Finding Your Visual Language: Composition I


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. Students will also have the option to share work in Open Studio, with other participants.

Lessons include:

  • Lesson One: Organizing the Two Dimensional Picture World

  • Lesson Two: Contrast and Relationship: The seven elements

  • Lesson Three: What’s a focal point and how does it work?

  • Lesson Four: Creating the Illusion of Space and Dimension

  • Lesson Five: The Abstraction Continuum

  • Lesson Six: Strategies for Choosing Successful Additions to 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.


Independent Study

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."

— Martha Tabis

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!