When #teaching #artworkshops and on my #paintingDVDs and #downloads I find one of the most valuable #artlessons I can teach involve understanding the power of the five key elements that I believe allow us to create compelling paintings. Who doesn’t want to create #masterworks!

I find no matter whether we #paint in #watercolor, #oil, #acrylic, #pastel – what ever medium we use – it is mostly at the #finetuning stage of a #painting where our #paintings have the potential to become #masterworks!

I often leave adjustments and refinement of a #painting until the fine tuning stage.

I am just at the beginning this exciting #finetuning stage on my #oilpainting on #goldleaf and #palladiumleaf.

‘The Gift’
#Oil Painting on 24 carat #Goldleaf and #Palladiumleaf
Work in Progress

There is an excellent #artlesson here so I have dedicated some time to sharing this with you.

There are many tweaks to be made during the stages of my #paintings – but I try to resist making those changes too early on. The most obvious change in this work-in-progress is the area of bank directly beneath #Alice. You will see in example one – the pinnacle area is too prominent – that is because it is too light. I have been aware of this throughout the painting stages – but wanted to wait until the painting was at the fine tuning stage before addressing this. Waiting until I had completed painting all areas would enable me to judge the ‘right’ amount of adjustment needed. It is only when all areas are painted (but not fine tuned) I am able to compare the pinnacle to the surrounding areas (that are nearing completion).

It can be a trap for young players to compare an area alongside or close by unpainted white paper/canvas or toned ground. When our eye and brain make an assessment of colors, they take those white areas and grounds into equation as well. Our analysis of color can easily become influenced by these unpainted areas – and lead to a flawed impression of the color needed. The fine tuning stage it the perfect time to make such creative decisions.

Can you see how the lightness of the pinnacle fights with the light area on the right of the painting? Both areas are light in tone value – they each battle for dominance.

What is the problem with that?

– The contrast between the background and foreground pinnacle is too great. This adds to dominance of the pinnacle.
– As we know – tonal value has huge power. Light areas come forward in our composition
– Darker areas recede
– The eye can’t decide which of the light areas to focus on

What to do?
Use the Push/Pull of the five key elements to push that light area back into the composition and allow it to sit more comfortably, closer to the bank. I want the light area on the right to sit the most forward of all.

How do I achieve that?

Easy – just put the five key elements to work!

Using the my five key elements, I narrow down the contrasts between the background and the pinnacle!

In example two – you can see these elements at work

I have used glazes of similar colors to those in the bank behind the pinnacle. Narrowing the color range down to those in the background, has helped push the ‘pinnacle’ to sit back comfortably into the bank

#Color temperature:
I have used a similar #colortemperature range to that used in the bank

#Tonal value:
Adjusting the #tonalvalue has created the most powerful impact of all. Light tones advance. Darker tones recede. By darkening the light-toned pinnacle – to make it similar in #tonalvalue to the bank – the #contrast between the bank and the pinnacle is greatly reduced.

It is clear to see this has allowed the pinnacle to sit back – closer to the bank


The #saturation (intensity) of color is much closer to that of the main bank area

My edges are softer than they were. Soft edges allow a subject to recede. Sharp edges give the #impression the subject is closer in the foreground.

Voila! It is almost #magic the way we artists can move solid objects – don’t you think! :0)

There are huge and powerful advantages when we become familiar with and understand the impact of the #fivekeyelements. This is just one very obvious example of the push/pull aspect of the five key elements. The effects you can achieve are numerous. You will be amazed at huge range of changes – from subtle – right the way through to dramatic.

I love the notion that how far the world moves – is in your hands! We can shift the earth as you can see here! :0)

We have only just touched on one example here. It was some time ago that I identified how far-reaching these five key element impact on my work. I would love to share so much more with you. This obviously is not the ideal place for extending on such learning. There is nothing as good as seeing things happen before your eyes.

My first DVD in my Watercolor Masterclass Series shows many examples of the five key elements at work. All of my DVDs show these key elements constantly at work. Once you have grasped an understanding of how these elements can transform your work into a masterwork – you will be able to utilize this #understanding in your own work. That is exciting as the potential is huge.

You can see previews of my #howtopaintDVDs and #downloads here – just click on the any of the #DVDs to be transported to the #free #video #preview :


It is my pleasure to help you on your journey!


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