Learning to paint takes practice, lots of practice. While we are practicing, we need to learn the basic principles that make good paintings.
All paintings contain the art elements of line, form, space, shape, texture, value, color, balance, pattern, proportion, etc.
There are four basic art elements that appear over and over in good paintings. These are the art principles used by successful artists.
You can speed up your art journey by learning and using these basic elements in your paintings.
The four basic elements of art often encompass one or more other elements. But when we are learning to paint, it's better to keep in mind the most important things, not all the extraneous information.
All successful oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings all use a number of art elements.
We will concentrate on the four elements, the four principles of art that contribute the most to successful paintings.
If people don't feel comfortable looking at your paintings, they will move on to other artwork.
Composition comes naturally to some people, but it can also be learned.
We could spend a long time studying composition. It would include space and form, line and movement, repetition and emphasis, but we want to keep it simple.
So, let's not worry about all that extra stuff. A simple way to compose good paintings is to use the rule of thirds.
Divide your canvas into thirds. Place two vertical lines, one a third of the way across your canvas and the second at two thirds. Do the same horizontally, place one line at one third and the second at two thirds.
Place your main subject on one of four intersections of the lines. It doesn't matter which intersection you use.
If you have a living subject such as a bird or people, always have them looking into the painting.
Don't place them near the edge of the painting looking out. Their gaze will carry the viewer's eye right out of the painting onto someone else's painting.
Use these and other easy composition guidelines for successful paintings.
A correctly painted focal point draws the viewers into your paintings.
The painting's focal point or focal areas will have the highest value contrast of the painting.
In the painting "Cedar Key Canal" the boat has the highest contrast of values. That automatically makes it the focal point of the painting.
The focal point may also use the elements of color, form or pattern to attract the attention of the viewer.
We can emphasize the focal areas by using warm verses cool colors. Many times we use hard edges in the focal area, as opposed to soft edges in other areas of the painting.
Value is the lightness and darkness of colors.
The dark value of the Bluebird shows up well against the lighter values of the background.
This painting, also uses warm colors against cool colors. The cool blue against the orange chest of the bird is an attention getter.
There are soft edges played against hard edges.
Form, shape, space and movement are all elements of this painting. But values are most important part of any painting.
Understand the principles of art and practice them when you paint the how-to tutorials. All this is part of learning how to paint.
You are probably anxious to start using color. Color is one of the reasons I'm an artist because I absolutely love color.
A good understanding of the color wheel makes it easy to use and manipulate the colors in your paintings.
What are the primary and secondary colors?
Learn the tertiary colors and how to make them. Learn the complimentary colors and their valuable use in our paintings.
We can mix our dark colors from the complimentary colors in each individual painting. This will maintain the color harmony of the painting.
This watercolor painting was done with only three colors.
There are so many beautiful colors for sale at the art stores. It's easy to overstock our paint palette. I learned that lesson the hard way because I fell into the trap of buying lots of colors.
We don't have to buy all the beautiful colors from the paint store. We can mix all of our own grey colors, pastel colors and the dark colors that harmonize with each painting.
There are so many different green paints. It's easy to make green, just mix blue and yellow. We can mix brighter spring greens by adding more yellow. We can tone down the greens and make them suitable for the shadow areas by adding their compliment, red.