Hundreds of years of study have gone into the development of fine art renaissance realism principles and all great works of art in the realm of realism are comprised by using these principles.
No matter the method or medium used to create fine art, these principles cannot be ignored if the goal is in-fact to create what is to be considered a masterpiece of realistic fine art.
Great works of art go far beyond mere depiction or how well a photograph is rendered in a different medium. It also goes beyond the level of craftsmanship or manner of difficulty in-which the work was created.
Art has the responsibility of not only being pleasing to the eye, but should draw the viewer into the creator’s world by stirring emotion, arousing the imagination, creating a sense of connection or familiarity by creating a mood, a place and time, while sending a message to the viewer that demands notice. That says look at me, appreciate me, fall in love with me, admire me and take me home.
The use of art principles gives the creator the tools needed to achieve a higher level of success. Artists often times concern themselves with making sales before they concern themselves with achieving the quality that command sales.
Sales in any industry are driven by three major factors, “quality, value and promotion”. The level of success that any artist wishes to achieve will be driven by these same factors.
Among the main missions of the W.A.R.A. is to provide the opportunity to our artist members that will allow their quality of work to rise to the top on it’s own merits and to see the overall quality of work rise throughout the industry by offering critiques from the judges.
Very few shows if any offer critiquing from the judges to their participating artists. The W.A.R.A. recognizes this as a vital service provided to the artist at a minimal cost to aid in the improvement of skill and talent.
Those who have reached the level of expertise that a professional critique is of no value are those who’s work are being sought after, commanding the highest prices the market will bear and most likely does not need the W.A.R.A. to aid in their promotion.
If you would like to understand these principles better, please see the references below as they point to other websites offering explanation on the Principles of Fine Art.
If you know of additional resources explaining the fundamental principles of fine art, please share with the association below in the comments or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are the fundamental principles of fine art used at all W.A.R.A. Art Rodeos.
Study of structure of body: the branch of science that studies the physical structure of animals, plants, and other organisms
Without the astute understanding of anatomy it is impossible to create a truly great work of art. Needless to mention accurate movement and believe-ability.
Genuineness: the genuineness or truth of something.
Much of Western Art deals with specifics, therefore when depicting certain subjects or events the dress, gear, animals, tools, traditions, etc. must be accurate and coincide with that place, people, event and time period.
A state in which various parts form a satisfying and harmonious whole and nothing is out of proportion or unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest.
The way in which the piece presents itself. All facet of a piece must be in harmony in order for the piece to feel and look correct and appealing.
Property causing visual sensation: the property of objects that depends on the light that they reflect and is perceived as red, blue, green, or other shades
Crisp clean color adds strength and is the crowning compliment to all other aspects of the work.
The way in which the parts of something are arranged, especially the parts of a visual image
Composition creates the interest of the work. How well the shapes, forms, mirroring images, negative spaces, planes and objects of the piece are composed to create the whole.
The ability to use the imagination to develop new and original ideas or things, especially in an artistic context.
How unusual, unique, new, or interesting the idea and technique is rendered.
7. Depth / Perspective
The distance or measurement from the top of something to its bottom, from front to back, or from the outside in
the appearance of objects to an observer allowing for the effect of their distance from the observer. Graphic arts allowance for artistic perspective when drawing: the theory or practice of allowing for artistic perspective when drawing or painting
How well the Artist can create the illusion of distance.
Create detailed plan of something: to make a detailed plan of the form or structure of something, emphasizing features such as its appearance, convenience, and efficient functioning
Design is the art of guiding the viewers eye around the piece and directing the eye to the main focal point of interest. How well objects relate to one another, and how well the message or feeling is presented.
9. Drawing skill
(Drawing) The art, activity, or practice of making pictures using a pencil, crayon, or pen
(Skill) The ability to do something well, usually gained through training or experience.
In any two dimensional work the accuracy of drawing is essential and is a primary factor in the quality of the work of art.
The style or manner in which something is carried out or accomplished.
How well the Artist has completed the work. Leaving nothing to chance or incomplete. A great work of Art is like a grand scale dam, absolutely everything has a purpose and nothing should be overlooked.
11. Idea concept
A mental image that reflects reality. Something that somebody has thought up, or that somebody might be able to imagine.
Unique ideas are always a breath of fresh air in the Art industry. Idea concept indicates how much research and or field study has gone into the work.
The amount or type of light in a photograph, painting, or other artwork.
Lighting may be the single most important principle in creating drama and mood, and perhaps carries the most responsibility for the perceived feeling that the Artist wishes to instill upon the viewer.
The illusion or suggestion of motion in a work of art such as a sculpture or painting.
