Influences and expression of the canvas size

The size of the picture and the form that it has, it´s what we call the basic plane, where all the other visual elements are contained. Every plane has some limits and a certain form that will influence the work itself, adding sensations. Especially because of the visual directions that move the viewer´s eye around the picture.

Normally we determined a format by the height and width, and we differentiate vertical, square, horizontal or landscape format.

What kind of format we would choose for our painting, it is closely related to the intention, to the searched expressiveness and, in short, to the communication itself that we will perform.

Analyzing these types of formats, the standards and the more common sizes, we can develop a list of the adjectives to define and understand them.


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The interaction between colors

The interaction between colors

The color in a picture is always relative , you will never see a color as it really is, as how it is physically. This is because there are influences of te other colors around. These influences or interactions can be received in different ways. Below I have created a list of influential factors that makes the colors to be as relative and that generates such a variety of color results.

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7 colors contrast by Johannes Itten

Johannes Itten, painter, designer and teacher in the Bauhaus school, he´s the first to make a theory about the possible types of contrasts that are produced by the different features of color. Johannes distinguished seven types of contrast. saturation, temperature, simultaneous, proportion, luminosity, hue and complementary colors.

This table of colors we can see how much the visual sensation changes on the small colored squares according to the background color on which they are placed:

Colors contrast


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Neutral and gray colors

The colors black, white and gray are achromatic colors, without color hue. They are the opposite of a pure color. And they are also the colors near the black or white tones.

We have a wide range of neutral colors that is gradual. Since the whites mixed with a minimal amount of color, until the blacks with a touch of color, passing through all the grays. These are the sum of black, gray or white with a pure color (such as purple, blue, green, yellow, orange or red) and from them its beauty is born.

Paul Klee uses neutral colors in his worart “Harmony geometric“, painted with watercolor, he did it adding some complementary color and cerulean blue to the deeper tone. Lighter tones are generated by mixing the color with water.

Harmony geometric, Klee


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List of visual effects and textures and its expression

The texture is one of the visual elements more important in the paintings. We can use textures to enrich the works, represent reality, add expression and to create visual sensations and relations between the elements of the work.

List of effects textures: Waters Sandy grainy Branches of Friedrich

We have an infinite repertoire of textures but we are going to do a basic list with the most interesting textures taht we can use and add in a picture to make it more attractive and expressive.

List of visual effects that can be copy to create visual textures on the canvas. Ideas to add attraction and expression to the painting.

By consulting the list, we can choose and decide which texture will work better according to the feelings and expression we want to add in our artwork.

Should not be forgotten the influence of the colors in the texture, which changes its expression. I will define the expression of the texture only from the forms of the texture character itself.


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Compositional elements in painting

This is a short list of the most important elements to consider for creating and composing images.

Composition - rule of thirds

Composition Rule of thirds by Nevit Dilmen .

Compositional elements:

1- The Rhythm

It refers to the idea of ​​movement, passage, change and flow: variety, succession and unity are the foundation of the composition. Rhythm is the drive of change, the unity in variety (ordered motion). It has three main factors: lines, masses and colors.

2- Basic elements: lines, masses and colors.

– Lines provide the work a dynamic and psychological sense. Directional.

– The Masses and the tones are the visual weights.

– The use of the compositional elements in space.


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The golden ratio

The golden ratio is based on a measure or number also called golden, and represented by the Greek letter φ (fi) (lowercase) o Φ (fi) (capitalize). It is a ratio of roughly: 2 + 1,6 . This means that une mesure a=2 plus another mesure b=1,618…. will be together a mesure of c= 3,618…. Although this is the way that I have invented to quickly understand this ratio and to detect, in a composition, that the golden ratio exists between the measures a, b y c in a image. And, therefore, they have the magical balance where a measurement contains the other plus a little.

The golden ratio mesures:

The golden ratio mesures


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Types of visual balance in the paint

Everything is based on the visual weights, that is, the things that gets the attention of our eyes. This is based on the human psychology and our way we equilibrate images and shapes to understand what we see.

Thus, the visual balance – imbalance can be generated by knowing how the graphs elements affect human psychology. For example, we can balance a composition by repeating visual elements throughout the visible plane, so that these visual elements generate stability because they gradually support the eye on all of them, they get the attention equally.

To generate imbalance there are many ways. For example, you can put an item as the unique and stronger in the plane, so it will contrast with the rest of items. But the imbalance, however, is created when multiple items are attracting our view ate the same time and this causes tension.

The most dificult is to generate balance or imbalance that we need with the differents visual elemnts that we use in the picture.

Here I expose certain types of equilibrium, organized and based on: location, color, shape, texture and degradation.

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The contrast of light in paint

Light can be represented in painting in all the very different degrees of intensity that exists. When the light has a bright and deep degree, close to white color, this is a strong luminosity. If the background or the surrounding elements are darker, we perceived it as brightness or a weak light. So, we see there is contrast in the painting, due to the difference in brightness between the elements. And therefore, there is not a picture with a general tone, but the contrasts between strong and weak lights produce a visual rhythm and a very important aesthetic appeal.

In the famous Baroque chiaroscuro painting, for example, there are paintings with strong contrasts of light.
But we have many examples in the painting history with contrasts of light with varying intensity.

In this post I present some famous painted works as good examples of what is creating contrasts of light. You have to watch how the light is painted relative in relation with the figures and the space. Also, the sense or meaning that the work takes thanks to this way of lighting.

The light of the world, Holman

“The light of the world”, pre-rafaelist style, by the painter William Holman Hunt, in 1854.


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