We are born with certain visual instincts: The desire to have our backs protected, the awe that a limitless vista inspires.
Other visual instincts we must cultivate. This means that the seeds of that knowledge are part of us but that we don’t regularly pay attention to them.
Composition is one of those instincts. As we wander around the visual world certain compositions of objects catch our attention. We may stop for a moment or say, ‘how pretty’. Over time we may have done this ten thousand times. But, when we come to a situation for which we need to compose a pleasing arrangement, we get stuck.
If we cultivate those instincts, each time we come upon a beautiful composition, whether it is an arrangement of flowers, a landscape, or someone’s living room furniture, we might take some time to analyze why it works.
Truly, this will not diminish our enjoyment. We may even find that we are seeing pleasing compositions in unlikely places: peeling wallpaper, a dilapidated building, a pile of laundry.
This knowledge, brought to the usable surface will serve us when we design spaces in our landscape.