Elements of Art

Artists know that all works of art consist of combinations of basic aspects or elements of art: color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. A master artist like E. John Robinson seems to put these elements together in an effortless, almost magical way, but this skill-set can be taught and - with practice - achieved.


When light falls upon something and is then reflected back to your eyes, it produces color, one of the most important elements of art. Each color has three qualities: hue, intensity, and value.

Hue means the name of a color (e.g., red, yellow, blue). Intensity (or saturation) is measured by how bright or dull a color looks. Value refers to how light or dark a color is.

The three primary colors - red, yellow, and blue - serve as base hues for other colors. Painters change colors with shade and tint. When painters add black to a color, they create a shade. And when they add white to a color, they create a tint.


Similar to shape, form has three dimensions: height, width, and depth; it encompasses volume (or the perception of volume). Form can be specifically defined (e.g., rectangle or cube) or free-form (e.g., person or animal).

By using shading, perspective, and/or modeling techniques, artists can create the illusion that a two-dimensional artwork has form.


Points moving through space, lines (or strokes) consist of the distance between the points' origin and their destination. A line has length, width (or thickness), and direction. It may be solid or interrupted; vertical, horizontal, or diagonal.


An enclosed area of space, shape is two-dimensional. Shapes can be geometric (e.g., circle, square, triangle) or organic (i.e., curvaceous).


An area that artists provide for artistic purpose, space signifies the distances between, around, and within objects. It includes background, foreground, and middle ground. Space can be negative or positive. Negative space refers to an area around, in between, within, and through a thing. Positive space refers to an area in which an object or form resides.


Characterizing how something looks or feels (e.g., hard, smooth, rough, soft), texture can be actual or visual. Actual texture (or tactile texture) can be seen as well as felt so it's three-dimensional. Visual texture can be seen, but is only two-dimensional; the eye perceives it as texture though it's not actually so (it's an illusion).


The lightness and darkness of a color, value is usually described in terms of contrast, with black being the darkest value and white being the lightest value. Contrast represents the difference in values. A half-tone is the middle value between the two extremes. 

In relation to shades, a color gets darker when the artist adds black to it. Or, if artists add white to a color, they create tints.

Combining the Elements of Art

The way you integrate the elements of art in your artworks represents your vision as an artist, your unique creativity. With the gentle, expert guidance of E. John Robinson, you'll be able to create works of art that speak to your heart and soul - in your own unique style.


Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share? Your feedback is important to us. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on how we can help you bring your artistic vision to life, please feel free to contact us.

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