Movement is a vital principle in any work that is portraying any organic form. No matter how extreme or minute that action may be, it must appear to be moving in a convincing manner and also in the correct anatomical or biological places. Without proper movement the work will appear stiff and lifeless.
The manner in which something is shown, expressed, or laid out for other people to see.
The effort that the Artist has put into the over-all appearance of the work, including sculpture bases, picture frames, patinas, etc. anything used that can add a spark to the elegance and appeal of the work.
The procedure, skill, or art used in a specific task.
The individual use and application of medium indicates the degree of understanding of all mentioned standards and principles. However, a artist will have great difficulty in substituting technique for knowledge, often times technique and skill alone are mistaken for artistic ability. These standards and principles can not be ignored in the creative process. How well something is copied in likeness rarely qualifies it as fine art.
For example; texture can never be a substitute for knowledge and understanding of Anatomy or subject matter and remain convincing.
With proper understanding, the artist has the license to take their work to the extreme and remain powerfully convincing and exciting while adding a greater dimension of interest to their work. Also the use of extremely tight photorealistic methods of creation may indicate the artist’s maturity or immaturity of their understanding of these principles and standards as well.
To give a name or title to somebody or something, a name that identifies a book, movie, play, painting, musical composition, or other literary or artistic work
The title of a piece should automatically tell the story or instill the intended feeling of the work. A title is the voice of the work! It tells the viewer in very few words exactly what the work is saying, it’s intended meaning and or it’s documentation.
17. Contrasting Value
Shade of color: in painting and drawing, the lightness or darkness of a color.
Value, is the range of contrast form light to dark and form white to black and every shade and color in between. A work of art can be void of color but it absolutely must demonstrate value. All subjects, objects, planes, and shapes no matter how vibrant or subtle are all defined through value. Value distinguishes one shape from another, shadow from light, and object form object.
Below are more Principles and Standards that may apply in the judging process.
Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space is occasionally used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image. The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition.
Golden mean In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.6180339887.
Every artists should take the time to learn and understand the golden mean principle.
The image of something as reflected by a mirror (or other reflective material).
A likeness in which left and right, top and bottom are reversed or reflected as the same or similar image.
Linear perspective works by representing the light that passes from a scene through an imaginary rectangle to the viewer’s eye. It is similar to a viewer looking through a window and painting what is seen directly onto the windowpane. If viewed from the same spot as the windowpane was painted, the painted image would be identical to what was seen through the unpainted window.
shows actions, or alternatively, the path the viewer’s eye follows throughout an artwork. Movement is caused by using elements under the rules of the principles in picture to give the feeling of action and to guide the viewer’s eyes throughout the artwork. In movement your art should flow, because you are controlling the viewers eye. You control what they see and how they see it, much like a path leading across the page to the item you really want to be seen by the viewer.
Unity is the quality of wholeness that is achieved through the effective use of the elements and principles of art. The arrangement of elements and principles to create a feeling of completeness.
Harmony is achieved in a body of work by using similar elements throughout the work, harmony gives an uncomplicated look to a piece of artwork.
Color Harmony or Color Theory is also considered a principle through the application of the design element of color.
Variety (also known as alternation) is the quality or state of having different forms or types. The differences which give a design visual and conceptual interest: notably use of contrast, emphasis, difference in size and color.
Balance is arranging elements so that no one part of a work overpowers, or seems heavier than any other part. The three different kinds of balance are symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial. Symmetrical (or formal) balance is when both sides of an artwork, if split down the middle, appear to be the same. The human body is an example of symmetrical balance. The asymmetrical balance is the balance that does not weigh equally on both sides. Radial balance is equal in length from the middle. An example is the sun.
Contrast is created by using elements that conflict with one another. Often, contrast is created using complementary colors or extremely light and dark values. Contrast creates interest in a piece and often draws the eye to certain areas.
Proportion is a measurement of the size and quantity of elements within a composition. In ancient arts, proportions of forms were enlarged to show importance. This is why Egyptian gods and political figures appear so much larger than common people. The ancient Greeks found fame with their accurately-proportioned sculptures of the human form. Beginning with the Renaissance, artists recognized the connection between proportion and the illusion of 3-dimensional space.
Pattern and rhythm (also known as repetition) is showing consistency with colors or lines. Putting a red spiral at the bottom left and top right, for example, will cause the eye to move from one spiral, to the other, and everything in between. It is indicating movement by the repetition of elements. Rhythm can make an artwork seem active.
Images with clutter can distract from the main elements within the picture and make it difficult to identify the subject. By decreasing the extraneous content, the viewer is more likely to focus on the primary objects. Clutter can also be reduced through the use of lighting, as the brighter areas of the image tend to draw the eye, as do lines, squares and colour. In painting, the artist may use less detailed and defined brushwork towards the edges of the picture.