The Magnificent Seven: How the Elements of Design Inform Abstract, Non-Objective Work

The seven elements of design—color, line, shape, size, space, texture and value—serve as the bedrock for all painting composition, but they’re especially crucial for abstract and non-objective works of art.

“When you look at a painting and say, ‘Oh, I love that painting,’ there are many factors that contribute to that reaction,” says artist Carol Staub. Besides the subjective component, “you love it because it’s a well-structured painting that features good use of color, shape, texture, size, line, space and value.” 

Artist Sue St. John concurs. “Knowing, understanding and implementing the principles of design enable an artist to guide the viewer successfully and help him understand what’s happening within an abstract painting.”

Seven prominent watercolor artists share their abstract and non-objective paintings based on the principles below. See other works by these artists in the August 2015 issue of Watercolor Artist, available in print or as a download and on newsstands June 16.

 

Wonderment by Sue St. John

Wonderment by Sue St. John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celestial No. 5 (acrylic) by Carol Staub

Celestial No. 5 (acrylic) by Carol Staub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martigras by Donne Bitner

Martigras by Donne Bitner

Consolators II by Cathy Hegman

Consolators II by Cathy Hegman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Upswing by Elaine Daily-Birnbaum

On the Upswing by Elaine Daily-Birnbaum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mental Blox by Carol Frye

Mental Blox by Carol Frye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allegro II by Denise Athanas

Allegro II by Denise Athanas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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