Art is clearly subjective. One critic may think a piece is the best they’ve ever seen, while another may think it’s the worst. But aside from the subjective elements, there are also clear principles that underlie compelling visual artworks. Whether you’re shooting photographs, painting, drawing, or exploring other types of visual arts, you should understand the visual principles that draw in viewers and make your piece exciting. Take a look at these five visual principles every artist should know.
People are naturally drawn to patterns. Patterns help people to make sense of their world, and this applies to the visual arts as well as to life in general.
Patterns create a sense of familiarity. They can harmonize distinct elements in a photograph or painting. They can also highlight elements that disrupt or vary from the main pattern of the artwork.
Whether you’re using a repeating pattern or a number of different images, visual artworks need balance. Balance refers to the visual weight of the objects, colors, textures, and other elements in your artwork. For instance, imagine you shoot a photo using the rule of thirds so that the beach, the ocean, and the sky each take up a third of the photo. These visual elements are equally weighted. They create balance in the photo.
A well-balanced piece can make viewers feel calm, but you can also play with balance in a way that creates a visual disruption or purposeful dissonance. For example, you fill a canvas with light colors and then place a very dark-colored object in the corner of the photo. The dark-colored object is unbalanced, and this draws the viewer’s eye to it.
Color significantly influences how people perceive visual artworks. Colors can set the emotional tone of a photograph or painting. Different colors can highlight elements of a piece through the use of contrast, or similar tones and colors can create a smooth transition between multiple elements. The absence of color or use of black-and-white or grayscale can also create a strong visual effects.
4.Light and shadows
The way you use shadows and lights also helps to create the visual composition of an artwork. Shadows can create intrigue or drama. They can also help to emphasize the light and draw attention to well-lit areas of the piece. Light and shadows create balance, and they show the viewer where to move their eyes when looking at a piece.
5. Negative space
When you create a visual piece of art, you don’t have to fill in every part of the artwork. Instead, you may leave some spaces blank. This is called negative space, and it helps to draw attention to the most important aspects of the piece. Negative space can include blurred background when you want to highlight something in the foreground.
If you have multiple subjects in a piece, the negative space is the area around them. Ideally, negative space shouldn’t be something that you create after capturing the image. Instead, it should be something you consider when you first start creating the space.
Reading about and playing with different visual elements will help you improve as a photographer, painter, or sketch artist. But it can also help with sculpture, filmmaking, and any other type of visual art. The more you learn about the visual principles of art, the more you will pick up on these elements in other people’s artwork. Then, you can optimize these elements in your own artistic endeavors.
Watercolor is an unruly medium, characterized by dribbles of paint, colors that run and indistinct forms on paper. Getting started with watercolor is different from other forms of paint, because of the medium’s chaotic and difficult to control nature. If you’re new to this medium, knowing what to expect can help you adjust to this type of painting. The following tips can help. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Experiment with Different Styles
There are many styles of watercolor. Experimenting with each type can help you find the style that works best for you.
- Wet on wet. To paint wet on wet, apply water to a piece of paper using a clean brush. Next, apply paint to the wetted paper. The paint will run. Just how much the paint runs depends on how much water is on the paper. Allow the paint to dry.
- Wet on dry. Apply wet paint to a dry paper, then allow the paint to dry on the paper to see how the paint looks.
- Color blending. To create blended colors, apply wet paint of different colors to a dry paper. Allow the wet areas of paint to combine and blend. You’ll notice that the colors remain pure near the edges, but the colors blend in the middle.
- Mixed medium. See what happens when you mix water color with other mediums like pencil, pen and ink, markers and pastels.
2. Don’t Get Too Precious About Your Paintings
Watercolor is a difficult to control medium that produces unexpected results on a regular basis. Even artists who have been painting with watercolor for years are often surprised by the results of their efforts.
Let go of the idea that your watercolor paintings will look in a certain way, especially in these first paintings. Don’t try to achieve perfection. Instead, devote yourself to experimenting with the medium, seeing how the paint takes to the paper, and what happens when you apply paint to varying wet and dry conditions.
