Three Concepts I discovered: Vol. 4 Oil Painting Tools, Practices, & Principles

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    In Oil Painting Tools, Practices, and Principles, Hall Groat describes the different elements and principles of Design. Groat describes the elements as ‘ingredients’ and principles as the ‘recipe’ of creating a unified work of art.
    The elements are the first concept Groat defines. He refers to shape, which can be seen on the canvas as squares, ovals, or elliptical shapes. These can be geometric or organic shapes. The second element is space, which refers to the idea of depth within a painting. This is usually achieved by creating a foreground, which is pulled to a middle ground and then to a background. The illusion of form in space is dealing with depth and the illusion of moving back into space. Another element is point, which deals with ideas of light and dark shown on the canvas. There is also the element of line, which can outline different shapes and go in different directions (vertical, horizontal, diagonal…). Another element is size, which can refer to the size of an object or the size of negative space. Artists usually use a variety of size within their paintings. There is also the element of color. A painting can either be done in an achromatic scale (no color) or chromatic (with color). This leads to another element: value. Value refers to the differences in light and dark in a design. Value can be utilized with color or with a grey scale. Another element is the idea of texture. This refers to the actual physical texture of paint, and also visual texture. This can be the illusion of a rough or smooth feeling of an object or space.

    A second concept described in the video is the principles of design. Design principles use the different elements to create a sense of unity and visually pleasing work of art. This can be done strategically to work the different elements together to create a unified image. We can also use varieties of these different elements to create this unity. One principle of design is creating a center of interest for the viewer. This can be achieved with differences in values, colors, or placement. Another principle is balance. A work of art can either be symmetrically (evenly) balanced or asymmetrically (unevenly) balanced. The use of objects, forms, shapes, values, etc. can be used to create a sense of balance in a painting. Hierarchy is also considered when controlling the viewer’s eye around a visual piece. The proportion of different objects within a painting is very important for balance between objects and space. Rhythm and movement within a piece can be achieved by repetition of objects and values.
    A third concept is the visual effects that are created by a combination of the elements and principles and design. These include unity, depth, motion, and patterns. Although a painting is done on a 2-d surface, we can use the ideas of elements & design to create an interesting visual experience for the viewer.

    In my chromatic still life painting, I would say the composition was a big issue for me. I picked interesting objects to paint, but that wasn’t enough to make an interesting painting. I would’ve used the elements of line and form to create a greater illusion of depth. I would’ve also liked to improve the rhythm and movement of the piece by creating more intense variations in values of colors in the negative space. I believe I could’ve also used more harmonious colors within the painting.

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