Non-figurative art and rhythm

Lesson One: Non-figurative art and emotions
Examples of things you would draw?
What is non-figurative?
What is non-figurative?
Think of a time when you felt calm. Imagine this time.
Draw lines on your page to represent calm.
Repeat with angry, excited
Look at the person across from you? Do you see any
Colour choice
Line choice:
Lesson Two: Non-figurative art and rhythm
Rhythm: The Principle of Design of Rhythm can be
shown in art in several ways. Artworks appear to have
"rhythm" when Elements and images appear to "move"
through repetition, overlapping, and even pattern,
giving the art a "beat" that repeats at certain intervals
(just as in music and dance). Diagonal lines and shapes
also help make an artwork appear to "move" and appear
more dynamic. In the example below, the overlapping,
diagonal shapes traveling across the composition help
give the artwork a sense of "rhythm."
Movement: An artwork appears to "move" when it
contains multiple lines, shapes, colors, or other objects
that seem to flow or "travel" throughout the
composition. Curvy and diagonal lines and shapes also
can create a sense of movement in an art piece. In the
example below, the curved shapes echo each other
across the image, making them look like they are
Pattern: A repeating pattern, no matter how simple or
complex, can also create rhythm in an art piece. The
"beat" of the repeating shapes, colors, and lines (and
other Elements, as well) of a pattern help the viewer's
eye travel through the composition, giving a "flow" and
"rhythm" to the art piece. In the example below, your
eye follows the stars and arrows from left to right and
back again, helping you feel the rhythm of the design.
Repetition: Repeating shapes don't have to be in an
exact pattern in order to give an artwork a sense of
rhythm. Similar shapes, or even exact shapes repeating
in a random order, can also create rhythm and
movement in a piece. In the example below, the
irregular triangular shapes fill the composition, making
the composition appear to have rhythm and movement.
Movement: In van Gogh's masterpiece, The Starry Night,
the night sky is anything but stagnant. Van Gogh's short,
flowing, swirling, colorful lines help the sky, the moon, and
the stars appear as if they were alive with movement. The
moving sky then becomes the focal point of the painting,
making it very interesting to look at!
Something to think about: How does van Gogh's use
of line to make the sky "move" help set the tone of the
painting? How would the mood of the painting change if
the sky were painted smooth and flat, with no movement
lines at all?
Repetition: The tree in Dutch artist Piet Mondrian's
abstract painting The Gray Tree is filled with similar
shapes that repeat throughout the composition. The
rounded spaces (that become shapes) between the tree
branches flow outward into the sky, giving the entire piece
rhythm through the repeating sections.
Something to think about: In addition to the
repeating spaces, how do the branches of the tree itself
also help establish a sense of rhythm in the painting?
In the Syndey Opera House architectural design,
below, there are repeating forms . The large, curved,
pointed "shell-like" structures in various sizes establish
a strong sense of movement and rhythm.
Something to think about: Do you feel that the
rhythm of the Opera House makes it interesting to
look at?
Practice drawing a piece of non-figurative artwork that
has rhythm. Use pattern, repetition and lines that show
Lesson One: Non-figurative art and Musical Influence
1. Listen to the music for ten seconds
2. Draw to the music
Song #1
Song #2
Song #3
Name: _____________
Non-Figurative Art Project
Instructions: Create a piece of non-figurative art that demonstrates rhythm and represents a
feeling or mood. You may choose to use pastel, pencil, pencil crayon or marker. You must also
attach an explanation of your work of art and why you chose to use certain colours and lines, as
well as how you created rhythm.
You may also choose to work on your own or with a partner of your choice.
Success Criteria for Non-Figurative art:
1. ________________________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________________________
4. ________________________________________________________________________
Time / effort
of mood/ feeling
Level One
completed with
minimum effort;
little thought &
time spent;
Line and colour
choice do not
directly match
mood or feeling
Level Two
Project would
have benefited
from increased
effort and time;
potentially good
idea but not very
well fleshed out.
Level Three
Project displays
expenditure of
time, thought,
and effort;
Level Four
Project displays a
great deal of
time, thought,
and effort;
Line choice or
colour choice
matches mood
of piece, but not
Line and colour
choice match
mood and
feeling of piece
without having
to read write-up
No evidence of
effort to achieve
Evidence of
effort to achieve
rhythm but
doesn’t quite
seem to work for
the piece
Rhythm is
throughout the
piece through
pattern and
Line and colour
choice are used
in a creative way
to match the
mood and
feeling of the
Rhythm is
throughout the
piece through
pattern and
repetition, and
enhances the
overall mood of
the piece