Design. It's the backbone of a good painting and yet it can feel elusive when you're first learning to paint and draw.
Mixed media artist Karen Knutson says you don't have to learn it all. For good design, start with repetition, variation, and dominance.
Repetition: Make sure if you use a shape or a color or a type of line that you use it at least once again somewhere else in your painting.
Variation: If you use a type of shape a lot, make sure you vary it a bit. If you have a bunch of thin lines, add some thicker lines.
Dominance: Dominance is what makes a painting exciting. Dominance isn't 100%. Some artists like John Salminen say 80/20 is really powerful. For example, if your painting is warm, make it warm dominant. Have 80% of the color in the painting be warm. BUT make sure there's at least some cool color in it as well. If it's all warm colors, it'll be less interesting than if there are some cool colors thrown in.
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