Yes There are Rules

Yes, There are Rules

When you look at a painting, you may look at the subject or the style and then determine if you like the painting. And you would be 100 percent correct. However the like / dislike decision can run much deeper. You may ask yourself – “I like this painting but I really don’t know why”.

The artist, when designing and creating a painting, considers a number of rules or principles of design that will help him better communicate his idea and emotions. The art terms for these eight principles of design are:

  • Unity
  • Conflict or Opposition
  • Dominance or Subordination
  • Repetition
  • Alternation
  • Balance
  • Harmony
  • Gradation or Transition

The artist only has limited elements (or tools) of design to work with:

  • Line
  • Value
  • Color
  • Texture
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Direction

It is then up to the artist to skillfully weave these seven elements and the eight principles into a finished painting. Books have been written on how to apply these design factors into a successful painting. These factors apply to all styles of painting, from realism to non-objective abstract.

It is said that “design trumps technique” in painting.  In other words, painting with a good design that is painted with poor technique will always be better than a painting painted with good technique but having a poor design. Obviously, the great artists had both good design and technique.

So why do you like a painting? It is almost always because the artist followed the principles of design and skillfully incorporated the elements of design into the painting.

My painting “Color Explosion” was painted to express my feeling for spring – rebirth, bright colors in the landscape, a happy season - in other words a joyful painting. It is up to you the viewer to determine if I successfully created a good design that communicates my feelings about spring. How did I do?

Click here to purchase the original painting or fine art prints of the painting.