The Importance of the Elements of Design When Creating a Work of Art or Hand Painted Silk Scarves

Silk scarfBy Barbara Gabogrecan

Whether I am producing a painting to be framed or a hand painted silk scarves, I utilise the elements of design to ensure that my finished work of art is the best it can be.

The 7 elements of design I use are:-
1. Line
2. Tone
3. Texture
4. Colour
5. Size
6. Shape
7. Direction

Some of these elements you use without really thinking about them (like size and shape) others are really important for the success of your silk painting (like colour, tone and texture).

A good silk painting will be made up of a strong use of two or more elements of design plus the type of silk used and how it is displayed. A scarf needs to be able to be worn and the design (image or pattern of colours) need to be seen when worn; whereas a painting may be shown as a wall hanging or framed under glass.

Line is usually shown on silk paintings with the use of gutta. Again, we come into a discussion as to whether solvent gutta is better than water based gutta. There are pros and cons for both and I will discuss them later. Your line work can be thin or thick; curved or strait; flowing or abrupt; but whatever it is, you should emphasise it in your work of art and don’t forget about it and just ‘let it happen’.

Tone simply means the lightness and darkness of an object. A colour can be made lighter by the addition of white, a lighter colour or by water (washing or diluting the colour). To make a colour dark you can add black or a darker colour to it. In silk painting I find that many beginners simply ignore tone. They just paint a shape with one colour. Yet, to me, the beauty of colour is how you use tone with it to give it depth and interest.

Texture can be patterns that you use by applying colour or gutta. However, in silk painting, texture can also be very effectively used by adding salt to wet coulour. As it dries the salt draws the colour towards it creating a pattern (texture) in the surrounding colour.

I will discuss colour, size, shape and direction in another post. These elements are discussed in more detail and exercises are given to help you experiment and better understand them in the online classes. Just keep in mind that if you want really lovely hand painted silk scarves or any other works of art, you need to understand and utilise the elements of design.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of the Elements of Design When Creating a Work of Art or Hand Painted Silk Scarves

  1. Vickie

    I see a lot of interesting articles on your website. You have to spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot
    of work, there is a tool that creates unique, google friendly articles in couple of minutes, just type in google – laranita’s free content source

    1. Peter Post author

      I have used software in the past – but as my posts are all based on true stories from my experiences (or from the experience of other artists), it really does need me to write – thanks for the suggestion Barb


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