Tag Archives: terms and concepts

Color

-COLOR FOR EXPRESSION

COLOR IS THE ELEMENT THAT WE ARE MOST SENSITIVE TO. IT IS THE MOST EXPRESSIVE OF THE ART ELEMENTS BECAUSE IT AFFECTS OUR EMOTIONS DIRECTLY AND IMMEDIATELY.

THE ARTIST MAY USE COLOR TO EXPRESS PERSONAL EMOTIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, THE EXPRESSIONIST ARTISTS OF THE 1900’S CREATED PICTURES THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH OBJECTIVE REALITY. THEIR PAINTINGS WERE GIVEN A SUBJECTIVE TREATMENT.

SUBJECTIVE COLORS ARE INVENTED TO REPRESENT THE EXPRESSION OF THE INDIVIDUAL ARTIST. THE ARTIST” MAY PAINT PURPLE COWS, GREEN FACES, OR RED TREES. DARK, DULL COLORS ARE GENERALLY SAD AND DEPRESSING. EACH COLOR HAS A DIFFERENT EMOTIONAL FEELING ABOUT IT. RED IS HAPPY AND EXCITING. AND BLUE IS SAD OR DIGNIFIED.

WARM COLORS AND COOL COLORS ARE TWO GROUPS OF COLORS THAT SYMBOLIZE DEGREES OF HOT AND COLD. RED, ORANGE, AND YELLOW ARE USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE SUN OR FIRE, AND ARE CALLED WARM COLORS. ANY COLOR CONTAINING BLUE, SUCH AS GREEN, VIOLET, AND BLUE GREEN, ARE ASSOCIATED WITH AIR, SKY, AND WATER, AND ARE CALLED COOL COLORS.

SUBJECTIVE COLORS ARE INVENTED TO HELP EXPRESS THE FEELINGS THAT THE ARTIST HAS TOWARD THE SUBJECT.

 

-OBJECTIVE COLOR

REPRESENTATIONAL ARTISTS ARE THOSE ARTISTS THAT MAKE USE OF OBJECTIVE COLOR. OBJECTIVE COLORS ARE THE NATURALISTIC COLOR OF AN OBJECT AS SEEN BY THE EYE. FOR EXAMPLE, GRASS MAY BE COLORED GREEN, THE SKY COLORED BLUE, AND FIRE COLORED RED. THE SUCCESS OF HOW CLOSE A PAINTING RESEMBLES NATURE ALSO DEPENDS ON THE SPATIAL EFFECTS PRODUCED.

THE MAJORITY OF STUDIO PAINTINGS BEFORE THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY, USED OBJECTIVE COLORS FOR STILL-LIFE AND LANDSCAPE SCENES.

 

-COLOR TO EXPRESS IDEAS

THE ARTIST MAY ALSO WANT TO USE COLOR TO SYMBOLIZE IDEAS. SUCH IDEAS AS VIRTUE, LOYALTY, HONESTY, EVIL, AND COWARDICE MAY BE SYMBOLIZED BY THE COLORS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRADITIONALLY ASSOCIATED WITH THEM. IN MANY CASES, WE DO NOT KNOW THE ORIGINS OF THESE COLOR ASSOCIATIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, BLUE IS ASSOCIATED WITH LOYALTY AND HONESTY (‘TRUE BLUE”), RED WITH DANGER, YELLOW WITH COWARDICE (” YELLOW STREAK”), BLACK WITH DEATH, GREEN WITH LIFE OR HOPE, WHITE WITH PURITY OR INNOCENCE, AND PURPLE WITH ROYALTY OR WEALTH. SOME COLORS HAVE MANY DIFFERENT IDEAS ASSOCIATED WITH THEM. FOR EXAMPLE, RED MAY MEAN FIRE, DANGER, BRAVERY, OR VIOLENT DEATH. THE ARTIST CAN STRESS THE IDEAS IN A PAINTING BY USING COLORS THAT HAVE TRADITIONAL MEANINGS.

 

-COLORS MAY ADVANCE OR RECEDE

COLOR HAS THE ABILITY TO MAKE THE VIEWER THINK THAT SOME COLORS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER COLORS. FOR EXAMPLE, A SPOT OF RED IN A PAINTING SEEMS TO TAKE A POSITION IN FRONT OF THE SURFACE, WHILE A SPOT OF BLUE SEEMS TO SINK BACK INTO THE SURFACE. IN GENERAL, WARM COLORS SEEM TO ADVANCE, AND COOL COLORS SEEM TO RECEDE.

