Friday, September 14, 2012

3 Simple Rules for Creating Great Art

1 - PLAN:

Most people think that creativity is something that you either have or don't have, and by expressing it through an artwork you are unleashing this inner genius/force inside you...but yet this is available only to a few special people. No, that is not true, everybody is potentially a great artist, but you need to nurture you creativity, work hard at it and practice in order to produce great art...even if it comes easier to you and you feel you have a talent for it.

Even those people we label as "geniuses" such as Leonardo Da Vinci for example, had to work hard at their art, plan, and constantly work at it. There are no other ways around it, no quick solutions. And yes, you can learn art, you can learn to draw as well as to paint.

Having said this, I am not denying that there may be people for whom this happens easier, and have good colour sensibility for example - they seem to instinctively know what goes together and what doesn't - and are prone to come up with ideas and processes to make great artworks. However, often, the reason why they find it easier, may be that these sensibilities were encouraged during their upbringing, for example, their parents where artists themselves, their teachers dedicated more time to such activities, they were influence by friends and so obviously, such a person would find herself more at ease with creative and artistic subjects than someone who on the other hand had no exposure at all to such a field.

So, in order to produce great art, you need to be willing to work at it and then PLAN.

When I say plan, I am thinking mainly about composition and colour combination - although there may be other things you'll need to take into consideration.

Composition is how you arrange the space and elements in your painting. Ideally you want to create something that feels pleasing and harmonious to look at - although in some instances your intentions may be also different, perhaps, you want to shock or produce something that does not give a peaceful feel instead, and that's fine too.

When thinking about composition you need to consider the space on which you need to work, the individual elements in your pictures and how these relate to each other as well as to the whole piece - including the background.

If your intention is to give a sense of stability and harmony you may choose vertical and horizontals elements, if you instead want to depict movement, you may opt for curves and diagonal features. To get a balanced piece mix both.
Colour combination instead is how you arrange colour and different hues to achieve different outcomes. For strong contrasts and visual impact go for complementary pairs such as green and red, yellow and purple, or orange and blue.

For a more relaxing and peaceful feel go for colours that are near to each other on the colour wheel and that have a pastel-like feel.


In order to reproduce objects, people and sceneries realistically, you need to learn to see what is there in front of you, not in your head or in your imagination. For example, when you want to copy a plate which is positioned on a table at a few meters distance, although in your head you know that the plate is a perfect circle, when viewed in perspective it will not look circular, but it will instead look elliptical, and that is what you have to copy: an ellipse exactly as see it in your perspectival field of vision, not what your reason tells you should see.

But once you have mastered your drawing skills, as well as  learned from other people’s work, move on! It is normal to begin by looking at what other artists have done in the past as well as the present, I recommend this, no one works in isolation, we are all relational beings and need constantly each other’s feedback and input. That is how we learn. However, you should also honor your individuality and once you have gained the necessary tools, use them to express your ideas in a unique way.


Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, experiment with different mediums, supports, tools: EXPERIMENT,EXPERIMENT,EXPERIMENT! Even if what comes out looks obnoxious keep experimenting…it is real fun and sooner than later you’ll find that thing, colour, technique or style that speak to you and makes your art yours. If you don’t RISK you will never come up with something "original". Mix mediums, try different colour combinations, even if the books tell you it cannot be done. The best way to learn something is to try it out and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, oh well, at least you have giving it a go, if it does, great! You have just learned something new!
A good artist, in fact, is not just someone that can copy and follow all the rules, instead, she is someone who knows the processes but is not afraid of using her own instinct/judgment and imagination to experiment, and create something that is unique and socially meaningful.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Found this quote on an artist's Facebook page ( If you would like to check her art, this is the link: and enjoyed reading it, so I though of sharing it as well:
'Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself wit
h others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy'.

Max Ehrmann c.1920