Art Fundamentals

Robert Henri, One of the Children of Dooagh, 1924

A Comprehensive Guide To Composition For Artists

By Dan Scott / June 30, 2021 / 32 Comments

“Good composition is like a suspension bridge – each line adds strength and takes none away. No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition.” Robert Henri This is a detailed guide on composition. I’ll cover: What Is Composition in Art? … Read more

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Thomas Cole, Clouds, 1838

Paintings That Break the Composition Rules

By Dan Scott / April 26, 2021 / 63 Comments

I curated a selection of paintings that break the typical composition rules, yet work. The idea is to demonstrate that composition is not a black and white area. The rules and theories exist for a reason in that they work most of the time. But they should be treated more so as guidelines or suggestions … Read more

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Dan Scott, Morning Lookout, October 2020, 700W

How to Paint Color Gradations

By Dan Scott / November 20, 2020 / 88 Comments

This is a detailed guide on how to paint color gradations. I wrote this in light of a recent painting, Morning Lookout (shown below). It’s a study of the early morning’s subtle color gradations, just before the sun peers above the horizon line. I cover: Color Gradation Meaning Color Gradation Techniques A Note on Different … Read more

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Gustav Klimt, Kiss, 1908

Pattern in Art – What It Means Plus Master Examples

By Dan Scott / October 23, 2020 / 0 Comments

What Is Pattern in Art? Pattern refers to the visual arrangement of elements in some kind of sequence or repetition. Think of a line of trees, a floral dress, the design of a flower, the back-and-forth sway of the ocean. Patterns are all around us. Though some are more obvious than others. Tips for Using … Read more

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Chaos and Harmony Feature Image

Chaos and Harmony in Art

By Dan Scott / October 4, 2020 / 26 Comments

Below are two recent but vastly different paintings based on the jetty at Kingfisher Bay. Together, they remind me of chaos and harmony. So much of art can be distilled down to a basic conflict between chaos and harmony. Chaos is unexpected, unwanted, unknown. It’s that burst of activity amongst a quiet background. It’s your … Read more

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Andrea Mantegna, The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c.1480 (Foreshortening)

Foreshortening – What It Means and How to Paint It

By Dan Scott / April 10, 2020 / 67 Comments

This is a rather detailed guide to the concept of foreshortening as it relates to art. I cover: What Is Foreshortening? Effects of Foreshortening The Mathematics Behind Foreshortening Foreshortening Tips Foreshortening in Landscape Painting Foreshortening Exercises Other Examples Key Takeaways What Is Foreshortening? Foreshortening in art refers to the way we perceive an object as … Read more

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Color Charts (4)

Creating the Richard Schmid Color Charts

By Dan Scott / March 9, 2020 / 93 Comments

I have been busy over the past few weeks creating color charts as recommended by Richard Schmid in his book Alla Prima. My charts are still in progress, but I thought I would publish this post in the meantime for others who may want to join me in doing this exercise. I will run through … Read more

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Gustave Caillebotte, The Parquet Planers, 1876 (Form)

Form in Art – How to Use It Effectively (And Avoid “Flat” Artworks)

By Dan Scott / January 27, 2020 / 63 Comments

What is Form? Form is a visual element that refers to the illusion of a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface. If your paintings look “flat” and uninviting, it is probably due to poor use of form. The major forms you need to be aware of are sphere, cube, cylinder, and cone (refer to an … Read more

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Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905

Hue – The Ultimate Guide for Artists

By Dan Scott / December 22, 2019 / 48 Comments

This post is a deep-dive into the concept of hue. I cover the following areas: What Does Hue Mean? Hue Sets the Theme Hue and Realism Hue and Color Temperature Hue and Value Hue and Color Mixing Hue and Psychology Key Takeaways Albert Henry, A Color Notation From Munsell’s 1905 Pamphlet What Does Hue Mean? … Read more

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Variety in Art

By Dan Scott / November 3, 2019 / 5 Comments

What Is Variety in Art? Variety in art refers to the use of different qualities or instances of the visual elements. It is the opposite of repetitive or monotonous use of the elements. Below is a great demonstration of variety by Tom Thomson. Notice all the different colors, lines, shapes, and brushwork. The end result … Read more

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