lessons learned from this book directly to my still-life paintings.
Maybe I need to explore the color studies as well to my work... I find an artist never stops learning and trying to improve their skills. It is what makes this career so fantastic.
This book is really a must have!