See my examples and notes about use of contrast and relationship in some favorite pieces.
Stenographic Figure by Jackson Pollock effectively uses contrast, especially in line and color. Bold and fine lines create movement and texture. The complementary orange and blue bisected by swaths of yellow and black make this painting exciting. The use of black helps build relationship, resulting in a cohesive composition.
Maisons et arbres by Picasso has a muted palette but the black lines provide high contrast. The main shapes are circles and rectangles – with rectangles appearing in grids and varying sizes. The lighter value in the three windows provides wonderful contrast. The grids and dots create relationships between elements and great texture.
This painting from Joan Miro’s Barcelona series includes contrasting sizes of lines and shapes, along with bold colors. Although less prominent, the different versions of black circles are playful and make everything fit together.
The most obvious contrast in Rocky Trail, a quilt by Randy Frost, is the coral color among all those neutrals. A repeating rectangular shape and verticals in varying sizes and the use of the yellowish neutral pulls everything together. Great value contrasts and use of the textured black to make this quilt so pleasing.
I went with Jane’s suggested strategies in creating three small fabric compositions. None are masterpieces but I found this to be good practice and a useful exercise.
First I added a reddish leaf stamp, then one high contrast coneflower. It needed more, so I drew in some black circles (playing off the coneflower center shape). The little circles in the upper right are bolder, in an attempt to provide texture and help balance the asymmetry of this piece.
I stamped an all-over pattern, then added a series of circles. The black circles on the right balance the big solid circle on the left and create relationship. Because it needed a little bit more, I added the low contrast half circle at the bottom and felt satisfied with this composition.
I probably like this example the least, but a piece in my stash with spirals fit the bill for a design element in three sizes. I added the crescent shapes to give it some movement, and I liked the addition of the black crescents to perk it up.