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2-DAY WORKSHOP: Exploring Composition with Mitchell Albala, February 13-14, 2016


with Mitchell Albala!
February 13-14, 2016
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
1 hour lunch break

Register at 206-223-9599


Every composition is fundamentally an arrangement of abstract shapes. To truly compose and take command of those shapes, we must first be able to identify them.

The notan is a unique type of study where we discover the underlying energies of a composition when we observe the arrangement of dark and light patterns. Notan is a Japanese word that means light-dark harmony. The notan study uses an extremely limited set of tones: in its most strict form, black and white; in its more liberal form, black white, and a mid-tone.

This flat and abstract design notation is uniquely suited for expressing a composition in its most basic shape terms. Working first from masterworks then photographs, in painting, drawing, collage, and abstract exercises, you'll learn to “think in notan”. You will begin to see the underlying structure of your compositions. You'll learn to make better choices in the irst strokes that form your work. You will develop skills that bring greater order and power to your compositions.

Expanded workshop information, and an introductory video on the notan, can be found at Mitchell Albala's workshop page. Mitchell Albala is the author of Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice (Watson-Guptill, 2009). A national bestseller, this book and Mitch's art have been called a new class of landscape art. Mitch also hosts a popular landscape painting blog at

Mitchell has been a respected and dedicated teaching artist for more than 25 years. He currently teaches at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Pacific Northwest Art School, ArtEast, and Arte Umbria in Italy. He has also lectured on Impressionism and landscape painting at the Seattle Art Museum and written for International Artist andArtists & Illustrators magazines.

Mitchell's workshop, Understanding Composition through Shape and Notan, has helped popularize the notan and redefine how it can be used by contemporary artists. His atmospheric and semi-abstract landscapes have been exhibited nationally. He is currently represented by Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle. View Mitch's work.

Book link
Blog link
Workshop page
Portfolio website

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