Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Elements of Design by Nancy Noel May

From the Painter's Brush...

Did you know?

The basic elements of design include the use of line, color, shape, texture and value. These are the building blocks of a work of art.

Did you ever wonder why you are drawn to a certain piece of art? There is an infinite variety of styles and combinations of these elements. All five elements will be represented, but some artists tend to focus on one or two of these elements to be dominant. Do you always head for the brightly colored pieces or the softer, more muted colors; strong lines or soft focus images?

Most of us have a preference to certain styles of work. Knowing these basic elements you define what might have you define what attracts you over and over to similar styles of work. These same elements appear in your home furnishings and in fact, can be of great help in selecting items for your home. Do you like rough, nubby texture or silk smooth, strong lines or soft edges, bold or muted color, these are questions that can be answered by studying the basic elements of design.

Let's explore the basic elements of design.

1. Line- Line defines shape and divides space. Lines can vary in width, length, and direction.

2. Color- Color pertains to a particular hue. Colors give the illusion of depth: closer objects are more intense while distant objects appear muted. Color is the most persuasive element, it can show emotions or mood.

3. Shape- Everything has shape, they can be geometric, such as circle, oval, square, rectangle or triangle-or shapes can be organic or free form.

4. Texture-Texture refers to the feel or look of a surface. There are many kinds of texture-rough, smooth, soft, coarse, shiny or velvety-to name just a few. Texture created highlights and shadows.

5. Value- The element that pertains to the relative lightness and darkness of color in an image. Usually dark values appear to come forward and light values tend to recede.

Once again, I invite you to look at the artwork in your home, or visit Spectrum Art and Jewelry. See if you can identify these five elements in a piece of art. The more you study a painting and try to understand the basic elements of design, the more enjoyment you will have in appreciating your art collection.

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