In a post last week I talked about a couple of “rules” of design….just a couple…today I want to tell Y’all about a few more! I really hope this gives some helpful insights to your home decorating…and to artwork! These are the foundation…or building blocks of any good artwork. Most great works of art will have most…if not all of these elements incorporated.
There are seven elements of design: Line, Shape, Direction, Size, Texture, Color and Value. I will define them…and then I will try to explain the meanings to you. This will be a series of posts…simply because I would like for you to practice each one for a day…study the art you have done…and that you may have in your home….try to find each element and principal from that days lesson….I seriously hope that these posts will help Y’all! I REALLY love art…and I would like for EVERYONE to love it…and have a deeper understanding of the work and consideration that goes into great works of art!
Line: Line can be considered in two ways. The linear marks made with a pen or brush or the edge created when two shapes meet.
Shape: A shape is a self-contained defined area of geometric or organic form. A positive shape in a painting automatically creates a negative shape.
Direction: All lines have direction – Horizontal, Vertical or Oblique. Horizontal suggests calmness, stability and tranquillity. Vertical gives a feeling of balance, formality and alertness. Oblique suggests movement and action
Size: Size is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another.
Texture: Texture is the surface quality of a shape – rough, smooth, soft hard glossy etc. Texture can be physical (tactile) or visual. horizontal, vertical, angular, zigzag, spiral, broken, curving, and diagonal.
Color: Also known as Hue
Value: Value is the lightness or darkness of a color. Value is also known as Tone.
The Principals are: Balance, Gradation, repetition, Contrast, Harmony, dominance, and Unity
Balance: Balance in design is similar to balance in physics. A large shape close to the center can be balanced
by a small shape close to the edge. A large light
toned shape will be balanced by a small dark toned
shape (the darker the shape the heavier it appears to be)
Gradation: Gradation of size and direction produce linear perspective. Gradation of color from warm to cool and tone from dark to light produce aerial perspective. Gradation can add interest and movement to a shape. A gradation from dark to light will cause the eye to move along a shape.
Repetition: Repetition with variation is interesting, without variation repetition can become monotonous. The five squares above are all the same. They can be taken in and understood with a single glance. When variation is introduced, the five squares, although similar, are much more interesting to look at. They can no longer be absorbed properly with a single glance. The individual character of each square needs to be considered. If you wish to create interest, any repeating element should include a degree of variation.
Contrast: Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements eg. opposite colours on the colour wheel – red / green, blue / orange etc. Contrast in tone or value – light / dark. Contrast in direction – horizontal / vertical.
The major contrast in a painting should be located at the center of interest. Too much contrast scattered throughout a painting can destroy unity and make a work difficult to look at. Unless a feeling of chaos and confusion are what you are seeking, it is a good idea to carefully consider where to place your areas of maximum contrast. Generally your eye is pulled to the most contrasting elements of any art. This is probably the single most important element to consider…when placement is involved.
Harmony: Harmony in painting is the visually satisfying effect of combining similar, related elements. eg.adjacent colours on the colour wheel, similar shapes etc.
Dominance: Dominance gives a painting interest, counteracting confusion and monotony. Dominance can be applied to one or more of the elements to give emphasis
Unity: Relating the design elements to the idea being expressed in a painting reinforces the principal of unity. for example….. a painting with an active aggressive subject would work better with a dominant oblique direction, course, rough texture, angular lines etc. whereas a quiet passive subject would benefit from horizontal lines, soft texture and less tonal contrast. Unity in a painting also refers to the visual linking of various elements of the work.
Today’s lesson: LINE
Line can be actual…or implied. An actual line is an obvious line that is incorporated in art. Lines in art generally implies the feeling of the movement in art….But we will cover that with direction. Actual lines are lines that are actually in the art….for instance…in the photograph below there are actual lines that direct your eye to the focal point….the wings, the body….and the antenna all lead your eye to the head of the dragonfly.In the picture below…there are actual lines….but there are also implied lines…..
The stamen in this hibiscus does guide you eye to the center of the flower….but also the implied lines of the curvature of the petals imply lines also….even though there are actual lines on the petals….the curvature also serves as lines guiding your eye.
Go Forth!!!!…..find lines in the art around you!!!! Leave me some comments and tell me what all you discovered!!!!