3. Invest In Good Materials
Not all watercolor materials are created equal. Purchase a small set of good quality water color paint. Do not splurge on a lot of paint at first. Wait until you know what brands and colors you like best before investing in a larger set of colors.
The quality of your watercolor paper also matters. Poor quality watercolor paper will buckle when it becomes too wet, creating an uneven application of paint. If you’re not sure which watercolor materials are good brands or which brands perform best, talk to a clerk at the art store when making your purchase.
4. Start Light and Add Dark Paint As You Go
One of the ways that watercolor paint is distinctly different from other types of paint is that you can’t subtract or overwrite the paint once it’s on the paper. This is because watercolor is a transparent medium. While you can add more paint to the paper, you can never lighten what is already in the image.
To avoid mistakes, start by applying light paint to the paper. Add darker paint as you add details to your image.
5. Paint Every Day
The most important thing you can do to learn how to paint with watercolor is to paint every day, and practice as often as possible. Watercolor can be tricky, but the more time you invest in your new hobby, the happier you’ll be with the results.
Feel like being a little crafty? Making something with your own two hands is not just rewarding, it’s also considered a form of therapeutic meditation by some mental health professionals. Whether you are a constant crafter with a knack for anything artistic or a total beginner, certain arts and crafts are easy to learn. We’ve pulled together five of the simplest art and craft projects you can try that don’t take much time at all to master.
1. Creating Origami
Origami is the ancient Japanese papercraft that involves folding paper into decorative figures and shapes. Best of all, all you need is sturdy paper, possibly a pair of scissors, and simple instructions found online. From birds and mammals to flowers and everyday objects, it’s a lot of fun to use paper to create a 3D object. Most pieces involve simple paper folds and tucks to achieve the finished product.
2. Sharpie Tie-Dying
Sharpie ink works out really well for tie-dyed art projects. Grab a handful of your favorite markers, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and something to make more colorful. Keep in mind, this art project is best done outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Simply use the markers to create shapes on a shirt or piece of paper, and then spray the rubbing alcohol over the ink. The colors will bleed together to create a masterpiece.
3. Creating Hand-Painted Landscape Rocks
Looking to spruce up your landscape with a touch of personality? Pick up some acrylic paint, a few paintbrushes, and a clear enamel sealer spray at the craft store. Scout out a few good stones with interesting shapes and smooth surfaces. With a little creative thinking, you can transform a basic rock into your favorite book, an animal, or a flower-donned garden piece bound to attract attention.
4. Making Flower-Rimmed Picture Frames
Grab a few inexpensive picture frames, some faux flower blooms and greenery, and your hot glue gun. Pluck the flowers and greenery from the stems, arrange them how you like on the frame, and tack them in place with the hot glue. In the end, you have an adorable photo frame to house your favorite memories. It can also be fun to make your own wreath using a simple straw wreath or circular base using this same process.
Crocheting is considered one of the easiest-to-learn needlework techniques. You are simply using yarn and a crochet hook to create rows of loops or knots. These rows eventually become a full piece of fabric. Stitch patterns with crocheting vary, and some are easier to learn than others. There are a ton of instructional crocheting videos available for free online, and the craft is easy to pick up. You could be crafting everything from baby booties to comfy throw blankets in no time at all.
Tattoos aren’t just a trend that has been getting more popular in recent years as they’ve been around for centuries. These days, though, tattooing has become more extensive with the technology that we have and the detail is amazing. Because of this, people that didn’t think they’d ever get a tattoo are starting to consider it and join the 30 percent of Americans that have received a tattoo in the past 10 years. Before you face the needle for the first time, though, there are some things that you need to know. Here are the fundamentals of tattoo selection.
5. Don’t Rush It
The worst thing that you can do when getting a tattoo is getting one on the spot. It’s basically an old trope at this point. You go to a place like Las Vegas, have a bit too much to drink and when you get home you discover a new tattoo that you immediately hate. Never be under the influence when getting a tattoo, although you can decide on one when you have. If the sober version of you still likes the tattoo idea you came up with, it might be a good pick for you.
