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Abstract Composition: Deep Dive

Take your Art to the Next Level with Key Fundamentals


Unleash the power of Design in your Art


Do you want to make abstract art that fills you with excitement and yet you have a stack of pieces that are disappointing or even ugly? Maybe you can’t even get started because you are not sure where you are going. Or perhaps you have created many pieces that almost work but have problems you cannot seem to identify and solve.


I can relate. I was so excited by abstract art, especially what I saw in museums. I wanted so much to do this, and yet when I sat down to play with paint, the results were… boring. Aimless. Or hopelessly disjointed. I might be able to get something started, but I did not know how to improve it. So  I took classes. I learned to draw and paint, to mix colors and render what I was seeing—- but none of this really helped me with abstraction. I felt so lost.


It turns out that I needed to learn the building blocks of design, and then apply them to art. Working in collage, where I could try many ideas quickly, I began to get a foothold. Many years of trial and error (and a lot of study) later, I learned to create art that inspires me and others. Because I want to share this knowledge and help other create compelling abstract art, I have developed a program that can help artists learn how to improve their abstract work. This course teaches ways to begin, ways to evaluate what is working and what is not, and most importantly, ways to fix the weaknesses and bring the piece to a strong finish.


I am excited to share this course with you. It covers the most powerful design principles for making abstract art that communicates, holds together and engages the viewer. The principles are simple but they go deep. Learning what they mean and how to apply them will empower you as an artist. I firmly believe that learning these principles is the first and best investment you can make in your quest to create better abstract art.

How Abstract Composition: Deep Dive will help you learn

A focus on simplifying complex information

The study of Composition can easily be overwhelming. There are a lot of moving parts. But the course takes a structured approach. Lessons are organized in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, in which I discuss and demonstrate each principle. 

You don’t have to be a great artist

This course is based in Collage. The first week is devoted to creating collage materials and demonstrating best practices for making collage. I have also provided a variety of composition structures to help get you started and give you direction.


Media-Rich Lessons

These lessons are more than just videos. The ideas are taught through text and images that you can view at your own speed, and easily keep referring back to. Video is reserved for demos which illustrate ways to go about the assignments.


You don’t have to go it alone

We host our courses within Yum City, a site I created for online teaching and community-building. In our classroom you can talk to other students (privately or openly), post your homework, get feedback from your fellow artists and give the same. Friendships are forged in these classes. Take advantage of it.


Two ways to take the course

The DeLuxe version of this course is a teacher-led, intensive six-week course, with weekly coaching calls to evaluate the homework produced. While this is the best way to learn, many people have schedule conflicts or budgetary limitations. Starting in Fall 2021, are introducing a purely self-paced Standard version which includes all course materials and access to the community classroom, but without the live coaching calls.


Knowledge that grows with you

The goal of this course is to introduce you to the principles of abstract composition.  You can build on this foundation throughout your artistic life. Composition is not something you learn once and master, but something you practice and grow into. From the get-go, you will be able to start and finish work with more confidence and better results. Over time, you will understand these principles more deeply, apply them more intuitively and they will help you produce a strong, unique body of work.


                      Abstract Composition: Deep Dive

"I wanted to give my soul/mind a new way to grow and express myself. To do that, I needed to understand "what are the parts" and "how do they work together". 


I needed help to make sense of abstract composition principles, and understand the building blocks to express myself... coherently, successfully. I wanted to feel more intentional, more capable of deciding what to do next, better able to read my own creations and edit them. I needed that confidence that comes from knowledge. 


I'm also a person who just likes to do classes in a community setting - I want to talk about what I'm doing and learning, see what others make of the same lesson, so Yum City was a great platform for that.” Katie.



I have an art degree and took 2-D Design in college. I wish I could have taken this course instead. Not just brushing over principles, but really delving into them, exploring them in my own work versus design exercises, and immersing myself in how the principles and composition ideas really inform my work. 


