Introducing Art: The Elements of Art There are basically 7 elements of Art which are: Line Form Shape Value Space Texture Color 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) (C12H22O11). 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 (Bronze) 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 intended.) 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: Line is the path of a moving point. Lines define the edges of shapes and forms. "Trio" by Steve Magada, 1966, Oil, Location unknown Shape: height + width = shape Shape is an area enclosed by line. It is 2 dimensional and can be geometric or organic. Form: Shape Form 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 surface. Color 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 Value (Lightness and darkness) Texture: Texture is the actual surface feel of an area or the simulated appearance of roughness, smoothness or many others. Space: 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 reference material and scrap need to be gathered and organized on your own time, not on classroom time.