4. Start Small
If you’ve never had a tattoo before, you might be doing yourself a huge disservice if you dive into a full arm sleeve for your first project. Instead, you should pick out something small. This can set the base for your larger project, but there’s something even more important for starting small. This will be a good base for your pain tolerance when the needle starts doing its work. If it felt like almost nothing, then you’re ready to take the next step to a larger tattoo.
3. Don’t Follow Trends
Because of social media, a lot of us tend to hop on a lot of trends. Whether it be from TikTok, Instagram or one of the countless others, tattoos are no stranger to being part of a trend. It’s best to ignore what’s hot at the moment because when you look at the tattoo a few years down the road you might end up cringing. Just because someone like Ariana Grande got a particular tattoo doesn’t mean you have to get the same one.
2. Word of Mouth
Getting a tattoo from an artist that you’ve never met before can be a bit scary. But word of mouth goes a long way in the tattoo game. If you see an artist that has darn near perfect ratings on online reviews or know someone that has personal experience, then that’s an artist that’s likely to be trusted. If they have a wide catalog of work, too, you’ll know you found the right artist.
1. The Personal Connection
Think back to when you were a child and you said that you like dinosaurs once so every birthday or Christmas present you received was some sort of dinosaur item. You probably don’t like dinosaurs as much these days, do you? The same growth continues into adulthood, so you probably won’t want a tattoo of a dinosaur when you’re 80. Instead, pick something that has personal meaning to you, such as a departed family member or the place where you grew up. Heck, maybe you do love dinosaurs that much that it will last the rest of your life.
The world of art is one of the most lucrative, but it can also be the most mysterious. Since almost all of the most well-known works of art predate the internet and even recorded history altogether, it’s hard to know the exact origins and full stories for these pieces of art. Because of this, there are plenty of unsolved mysteries in art history, and here are some of the biggest question marks that we’re still trying to figure out.
5. Who is Lady Liberty?
Very few pieces of art in the United States are as recognizable as the Statue of Liberty which overlooks the New York Harbor. A gift from France that was dedicated in 1886, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi created what has become an iconic piece of Americana. The statue is of Libertas, a Roman goddess, but who was the exact model that Bartholdi used? There are rumors that it was his own mother, but it was never confirmed.
4. How Did Van Gogh Go?
When you think of artists that just about anybody can name despite their level of art knowledge, Vincent van Gogh is one of those artists. On July 28, 1890, van Gogh passed away after a fatal gunshot, which was presumed to be fired by himself. However, in the years that have passed, there has been speculation that someone else fired the gun into his abdomen. Due to forensics, some historians suspect it was an accidental gunshot that nobody wanted to confess.
3. Is Denver Cursed?
If you’ve been to the Denver International Airport, you may have noticed one of the most eye-catching sculptures. Officially titled Blue Mustang, people know this massive horse sculpture better as Blucifer. Standing at over 30 feet tall and around 9,000 pounds, Blucifer has been said to be cursed. That’s because the sculptor of the statue, Luis Jimenez, was killed in his studio by a piece of Blucifer falling on him, severing his artery.
2. Big Heist in Beantown
Boston is one of the most historical cities in the United States, and art plays a significant part in the city’s lore. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of those places that has preserved history, but there’s a big chunk missing. In March of 1990, 13 pieces of art were stolen from the museum with an estimated value of $500 million. With that much money missing, you’d think the case would be solved more than 30 years later. However, the FBI still hasn’t caught the thieves and the reward for finding the missing art has ballooned to $10 million.
1. Who was Robert C. Christian?
The state of Georgia made headlines in July 2022 when the Georgia Guidestones were destroyed. A big tourist attraction, there was a lot of controversy surrounding that monument that’s said to give instructions on what to do after a potential apocalyptic event. One thing that’s unclear is the history of the man that made the Guidestones. The man was known under the name Robert C. Christian (a pseudonym), but that’s about all we know. He simply wanted to know how much it would cost to make the monument, and only Wyatt Martin knows Christian’s real name.