The supportive community in Yum City, the quality of the lessons, the in-depth study, and the thought provoking material and assignments of Melinda’s Ab Comp course are phenomenal. Now, I have a regular studio practice and I’ve been submitting to exhibitions and actually getting pieces accepted. Abstract Composition will push you and your work farther, and give you a foundation that is invaluable." -Alicia



Thank you for a wonderful six weeks of learning, fun and friendship. There is so much to go back over and learn from in the exercises; so many wonderful artists to study and lots to reflect on in my own work. I look forward to a masterclass down the track where we can dive even deeper. Thank you everyone for your company, your support and enthusiasm. It's been a blast!" -Lynne 


Yum City is the best investment I have ever made in my art practice. The opportunity to connect with other artists and to have deadlines allowed me to actually create, post and share. In addition, Melinda also provides information on other artists to study, which has changed my perspective and practice completely. The Abstract Composition Course was wonderful. I look at composition, and so all art, in a new and much more knowledgeable way. Thank you so much, Melinda."  -Suzanne 


Hi, I'm Melinda Tidwell


I have two passions: to create abstract art, and to teach others the principles of abstract composition. If you are an artist, working in any media to create abstract work, and want to make your work SING, I can help.


I began making abstract art in 2009. I had always appreciated abstract artworks, but had no idea how to CREATE it. I became obsessed with learning what makes abstract art work. I wanted to simplify the composition process and determine what steps to use in evaluating my work at each stage of its development. Most importantly,  I wanted to learn how to make art that is beautiful to me.  


Since then I have become a gallery artist with a regular studio practice. I teach abstract composition online to artists from around the world and I have given live workshops on abstract collage and book collage throughout the US.      


I LOVE good design, and am fascinated by what makes it work. An amazing garden, a fantastic outfit, a gorgeous piece of art. Creating beautiful places for the eye to luxuriate in fills me with happiness. I want you to experience this same feeling with your art.





Enrollment Dates:

     Sept 20,2021 - Oct 3, 2021 

Course Dates:

     Oct 4, 2021 - Nov 14, 2021 (Deluxe only)


     Standard: $299

     DeLuxe:   $499


NOTE: If you are on an IOS device, you must use a browser window (like safari) and register through the website. Purchases are not available from the IOS App.

In fact, we do not recommend using the App at all, no matter your device. The website version has better functionality.


1. To create an account, use this INVITE LINK or

    If you have an account, sign in  HERE. 

2. Once inside, go to Yum City University.

3. Choose which version of the course you want, pay, and you are enrolled!

*NOTE:  payment is only accepted within Yum City, so you must have an account to purchase (and attend) the course.


Abstract Composition: Deep Dive




How is the DeLuxe course different from the Standard?

The DeLuxe version is a teacher-led course. We all move at the same pace through the material. This allows us to have the weekly Coaching Calls to talk about the homework and refine our understanding of how the principles are applied.

How do coaching calls work?

On Thursdays, we have a one hour Zoom call at 2pm MST. During this call I will answer questions about that week’s lesson and I will critique some homework using the principles we’re learning. Students interested in having their work used for critique can post their assignments to the Critique Submission Bin 24hrs prior to the call. Not all pieces submitted will be critiqued, and students are not required to submit assignments for this process.

All coaching calls are recorded and available for playback Thursday evening.

When are course materials available?

Both versions of the course will be unlocked Oct 4, 2021.


How long do I have access to the course materials?

6 months. Course materials will be archived March 4,  2022.

How do I access the course materials and classroom?

All courses take place inside the Yum City community, in an area called Yum City University (YCU). You can access YCU from the left hand menu once you are signed into Yum City.  While we do have a paid community at Yum City, the basic membership is free and allows access to all courses. You must create an account to access Yum City courses.


What if I am unhappy with the course?

Not a problem! If you let me know before the start of the 2nd week, I will offer a full refund.

How do I get help?

We are here to answer questions and help with tech problems. Send us an email here. Please allow up to 24hrs for a reply.