Introducing Art: The Elements of Art

Introducing Art:
The Elements of Art
There are basically 7 elements of Art which are:
Everything has elements.
The elements of art are sort of like atoms, in that both serve as
"building blocks". You know that atoms combine and form other
things. Sometimes they'll casually make a simple molecule, as
when hydrogen and oxygen form water (H2O). If hydrogen and
oxygen take a more aggressive career path and bring carbon
along as a co-worker, together they might form something
more complex, like a molecule of sucrose (sugar)
A similar activity happens
when the elements of art
are combined. Instead of
hydrogen, oxygen, carbon,
etc., in art you've got line,
shape, form, space,
texture, value and color.
Artists manipulate these
elements, mix them in with
principles of design and
compose a piece of art. Not
every work has every last
one of these elements
contained within it, but
there are always at least
two present.
Art would be sunk without line, sometimes known as
"a moving point". While line isn't something found in
nature, it is absolutely essential, as a concept, to
depicting objects and symbols, and defining shapes.
For example, a
sculptor, by default, has
to have both form and
space in a sculpture,
because these
elements are threedimensional. (They can
also be made to appear
in two-dimensional
works through the use
of perspective and
value (or shading.)
Amelia Solomon
Ode to Isadora
Texture is another element,
like form or space, that can be
real (run your fingers over an
Oriental rug, or hold an
unglazed pot), created (think of
van Gogh's lumpy, impasto-ed
canvases) or implied (through
clever use of shading).
Color is the most expressive of the elements
and can also be very tricky to use properly,
Value is one of the most powerful tools for the artist because
it helps to create many of the other elements, like form, space,
texture, line and even color has value (lightness and darkness).
Value also enhances most of the Principles like emphasis,
balance, contrast. Without it, art would be of no value. (pun
Why are the elements of art important?
 Because. The elements of art are important for several
reasons. First, and most importantly, a person can't create art
without utilizing at least a few of them. (No elements, no art,
end of story. And we wouldn't even be talking about any of this,
would we?)
Secondly, knowing what the elements of art are
enables us to (1) describe what an artist has done, (2)
analyze what is going on in a particular piece and (3)
communicate our thoughts and findings using a
common language.
Musicians can talk about the key of "A", and they all know it means "a pitch
relating to 440 oscillations per second of vibration." Mathematicians may use
the very basic word "algorithm", confident that most people know they
mean "a step-by-step procedure for carrying out computation." Botanists
world-wide will employ the name "rosa rugosa", rather than the much
longer "that old-fashioned shrub rose - you know, the one that leaves hips in
the fall - with the five-petaled flowers that can be yellow, white, red or
pink." These are all specific examples of a common language coming in
handy for intelligent (and shortened) discourse.
So it is with the elements of art. Once you know what the elements are, you
can trot them out, time after time, and never put a wrong foot forward in
the Art World.
Okay, now
you know,
let’s recap.
(take notes on this it
will be on your test.)
Line is the path of a moving point.
Lines define the edges of shapes
and forms.
"Trio" by Steve Magada, 1966, Oil, Location unknown
height + width = shape
Shape is an area enclosed by
line. It is 2 dimensional and
can be geometric or organic.
Height + width + depth = form
Forms are 3-Dimensional. They
occupy space or give the illusion that
they occupy the space.
Color is the most
expressive element of
art and is seen by the
way light reflects off a
Value is the lightness or darkness of a surface. It
is often referred to when shading but value is also
important in the study of color
(Lightness and darkness)
Texture is the actual surface
feel of an area or the
simulated appearance of
roughness, smoothness or
many others.
Space is the illusion of
objects having depth on
the 2-dimensional
surface. Linear and aerial
perspective are used.
Your Assignment: create a work of art utilizing
five (5) elements of art in a composition.
The subject
matter, medium,
style and
technique is your
choice, but the
material and
scrap need to be
gathered and
organized on
your own time,
not on classroom
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