Have you ever seen a work of art that just seemed to immediately grab you and pull you in? You just “got it” without having to try to understand or interpret it. Great works of art all have that in common. They have an appeal that forges a connection with the viewer and makes them want to keep looking and even wonder about what inspired the artist to create it.
All artists want to create work that is deeply engaging and has that something that makes people want more or awakens a curiosity about the inspiration behind it. What does it take to make something like that? Does it take talent? Loads of schooling or happenstance?
Well it just so happens that there is a little science or logic behind what makes great art-Whether the artist intended it or not. This logic lies in the principles and elements of art. The degree to which you can master these elements and principles will determine the quality and appeal of your work. Elements are the different things that come together in a work of art and principles are ways of making the elements work.
Elements are basic components of any work of art.
Lines are the linear marks such as those that come from a pencil or brush.
Form that is either geometric or organic
The lightness or darkness of a color
Light as reflected off of objects
An object in space that has width, height and depth
Can be implied or tactile
The area and dimensions around objects
Principles are the way in which you apply the elements of art.
This is the arrangement of objects in a work of art. It can be symmetrical, radial or asymmetrical
Showing the difference in adjacent elements such as opposite colors, different sizes or perceived ‘weight’
All the combined elements work together and create a sense of harmony.
A sense of direction and action are conveyed throughout the work.
This is the focal point of a work of art. The first place the eye goes.
Elements of a piece are connected path through space It has a beat and is aesthetically pleasing.
The relativity of the size of elements in a work of art
Now it’s time to go look at some art and see if you can identify these elements and principles in use. The more you see art from this perspective, the better you will train your eye and consider these things when creating your own work. Experiment and try to create different moods. Making great art takes consistent practice and persistent stubbornness. It’s not about forcing
creativity. Rather, it’s about conditioning yourself to go to work. When you do that, great things happen.