Art Terms - TeacherWeb

Elements of Art
Space: Space in a work of art refers to a feeling of depth, or the area occupied (or not occupied) by a three dimensional object.
3D Space: Using techniques such as perspective, overlapping, scale, and vertical location to give the illusion of depth on a twodimensional picture plane.
2D Space: Space in a two-dimensional artwork refers to the arrangement of objects on the picture plane.
Positive and Negative Space: Positive space refers to the area the subject matter or three-dimensional object occupies. Negative
space is the area surrounding the subject matter or the three-dimensional object.
Value: Value, or tone, refers to the use of light and dark, shade and highlight, in an artwork. Value is the range from white to black or
light to dark. The value of the color is determined by how much light is absorbed or reflected.
Texture: Texture refers to the (actual or implied) surface quality of an artwork. Actual surface quality refers to how something
physically feels through the sense of touch. Implied surface quality refers to the altered visual appearance of a surface.
Line: Line is the path of a point, connecting two points or the edge of a shape. Implied line is the path that the viewer's eye follows.
Form: Form is three-dimensional and has height, width and depth. Form encloses volume and takes up space.
Shape: Shape is two-dimensional and has only height and width. Shape is an enclosed space that may be geometric or organic.
Geometric shapes are regular shapes that are easily mathematically calculated and measured.
Organic shapes are irregular and often asymmetrical. Organic (or freeform) shapes are most often thought of as naturally
Color: When light is reflected off an object, color is what the eye sees. Every color has three aspects to it: hue (name), value, and
chroma. The chroma of a color is a measure of how pure or intense it is, how saturated the color is.
Additive Color Theory is the spectrum of color in light where the primary colors are red, green and blue. All of the colors
combined create white and black is the absence of light.
Subtractive Color Theory (used the most in visual art) is the range of color in pigment where the primary colors are red, yellow
and blue. White is the absence of pigment and reflection of light. Black is maximum absorption of light, highest intensity combination
of the primary colors, and the darkest value.
Principles of Design
Balance: Arranging elements so that no one part of a work overpowers, or seems visually “heavier” than any other part of a
-Symmetrical Balance: An artwork that is the same on both sides, is perfectly centered and is mirror image.
-Asymmetrical Balance: A balanced artwork that is not the same on both sides, distributing various elements to create a feeling of
even visual weight.
An unbalanced piece gives us an uneasy feeling that something is wrong.
Contrast: Contrast refers to differences in specific Elements of Art within a composition
Emphasis: Areas within a composition that stand out, are dominant or draw the viewer’s attention.
- Focal Point – center of interest
- Leading lines / Pointers – directing your eye to the focal point or area of emphasis
Movement: Movement shows actions or the path the viewer's eye follows throughout an artwork.
Anticipated Movement - unstable body positions cause us to feel that motion is imminent.
Blurred Edges - when figures move past us at very high speeds, we perceive that figure as somewhat blurry. This experience
leads us to interpret blurry or indistinct outlines as conveying motion.
Multiple Images - showing multiple overlapping images gives us the impression of motion. We can see that the person or
figure has moved through a series of poses.
Directional Movement – visual flow of a composition from one area to another
Optical Illusions - Certain optical illusions based on the repetition of geometric forms will cause your eye to produce motion
where none is present.
Pattern: Systematic reoccurrence of elements
A recurring pattern in a piece of art is referred to as a motif.
The recurring unit is referred to as a module.
Rhythm: Rhythm can be described as timed movement through space and alternation of elements; a connected path along which the
eye follows a regular arrangement of motifs. The presence of rhythm creates predictability, expected repetition, and order in a
Unity: The effect of all elements being in harmony with one another creating a feeling of wholeness.
Ways to Achieve Unity:
Proximity – Grouping objects or elements closely together
Repetition – Repeating elements within a work of art
Continuation - Involves the continuation of line, edge or direction from one area to another.