Compose+Yourself is for you if you:


crave answers    

enjoy learning


are new to the studio nest      

are just beginning to spread your artistic wings          

have been flying around the studio a while


love to make stuff      

aspire to make better stuff       

want to feel more sure about what you're doing       

need to know how to make your art wrongs right


long to feel more confident      

wished you'd gone to art school      

feel a need for some basic art education      

seek clear direction      

enjoy the structure and freedom an online class provides


Payment: $79


In order to COMPLETE YOUR REGISTRATION, after you submit payment please WAIT for the Compose+Yourself contact list registration page to appear then complete and submit it.


What is Compose+Yourself?

Compose+Yourself is a new approach to the art & study of artistic composition.  It starts with the idea that to arrive at good composition, you have to put yourself in the picture first. (Not literally, of course!)  Throughout the course, the concepts, framework and tools of composition will be taught with a focus on how you see the world.  The emphasis will be on putting your vision, your feelings, your thoughts and message into your work.

You must first compose yourself.  Tools and technique are secondary.  The whole point of studying composition is to know the rules, the whys and the reasoning behind it all so that you can use them to help you get your vision and art out of your head and into the world.


So how will I help you do that?

I have structured the course with great care and attention to ensure that you really get not only what you are looking for, but what you need.  My approach in delivering this class falls somewhere between the classroom experience and a valuable handbook.  I have been teaching women (and a few men) just like you for over 12 years, both in person and through my four books and three DVDs and Artist Success ASAP class and SEEK Series.  I'm bringing all this experience and more to the table for the Compose+Yourself class.

Compose+Yourself started as a small seed of inspiration a few years ago.  I have studied countless resources, interviewed a broad range of artists, and most of all, fine-tuned my own insights, experience and knowledge on the art of composition. 

"The introduction to artists I didn’t ever hear of before was awesome. Thank you for turning us on to great artists that even an expensive college course didn’t cover.

Many of the artists you interviewed left an imprint on my art-wareness for the rest of my art life. To put a voice to the artist and hear what goes on within each was such a helpful learning experience. I notice little things they say or do are creeping into my own artwork because it made my psyche aware of those little tips.

I adored the little subtleties you said nothing about that you added into the lessons….like the “pattern, unity, emphasis, etc. chart” that secretly spelled out Art History Society.

I found your class to be of very high quality…especially for an online course. You are very dedicated to keeping students aware of all kinds of interesting artists and their styles. I loved the way your assignments went from total freedom assignments to strict rule assignments to a combination of both freedom and rules. General to specific and melding the two. Because of that way of learning composition, this course made a lost soul artist who is into too too many mediums, as many of us are, finally find their mediums of choice. I do feel I found my style from this course and don’t care to admit how many decades I’ve been searching for it!

You kept this course fresh and interesting for the whole ten lessons. I loved how you came at each aspect of composition from different angles. I can tell you are deeply dedicated to keeping the arts alive and keeping artists inspired to love what they were born to do! Thank you for all your hard work! YOUR Compose+Yourself Class was a work of art! "

~ TiCo Colada



Compose+Yourself Curriculum


Session 1: What is composition?

                  Why composition?

                  What composition does and 

                  doesn’t do

                  Why you need to Compose


                  Materials for the class


Session 2: How you see the world

                  How to see what’s right under

                  your nose

                  How to put yourself in your work


Session 3: Composition ingredients

                  Clearing confusion

                  Tools to tell it how you see (and

                  feel) it


Session 4: Putting the tools to work for you


Session 5: Color


Session 6: Controlling the action

                  The Golden Mean & Mr. Fibonacci

                  and other scientific explanations


Session 7: Trust the process, the work,

                   intuition and other wisdom.


Session 8: Your best teacher is right outside

                  your door.


Session 9: How to use what you've learned

                  Less is more

                  Constraints = Freedom


Session 10: Final project & critique


             Lynne Perrella

             Claudine Hellmuth

             Carol Marine

             Lynne Hoppe

             Judy Coates Perez

             Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

             Katherine Dunn

             Joan Schulze

             Pam Garrison

             Jane LaFazio


Artwork by Lynne Perrella



In order to COMPLETE YOUR REGISTRATION, after you submit payment please WAIT for the Compose+Yourself contact list registration page to appear then complete and submit it.


