Composition I: Your Visual Language

Contrast, relationship, symmetry, focal point, abstraction.

Terms you’d like to get to know better?

Then this is the right class for you. We’ll explore each of these concepts and a good deal more, through exercises done with cut paper, markers, and other simple design tools. Our goal is a clearer understanding of composition basics, with an emphasis on the articulation of personal visual language.

A Note From Jane:

No matter how someone works - flat or sculpturally, which is how I think of wearable art—the same design principles apply. It still helps to understand, for example, when you are printing cloth, how size and scale and placement can affect the overall “feel” of the piece visually.

That’s really what composition is, if it is simply described. It’s about achieving balance, flow, visual coherence, interest, and focal point. Actually I think these design principles are even more challenging to “get right” on a  3-D piece than they are on a flat piece, because ideally when you look at an art garment, you want it to hold surprises and interest from every angle and even on the inside! So understanding the elements of composition allows you to make a garment (in this case) that’s truly ART and not just clothing. Even if the printing isn’t specific objects but is more pattern and color, where the shapes interact and happen in relationship to the body plays an important role in whether the garment is perceived as “elegant” or “attractive.”  So understanding composition as it relates to the flat surface - the dyeing/painting/printing of the cloth - is just the first stage. When you have thought that through and have created lengths of cloth that are compositions in themselves, the next step is to take those gorgeous fabrics and turn them into “sculptures” that are equally successful in terms of composition - so that encompasses additions like embroidery and beading, textural effects and even other fabrics that may be incorporated into the garment - like putting velvet cuffs or a collar on a silk noil, hand-painted coat.

I hope this has painted a visual for you that helps you to see what I mean, so that the usefulness of composition is more tangible!

I think in your case the critique at the end will be especially useful because then we can talk specifically about your work and how you’ve handled composition as a result of the course. And there is always the option of adding a one hour consult half way through.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


  • Lesson One: Organizing The Two Dimensional Picture World

  • Lesson Two: Contrast and Relationship: The Seven Elements

  • Lesson Three: Focal Point—The Doorway Into The Picture World

  • Lesson Four: Creating The Illusion Of Space And Dimension

  • Lesson Five: The Abstraction Continuum

  • Lesson Six: Strategies For Building A Composition

Bonus Lesson: The Stage Play Analogy

Lesson Materials include illustrated essays, assignment descriptions, and an extensive video packed with examples related to each central topic.

Students have 24/7 access to a Q&A forum where I will answer questions and will receive a personal review of work after completing all assignments.

All Class Content, including notes , exercises and videos are yours forever.

Class is available beginning January 15th and is self-paced.

Take your time with each assignment and feel free to email me or ask questions in the forum along the way!


Hi Jane,


Today, on a routine visit to my cardiologist, I had an opportunity to view the art work in a commercial building. I had extra time before the appointment so I was able to study each piece with a more trained eye. The first three lessons that I have completed really came into play.  I could see the balance.  I understood the contrast and the relationship present in the work.  I could see the value study that was present, but most importantly, I could see if there was a focal point or not.  In all of the artwork, there was an absence of a distinct focal point. I was able to "see" the artwork.  It was truly amazing.  I now understand completely why a focal point is so very critical to an art piece, regardless of what type the art.  Thank you again. I have a new knowledge and understand of art and how it functions.   I am so glad that I am taking the Composition One course.

Rick L.

Composition I: Your Visual Language


Please check your email directly after payment. You will receive a welcome note and instructions for accessing the course that expires 24 hours after registration. You can download and save this document for later use.

I’m looking forward to meeting you and working together!

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Independent Study Online

300.00. Six Weeks. Rolling admission.


Please contact me at to request a start date/availability before registering.

If you are feeling stalled out, beginning to explore new ideas, or just experiencing a desire to work to a deadline for a few weeks, consider joining me for this course, which is designed to fit your specific, individual goals.

  • Prior to the start of class I’ll send you a few questions designed to help determine what you want to do during the period of your study. Feel free to add your own thoughts, or make specific requests. Together, we will tailor a six week program to recognize your goals.

  • Each week you will check in by writing to me privately, and also by sending images of work in progress. We’ll see how things are going and I’ll make suggestions and even an assignment - if needed!

  • Any topic is welcome material for your development.



A deep tissue massage.

"Is anyone else feeling the cumulative impact of CST? It’s like a deep tissue massage every week where the benefits last longer than the actual massage? Sublime, stretched, occasionally an “ouch factor” or a “wince”, but knowing and trusting is the greater benefit for the experience."

— Ali George

Succinct, impressive.

“Jane, I am literally reeling (in a good way) from this week’s offering. Every lesson has been thought provoking, and helpful in such practical ways, even when it involves thinking and dreaming about possibilities. But THIS! As far as I am concerned, you have offered a concise map in week 7 for being able to access the work that is in us to do. I am marveling at how long it must have taken you to get here because you have distilled so much into a succinct few paragraphs. Impressive."

— Carol Wiebe

Value of journaling.

"Jane’s the only person who’s been able to explain to me the value of journaling.  It goes far beyond venting and documenting, but is also a way to find our deepest thoughts, beyond the first strokes of the pen.  Journaling releases the children and grandchildren of our thoughts."

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Coming in 2019…

A New Approach To Color Online

Direct Botanical Printing Online

Other topics you’d like to see offered online?

Please write and let me know -

I love these classes and meeting students who might otherwise never cross my path! And don’t forget Independent Study.  It’s your chance to craft your own future - whatever future you envision!