If I had to break art down into its “basics,” its abstract elements, I would say they consist of line, value (lightness and darkness), form, color, depth, and composition. I plan to address each of these in the workbook I am working on. And then I will include some words on “beyond the basics.”
As students have again and again expressed to me that they felt that they lacked “the basics,” the intent of my workbook will be to help them get oriented. Georgia O’Keefe said "It is surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective from the abstract. Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or a tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is line and colors put together so that they say something."
There are many worthwhile how-to books available on the market. I plan to include a bibliography of some I am familiar with.
But this will be primarily a book intended to break down the basics so that you can practice them with suggested exercises that I hope you will use to improve your skill.
If you have not previously painted, you will need some supplies. I will include suggested supply lists for acrylic painters and oil painters in the appendix. I will also reference some websites of art supply companies.