you can create successful paintings with the principles of art

  • Learning the basic principles of art made me a better painter.

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.

Successful paintings all use the same principles of art.Make beautiful paintings with the principles of art.

use the principles of art

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.

composition is an important art principle

  • Good composition makes the viewers feel comfortable and draws them into your paintings.

If people don't feel comfortable looking at your paintings, they will move on to other artwork.

Composition is easy with the rule of thirdsEasy Composition

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.

focal point

  • The focal point is the main subject of your painting. It is what made you want to paint the subject.
Learn to create a focal point in your art paintings."Cedar Key Canal"

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.

Learn more about how to paint the focal point in your paintings.

the painting art ezine



  • Learning to see and use values in your paintings is the most important principle of art you can learn.
Use values for stunning paintingsUse Values

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.

Values are the backbone of good paintings.

what do you need to know about color?

  • Color is one of the important principles of art.
The Color Wheel helps us understand the art principles of color.Color Wheel

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.

learn how to Stock your paint Palette

  • What are the best art paints to use?
  • How many colors would a beginner use on their palette?
  • Should we use student paint or artist paint?
  • Do we care is a paint is made from multiple pigments?
  • These questions are answered in how to choose the best art paints.

  • How do you choose the colors for an individual painting?
Learn how to select colors for a painting.Select colors that maintain harmony in your paintings.

This watercolor painting was done with only three colors.

It's easy to select the colors for each of your paintings.

you can learn to mix your own paint colors

  • Understanding and using color correctly has a strong impact on our paintings.

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 paint colors - 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.

you can paint anything with the principles of art!

learn more fundamentals Of painting

  • Begin Painting - FAQs

    Begin Painting with answers to frequently asked questions. Find answers about selecting paints, colors, supplies, drawing, what to paint and other questions.

  • Painting Art Terms

    Did you ever wonder what an artist was talking about? This glossary of art terms explains what todays painting artists are saying; supplies, techniques and more.

  • Why Do We Paint?

    Why do we paint? The real secret to painting is we paint to express ourselves, what we see around us. Painting makes us healthy, helps us relax and relieve stress.

  • Painting Daily

    Can painting daily really make you a better artist? Regular painting will put your art into overdrive! You don’t have to paint perfect. Just paint more often.