A Visual Oasis of Balanced Color, Shape and Form
Think of the elements of art as your raw materials, and the principles of art are how you mold and shape them. It is where the style of an artist manipulates the substances he or she choose to use. Rhythm, harmony in art, balance, contrast, movement, proportion, and variety — all principles of art that can be used solo or in concert with one another.
Harmony in art overall is achieved when the elements of an artwork come together in a unified way. Certain element can be repeated, yet they still look and feel like they are lending themselves to a whole. Harmony is definitely not monotony but also not chaos. It is that perfect pairing of the two.
Harmony is conveyed in several ways. You can have harmony in art using color as your vehicle, as well as the marks you make and the forms you paint.
Color Harmony in Art
The power and appeal of color is what draws many artists to the easel for the first time. But color comes with its own share of complications. There are a number of color theories around creating harmonious color.
One is the use of complementary colors. Another is using split complementaries, which is where a complement’s flanking color is used. For example: yellow with blue-purple and purple-red. Other painters create harmony in art with analogous color schemes, which feature colors that are in close proximity to one another (as opposed to opposite) on the color wheel.
Another way to assure color harmonies is to make sure to remember value is almost more important than color. Whether employed subtly or boldly, colors in a painting have to share a relationship and that is often established through similar color values. Otherwise, they appear unnatural.
Color associations can also come into play to achieve visual harmony. A certain subject or place (or time of day) may have color associations. A viewer will almost instinctively accept these if not take them for granted. But in the end, the relationship, or harmony, of color is steered by you, the artist, foremost, with all of these options at your disposal.
Forms and Marks
Experimenting with forms and marks is key for any painter. Describing forms and making marks that are harmonious is often a matter of taking into the consideration of how the eye itself sees. For example, directing your gaze means that certain things come into focus and other things are blurred and hazy. The human eye does not see everything in detail all at once.
Painters often chase this phenomenon with harmony of edges, both lost and found, hard and soft, rather than relying on such precise, uniformly delineated lines or forms.
Soft edges recede and are often used to indicate distance or a form turning. Hard edges bring forms, patterns and texture into focus. Lost edges are key to giving your painting life. An excess of “found” edges lead you to hyperrealism–an appealing style of art all on its own but definitely not realistic.
Shapes and Proportions
Shapes that have similar characteristics are visually read as harmonious. It is introducing contrasting shapes that leads to visual discord: jagged edged lines against curves for example.
Proportion is a slightly different case. The same sizes repeated in a painting may actually be too similar for true harmony. Instead, shapes that differ in shape by consistent ratios achieves good balance.
The Final Say for Harmony in Art?
It’s up to you! In the end, harmony is an aesthetic response and one that is different for everyone. The strategies we’ve given you certainly lend themselves to harmony, but in the end perceptions are unique so go what feels harmonious to you, artists!
If you are seeking an artistic guide to help you along the way, you could choose none better than the artists included in Pure Pastel. Harmony is ever-present and highly unique in every painting in this collection! Get this gorgeous book for yourself and enjoy!