Course includes:

29 Videos

Compose+Yourself Flickr Group (Private)

A private, individual critique by Lesley Riley of your final project.


How It Works

Compose+Yourself includes:

  • ten info-packed lessons

  • clear, concise, well-written and presented instruction

  • videos, audios, images, free downloads, worksheets, assignments and more!

  • inspirational art, wisdom teachings and personal stories from Lesley to support you along the way

  • guest interviews from incredible experts who know a thing or two about “putting yourself in your work” – international superstars of mixed media, quilt art, journaling, painting and more

  • email access to Lesley for any questions that may arise or any guidance needed as you go through the 10 lessons


And I promise it will be fun!

NOTE: You can buy the class today, And you will receive an email with a link to the class site and all of the lessons so that you can start immediately and work at your own pace. You will have lifetime, unlimited access. You don't HAVE to start the lessons till you're ready. Start when you want.



In order to COMPLETE YOUR REGISTRATION, after you submit payment please WAIT for the Compose+Yourself contact list registration page to appear then complete and submit it.


"You are so awesome! A true artist, leader and mentor in this field. I am learning, as I pursue my own voice as an artist, how truly amazing it is that I have most definitely learned at the feet of masters. I hope my art will resonate with people and that my spirt/words/writing will one day be as helpful to others as yours have been thus far. Thank you for being one of my mentors on this journey."
~ Jen Cushman

"I have taken numerous on-line classes over the past 10 years and they have all helped me grow as a fiber artist. Most of them were long on techniques and short on the principles and elements of art. Compose+Yourself has been in a "class" by itself (pardon the pun). My OCD personality has craved knowledge of the rules of art. Up to now, everything has been pretty much intuitive, fly by the seat of your pants. It's nice to now have a foundation to build on. There are still things I don't think I have a total grasp of, but it's nice to know I can keep going back to the classes to refresh myself and I'm sure I will continue to find new ideas as I revisit that I didn't get the first time through.

I respect and admire you greatly and I have learned so much in this class. I look forward to more in the future. I'm especially excited about the opportunity to have a one-on-one critique at the end of the class."     ~ JoAnn Camp


Compose+Yourself is not only a course, it is really an invaluable tool that you will use the rest of your life.


"I really enjoyed being a member of this kind and wise group. The "Compose + Yourself" class made me find my playing, curious child again. Thanks for all the good feelings there have been in the class. Thanks for your sweet and helpful way of being our art-teacher.

Yours Truly,"  ~ Britt Sallingboe

"I really got a lot out of the class and feel I have more tools to evaluate compositons, both mine and others. I am really paying attention to everything around me. I look outside, look for patterns and colors that I see on the internet, in art, in nature, on the clothes someone is wearing, etc.

I think I did those things before the class but having you teach about it made it on more of a conscious level for me.

Thank you so much for all the wisdom you shared."  ~ Sona Nast

"Thank you, Lesley. The info you give us in each lesson has been of great value. And your composition checklist is a wonderful tool. It helps me -- finally -- get somewhat of a grip on the "elements" and "principles" that I had read before, but never fully comprehended. That overall topic had always seemed to me to be a LOT to try to keep in my head, all at one time, especially since I approach art-making from the right side of the brain. But what I plan to do from now on is to bring a painting or collage to a point where I feel blocked; and this will be my signal to get out your checklist. Going thru the list will guide me to the next step(s) to take. Thank you for everything you have presented so far, and please know that I look forward to the next lesson!"  ~ Cecilia Swatton

"Oh my gosh..absorbed by color and classroom 5&6 over weekend. Felt like Alice in Wonderland. Cannot wait for my holiday break, to play with color and create. Art, mindful of rules of nature to guide me! Gratefully," 
~ Kay Kosak Abrams, PhD.,

"Your comments have been a tremendous help. I have learned so much in this class. Lots of very useful information. It has changed the way I think about my own work and also the work of others. Thank you so much for a great class. It is just what I needed at this point in my journey! I took lots of notes and will refer to them, especially when I feel stuck or doubt my ability."                ~ Chris Capista

And the survey says.....

Some results from the after-class survey





How did the class meet your expectations?



