Tag Archives: painting

Elements and principles of design: 2

In the previous post I dealt with the elements of design, trying to define them and to show how they relate to each other. This post is an attempt to do the same with the principles of design.

Perhaps we should begin by asking what is meant exactly by principles of design? What do they do?

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Elements and principles of design: 1

The elements and principles of design are a kind of compositional toolkit; they make it possible to analyse and construct pictorial arrangements in a systematic way. The elements are the physical manifestations of the painter’s art, the raw materials – things like colour and value and line; the principles are the tools and techniques which are used to manipulate and organize the elements.

Unfortunately, although there is a scholarly feel to many of the accounts of the elements and principles (and in fact many of the references I’ve used are academic in origin), there are variations in the terminology and definitions from one source to another which tend to add confusion to an already complicated subject.

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Photoshop for painters: fixing your failures

Being a self-taught artist is something of a two-edged sword. If you make a success of it –  find fame, perhaps, or earn a living from it – then you can wear the label as a badge of honour. If, on the other hand, you do as most of us do and make slow and stuttering progress towards something approaching mediocrity then being self-taught is probably best not mentioned – at least, not to the artistically educated. After all, self-taught at best equates to badly-taught and at worst to not taught at all.

Teaching yourself to paint is probably an ill-advised and certainly an inefficient undertaking. Without a tutor to guide you through a structured learning plan, to assess your work and to explain your failures, progress will inevitably be slow and haphazard. You can look forward to periods of drought and discouragement when ideas fail to materialise and your best efforts produce only disappointment. And if you are trying to teach yourself how to paint in watercolour, it can be even worse. Why?

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