Of course there are more than three painting techniques that
will allow you to create a compelling artwork, but learning how to paint a
picture well can certainly start with these elements.
Rhythm. Painting objects that actually look
alive, in the case of the figure, or lively, as in a landscape, is often a
matter of visual rhythm. One of the best painting tips I know to prevent
figures and scenes from looking wooden and lifeless is by using active lines
along edges of forms in alternate contrasting rhythms. If you set down your paintbrush
and the forms you just painted are missing something, try painting accents
along the contours.
|Paul Helleu Sketching with His Wife by John Singer Sargent, 1889.
Repetition. As a painter, reinforcing what you
want to convey to your viewer is never a bad idea. If you've created a
landscape painting that you want to appear calm and peaceful, using several
horizontal lines to mark the horizon, land masses, and perhaps a waterway is
more effective than using just one line and separating the canvas in two. Your
message will be more dynamically conveyed if you use multiple overlapping
lines, and your work will have a sense of unity because you've incorporated a
design motif in several areas of your painting.
|Rain in an Oak Forest by Ivan Shishkin, 1891.
Contrast. I'm always a little leery of
promoting the idea of contrast because a little goes a long way, and I
sometimes struggle with combining contrast with subtlety. But that being said,
if you want to make the paint texture of an object really pop, surround it with
an area that has a smooth surface. If you want to accentuate a color, use its
opposite nearby. If you want to paint a dark nocturne, have a slice of light
appear somewhere. Just be aware that contrast can begin to seem like a stark
game of "opposites" when really--at its best--you want it to be undetected.
|Above the Eternal Tranquility by Isaac Levitan, 1894.
If I was ever going to encourage you to explore the Artist
Daily Store for the resources that build on these themes and that provide the
instruction that is right for you, now would be the time. From now until
October 5, the Artist Daily Store is holding a fundraiser and we are donating
30% of all profits made to the Breast Cancer Foundation. I hope and encourage
you to be part of our efforts during this special event. Thank you!