  • Just right. I can tell you worked hard and put a ton of research and intent into creating AND keeping this class flowing. You were an excellent FACILITATOR...making things facile/easier for the student because you did the roadwork and gave it to us in doable chunks. I like how you made things understandable when many instructors won't take the time to explain so all can understand a concept or go at it from many perspectives like you do. I remember well your SEEK free series of interviews years ago where...I believe it was Susan Tuttle said it takes about 3 months of hard work to put together an online class. I know from the knowledge and skill set covered in this course, you had to have done far more work than than 3 months worth.
  • I'm blown away by your class, instruction, information.... I have learned no, no GROWN SO MUCH!
  • I really did not have an expectation. I have been in awe of every word and every lesson.



Was there too much, too little or just enough content provided for this class?



  • I think it was presented in such a way as to provide a springboard to keep coming back over and over and keep learning. You provided all the materials, it is up to me to do the work and learn.
  • You were so generous with your information. :)
  • The content included was a good amount and much work on your part which I appreciated! The homework for some lessons seemed overwhelming but because we will have access to the class forever, I can always return and complete the homework and reread the lessons and view the artists. This is beneficial to me because I always learn more each time I go over the information and can see it with new perspective and gain more insight.
  • Hard to answer b/c I am so grateful for all you gave us and keep taking it in and would not want anything omitted.
  • Content was just right. I felt as though I got behind on the homework and appreciated that you slowed it down when a lot of us hadn't posted our images.

About Lesley

I bring to this class:

14 years of experience helping women empower themselves as artists and achieve their dreams. I’ve taught and coached hundreds of women to bring their art and talent into the world

With me, you get a very unique hybrid.You get the practical, grounded in the ‘real world’ side: I received my BA in Women’s Studies with a focus on women & art, and have over 30 credits in design from the University of Maryland. I have taught art to women (and men) all over the world, served as Arts Editor for Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine, written five art instruction books and filmed three instructional videos, juried art quilt shows.

You also get the psychological and spiritual side: I am a seasoned coach, spiritual seeker, artist, and woman with an understanding of the care and confidence needed to help you create art that is uniquely you.

A sincere desire to help you succeed.

More About Lesley

Lesley Riley wears many hats. She is an internationally known artist, art quilter, teacher, writer and Artist Success coach and mentor who turned her initial passion for photos, color and the written word into a dream occupassion.

Her art and articles have appeared in too many places to keep count. As former Contributing Editor of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, Lesley developed a passion for showcasing new talent in mixed media art. Her first book, Quilted Memories,brought new ideas and techniques to quilting and preserving memories. A second, Fabric Memory Books, combined fabric and innovative ideas with the art of bookmaking. Two more books, Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutradur and Create with Transfer Artist Paper, introduced versatile new materials to the quilt and mixed media art world. A fifth book Creative Image Transfer will debut late summer 2014. Her 2013 self-published, Amazon best seller, Quotes Illustrated, will be expanded and republished November 2014 by F&W Publications as Inspiring Quotes Illustrated.

In an ongoing effort to find the best ways for quilters and mixed media artists to get permanent photos on fabric, Lesley introduced Transfer Artist Paper™, named the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) 2011 Most Innovative new product, and state of the art technology for iron-on transfers.

Lesley is the former host of BlogTalk Radio’s Art & Soul show, recording over 75 podcasts on art and the creative process through in-depth interviews with contemporary artists. Her passion and desire to help every artist reach their creative dreams and potential has led to a growing specialty as an Artist Success coach and mentor where she draws from her own experience, insight, and a knack for seeing the potential in everyone to provide guidance and solutions for artists of all levels.

Lesley creates her magic on an idyllic horse farm in Frederick, MD, where she lives with her high-school sweetheart husband and two of her six children. You’ll find her in her studio from sunup to sundown unless, of course, any of her seven granddaughters come to visit.

Stay connected and inspired! Sign up for Lesley’s free bi-weekly dose of inspiration and motivation at .



In order to COMPLETE YOUR REGISTRATION, after you submit payment please WAIT for the Compose+Yourself contact list registration page to appear then complete and submit it.


Brought to you by Lesley Riley & Artist Success  |  |  Copyright 2014