Preview These Composition Tips to Empower Your Paintings!

Come explore possibilities for your art!

In this sneak peek from Aaron Schuerr’s video, Pastel Painting Master Class: Composition for Landscapes, Aaron takes you through the process of looking at a landscape and breaking it down into shapes that can be adjusted and moved around, putting the shapes back together in new ways that work together to create stunning paintings.

“Composition is simply a means to expression; the language the artist uses to share an experience. How do I respond to this place? What do I see and how does it make me feel? And how do I express that response in the language of art? This is the beginning of an understanding of composition.”
~ Aaron Schuerr

Try out a new idea with sketching

Hone in on simple basic shapes without worrying about color. In Pastel Painting Master Class: Composition for Landscapes, Aaron uses paintings that he has done and deconstructs them to show the underlying shapes and how they work together to create interesting compositions.

Painting Sample from Composition for Landscapes with Aaron Schuerr

Painting sample from Aaron Schuerr

Sketching tip from Composition for Landscapes with Aaron Schuerr

The landscape is broken down into a simple, geometric arrangement of shapes.

Try out values to see how your shapes interact

Once you have an idea of how shapes are working together in your landscape, you can use value to lead the eye through the shapes, further solidifying the strength of your composition. In Pastel Painting Master Class: Composition for Landscapes, Aaron uses a reference photo that he has taken on location and sketches the basic shapes in his sketchpad, then uses a range of black and gray value markers to assign value to each shape to create a strong composition. He can then use this value sketch as a reference to complete a painting.

Composition Tips for Landscape Painting with Aaron Schuerr

Use value to help solidify your composition when you work from life or from reference photos.

Hear all about Pastel Painting Master Class: Composition for Landscapes from Aaron himself in this video preview, then visit to stream the full painting demonstration and paint along with Aaron!

About Aaron Schuerr

Aaron Schuerr started his art studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and moved on to an art college in Scotland where he was introduced to mountains, the Highlands. Now based in Livingston, Montana, he works in both oil and pastel to portray the landscapes of the Rocky Mountains. Aaron is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and the American Impressionist Society and teaches workshops both nationally and internationally. Please visit to learn more about Aaron’s work and upcoming events.

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