How You Make Art Fascinating

You might reply that you make art fascinating by picking a wonderful subject to draw or paint.

One problem is that what seems a wonderful subject to you may be totally boring to someone else.

Take the little pastel painting below. This is yet another painting from my Sunday morning figure drawing group.

My problem in showing it to you is you may or may not be interested in nudes.

So, how do I paint it in a way that you might find interesting?

To Make Art Fascinating

It's Not Necessarily The Subject

Let me begin to answer that by first saying it has long been my belief that what you paint matters less than how you paint it.

Just as it's possible to make a gorgeous mountain view seem dull…

An artist can figure out how to find the secret to make art of even can openers look interesting.

A successful piece of art is not necessarily just an accurate depiction of the subject.

(Especially not, if you accepted the challenge of having can openers as your subject.)

A drawing or painting can be successful because the charcoal or paint was applied in an interesting way.

Look at what I did to make art fascinating in this little pastel.

First, the model is obviously the focus of my picture, but I chose to make her head the star. I put the most contrast and detail there, so that's the first place you look.

Second, I kept everything simple. I didn't show unnecessary details. How you improve your creativity is to focus on what's most important.

My intention is usually to leave many of the details to the viewer's imagination. That helps draw the viewer into the art and increase her enjoyment.

Third, I made sure I used all three types of edges. Hard, soft and lost and found. In this way edges can be used to make art fascinating.

Notice how the model's upper back, while a more orange color, is the same value as the pink background. That allows it to almost disappear.

At left I've digitally changed the painting to black and white, so you can more readily see the edges and values without the distraction of color.

As her back curves down toward her waist it becomes a harder, more distinctive edge and then disappears again – into the tone of the paper. 

Her left shoulder and arm stand out with harder edges, but her forearm disappears at the wrist.

Only a small highlight tells you where the hand is.

Her left knee is visible and the rest of that leg disappears into shadow.

All these little tricks help you improve your creativity and teach you how to make your art more fascinating to look at.

What About the Background?

Since the surrounding areas are much larger than the model, I have to do something to make those areas interesting, too.

And I have to make those areas interesting, but not so interesting that they conflict with the star of my picture. If I painted those areas a totally flat color, they would be really boring.

So what I've done is create an imaginary shaft of light diagonally across the background.

And I allowed the toned paper to show in the upper left and let it become part of the model's hair. 

All these little things create energy.

They give a painting life, and make art interesting to look at.

Best Wishes,
Gary Gumble
Founder of
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernard Shaw

P.S. Much of the time it doesn't take a huge effort to make art fascinating.

Often it is just the sum total of a bunch of little things.

Little things that teach how you improve your creativity.

And teach you how to find the secrets to interesting art.

Would you like to know more about this?

I'm beginning to work on a product to reveal all those little things that help you make art fascinating. 

If you could sit down with me over lunch and could ask me anything you wanted, what are the top 2 questions you'd ask me concerning this subject?

What would you most want to know?

Your questions sent here will help me include everything you want to know…

..about how to make your art fascinating.

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