6 Key Elements to Abstract Art Success

Every piece of art has its own vocabulary, a visual vocabulary that give it structure and interest. This vocabulary is made up of six basic elements: Line, Texture, Shape, Form, Color, and Value. Whether you do abstract art, non-objective, or even realistic, you’ll find at least one, if not more, of these elements at work.

Each of these basic art elements are important to the success of your work, but we tend to take them for granted. In artist Dean Nimmer’s art instruction video on Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success, he shows you how when you focus on each element individually, you can learn to use them to increase success in your painting. Each element has its own characteristics and can help make your art more interesting. Explore the elements of line, texture, and form here as extracted from Dean’s video instruction.

Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success | The Divide
Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success | The Divide, by Dean Nimmer


The character of line can be subtle, aggressive, lyrical, rhythmic. Different types of line can be included in one piece of art, and can transition from one type of line to another. Pay attention to the quality of line itself and how you are using it in your art.

Abstract Art with Dean Nimmer: Element of Line
In this demo from Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success, Dean uses line to portray movement.


In Dean’s exercise on texture, he shows you techniques for working with random texture to enjoy the process of making art without worrying about results, as well as ways to use texture in a more controlled way. When you pay attention to the element of texture you’ll find new ways to make this element work to your advantage and energize your art.

Explore texture in Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success with Dean Nimmer
In this demo from Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success, Dean creates random texture from marbles dipped in paint.


There are different possibilities for shape within a composition. We tend to see shape as positive form, but Dean shows you how paying attention to negative shapes between form will stimulate your creativity. In abstract art, it’s not important what the shape is or what it looks like, but what character and qualities it has to contribute to your art.

Explore Shape in Dean Nimmer's Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success video
In this demo from Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success, Dean uses shapes made from negative spaces as positive forms in a composition.

Preview Creating Abstract Art: 6 Key Elements of Success below, and find the entire demonstration here!

About Dean Nimmer

Professor emeritus at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Dean Nimmer has exhibited his work in more than 200 solo and group exhibitions across the United States, Europe, China, Japan, and Australia; his art can also be found in several public and private collections. A regular workshop instructor, Dean’s goal in teaching is to inspire artists to find and access possibilities for creating original artworks with an enthusiasm for the process of making art. Get more abstract inspiration in his book Creating Abstract Art (North Light Books), or visit DeanNimmer.com for more information.

Join the conversation!

3 comments on “6 Key Elements to Abstract Art Success

  1. Thomas wayne says:

    Thank you for such a comprehensive, clear, well written and beautifully illustrated article on the use Abstract Paintings. Kindly visit our website for more @ indianartzone.com

  2. jenny mccarthy says:

    Great blog on ABSTRACT ART SUCCESS ! Thanks for sharing, Abstract art is one of its kind in putting together shapes, colors, textures, lines and patterns and decipher it into a different set of meaning. An Abstract Painting is capable of conveying a thousand meanings which words cannot put up front. The beauty lies in the meaning they convey. In the world of abstract painting, there is perfection in imperfection. If Abstract art paintings are something which you admire, then you should definitely visit us https://tinyurl.com/y63wfbb3

  3. says:

    Abstract art is a different language in itself that uses some strokes of color, lines and shapes and form. Abstract art is always difficult to understand. Do you want to learn how to decode the language of Abstract Art?

Become a member today!

Choose an option below to join now.


Save 16.59% with our annual plan and get a FREE GIFT!

  • Videos: Stream 850+ instructional workshops, specially designed for every medium and skill level.
  • Discounts: Unlock 30% off additional magazines + offers with our retail partners!
  • eBooks: Explore our library of how-to topics, tips, and techniques.
  • Magazines: Access Artists Magazine archives and new issues with a print subscription.
  • Newsletter: A weekly email featuring a selection of videos and more.

View Membership Benefits

*Membership cannot be purchased with Gift Cards or PayPal.