Art Fundamentals

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889, Drawing

What’s the Visual Path of Your Artwork?

By Dan Scott / July 31, 2023 / 16 Comments

This is a detailed guide on the idea of a visual path or journey that a viewer takes through your artwork. This is something I actively think about whenever I’m drawing or painting. I consider questions like: Where does the journey start? What direction is the viewer pulled? How do they work their way around … Read more

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Robert Henri, One of the Children of Dooagh, 1924

A Comprehensive Guide To Composition For Artists

By Dan Scott / June 30, 2021 / 36 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: (If you don’t have time … Read more

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Thomas Cole, Clouds, 1838

Paintings That Break the Composition Rules

By Dan Scott / April 26, 2021 / 67 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, 2020

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 refers to the transition from … 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

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. In this post, I cover: 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? Foreshortening in art refers to the way we perceive an object as it recedes in space. It is perhaps best explained visually. Take a moment to do the following: Place your arm in front … Read more

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Color Charts (4)

Creating the Richard Schmid Color Charts

By Dan Scott / March 9, 2020 / 95 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 cover: Be warned, … 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 / 64 Comments

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. Major Forms: Sphere, Cube, Cylinder, and Cone The major forms you need to be aware of are sphere, cube, cylinder, and … 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 / 49 Comments

This post is a deep-dive into the concept of hue. I cover the following areas: What Does Hue Mean? Hue is one of the three elements of color, with the other two elements being value (how light or dark a color is) and saturation (how bright or dull a color is). It basically refers to … Read more

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