The Importance of Different Elements and Textures

I will show you three modern pictures with my comments and two of my drawings to show you the importance of putting different elements and textures together.

Look at the small, modern still life above. You see ceramics, concrete, wood, glass, metal, and water in the glass flask. All those elements make a lovely modern still life. To me it is a bit too low positioned, on the other hand the empty space on the right-up feels de-cluttered and ‘Zen’. Somehow we long  for emptiness to quiet our busy minds. Therefore put those ‘full’ and ’empty’ elements together.

Now have a look at this enchanting picture. Why is it so pretty? It is just a table with glassware. I think it is so wonderful because it combines only a few but beautiful elements: thick old wood, modern transparent glass, and open chair with a closed background (wall). These contradicting elements ‘open’ and ‘close’, ‘massive’ and ‘transparent’, ‘antique’ and ‘modern’ make a perfect picture.

Another beautiful picture! Look at its elements: the soft texture of the peony goes wonderfully with the hardness of the glass. The fluff of the peony contradicts beautifully the smooth surface of the vase. The old and unpainted wood should be positioned -as it is- close to crystal clear water. This is a lovely composition of contradicting textures and elements.

Notice how important different textures and elements are in a picture. How conflicting or contradicting elements beautifully enrich a painting or picture.

Now I invite you to have a look how I’ve complemented a massive pumpkin with fragile butterflies in this drawing:

and here I’ve done in essence the same only with a massive, dark coloured block of wood and fragile, fluttery Blue butterflies:

Put different elements together to create a rich drawing, painting or photo.
Why that is so, I have no clue. My best guess is that we feel happy and rich in feeling if we are invited to experience different elements; like the soft wind on our bodies when we make a beach walk, or the smell of wet grass when we open our windows to let in the warmth and light of the sun.


P.S. I have no idea who took the three modern still life photos because they were posted on Pinterest before the time Pinterest ensured all uploaded pictures kept their links to their original source. I regret not be able to give credit to the owners of these lovely photos. I hope one day they will add a comment to this post that links their work back to their website or blog.

9 thoughts on “The Importance of Different Elements and Textures

  1. As you’ve mentioned to me several times before Paula, there are so many similarities between good illustration, painting and photography and thanks to you I’m seeing it more and more, especially in this great post on composition. Although a great many people can’t put their finger on just why they do or don’t like an image, it’s often a strong composition (or the lack of it) that is an important factor in why they do or don’t resonate with it. Thanks for a wonderful lesson.


  2. Finally found out how to comment your blog, I thought you had dis-enabled the comment feature, dumb me… 😛 Anyway, greetings from Beijing, love your series of colors and textures! (I really like the 2nd photo, there is a lovely feeling of depth too.)


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