Analyze the compositions of various pictures. Determine whether the composition chosen is the most effective for the subject and what, if anything, you would change to make it better.

Cut several rectangles in proportions you like to work with from black, white, and gray paper. Now, from the same kinds of paper, cut smaller shapes to use as compositional elements on these rectangles. Make both basic and odd shapes-the more the better. Include long, thin shapes that can represent lines. On your rectangles, arrange selections of these shapes into various abstract compositions. Do not glue them down. Rather, continue to add, remove, and rearrange elements and observe your own responses to different combinations of negative and positive elements, contrasts, angles, lines, intersections, divisions of edges, and textural patterns.

Cut the shape of an object from a magazine or catalog. Then find the perfect rectangle for this shape: Balance the correct amount of negative space with the complexity of the object's contour.

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