Many artists believe that good composition cannot be taught. That is true to a certain extent because there are no definite or absolute rules.
However, there are some basic concepts that will help you arrange objects in your paintings in a more visually pleasing way.
I have five principles of composition: balance, unity, movement, proportion, and emphasis. You have heard of some of these terms before because they are fundamental principles of many other artists and art instructors.
To help you remember these principles, I coined the acronym “BUMPE”. I have been teaching this method of creating good compositions for over 40 years.
Lets look at the first principle: Balance.
A good composition should have near equal amounts of positive and negative spaces. Positive space is any space that has form, or is three-dimensional, or can be related to the 5 basic solid geometric shapes, which are the cone, cylinder, sphere, cube, and ribbon.
Negative space is the space that has no form or dimension, or is flat.
In some cases dark objects with a light background are seen as positive space.
The photograph of the rocks by the ocean and the black and white version shows the positive space as black and the negative space as white.