 

-INTENSITY OF COLORS

THE SATURATION OR STRENGTH OF A COLOR IS DETERMINED BY THE AMOUNT OF LIGHT REFLECTED FROM IT. A BRIGHT COLOR IS A PURE COLOR AND WILL HAVE HIGH INTENSITY. THE PURE COLORS RED AND BLUE, ARE BRIGHTER THAN THE IMPURE COLORS OF RED MIXED WITH BLACK, AND BLUE MIXED WITH ORANGE. PURE COLORS LOOK CLOSER THAN IMPURE COLORS.

 

-THE AESTHETIC APPEAL OF COLOR

WHEN WE LOOK AT WORKS OF ART, THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE REACTION TO THE COLOR. PLEASING RHYTHMS AND HARMONIES OF COLOR SATISFY OUR AESTHETIC NEED FOR BEAUTY. AN AESTHETIC REACTION MIGHT BE THAT WE WERE SOMETHING WE LIKE, AND WE BUY IT, OR THAT WE SEE SOMETHING WE DO NOT LIKE, AND DO NOT BUY IT. BOTH DECISIONS WERE MADE ON AN AESTHETIC LEVEL.

WE MAY DEVELOP THE ABILITY TO CREATE AESTHETICALLY PLEASING COLOR COMBINATIONS IN OUR HOUSES AND IN THE CLOTHES WE WEAR BY STUDYING AND ANALYZING THE COLOR COMBINATIONS THAT APPEAL TO US. IF WE GET A SENSE OF SATISFACTION FROM SEEING A WELL-DESIGNED CAR OR ROOM, WE ARE REACTING TO THE COLOR COMBINATIONS. WHEN WE LOOK AT DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS, WE ALSO REACT TO THE COLOR COMBINATIONS, AND AESTHETICALLY LIKE OR DISLIKE IT.

 

-IMPRESSIONISTIC COLOR

DURING THE 1890’S, A NEW GROUP OF PAINTERS BECAME INTERESTED IN WHAT THE SCIENTISTS HAD DISCOVERED ABOUT THE LIGHT THEORY OF COLOR. THESE PAINTERS, CALLED IMPRESSIONISTS, WANTED TO USE A PAINTING TECHNIQUE THAT COULD PORTRAY THE ILLUSION OF VIBRATING LIGHT, AND BRILLIANT COLOR. TO ACHIEVE THE LOOK OF VIBRATING NATURAL SUNLIGHT, THEY PLACED DABS OF DIFFERENT COLORS SIDE BY SIDE. THIS TECHNIQUE IS CALLED JUXTAPOSITION OF COLORS. THEY REALIZED THAT THE EYE WOULD VISUALLY MIX OR BLEND THE DABS OF COLOR INTO THE DESIRED COLOR MIXTURES. SINCE LIGHT IS MADE UP OF DIFFERENT WAVELENGTHS FOR DIFFERENT COLORS, THE TECHNIQUE OF JUXTAPOSITION EMPHASIZES THE SHIMMERING, SPARKLING NATURE OF CERTAIN COLOR COMBINATIONS.

FOR EXAMPLE, COMPLEMENTARY COLORS, THOSE COLORS OPPOSITE EACH OTHER ON THE COLOR WHEEL (RED IS OPPOSITE GREEN, ORANGE IS OPPOSITE BLUE, AND VIOLET IS OPPOSITE YELLOW), ARE THE BEST COLOR COMBINATIONS FOR JUXTAPOSITION. THIS IS BECAUSE COMPLEMENTARY COLORS EXAGGERATE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIGHT WAVE LENGTHS OF DIFFERENT COLORS. THE VIBRATING EFFECT IS A RESULT WHEN YOUR EYES AUTOMATICALLY JUMP BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN THE DABS OF COLOR AND TRIES TO BLEND THEM TOGETHER.

 

-COLOR LIGHT THEORY 

ALL COLOR IS DERIVED FROM LIGHT, EITHER NATURAL SUNLIGHT OR ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING FROM LAMPS. WHEN THE LIGHT IS STRONG, THE COLOR LOOKS BRIGHT, FOR EXAMPLE, AT DUSK WHEN NATURAL LIGHT IS WEAK, IT IS DIFFICULT TO DISTINGUISH ONE COLOR FROM ANOTHER. BUT UNDER STRONG SUNLIGHT, SUCH AS IN TROPICAL CLIMATES, COLORS SEEM TO BE BRIGHTER.

LIGHT THEORY OF COLOR TELLS US THAT EVERY RAY OF LIGHT COMING FROM THE SUN IS MADE UP OF DIFFERENT WAVES THAT VIBRATE AT DIFFERENT SPEEDS. THE SENSATION OF COLOR IS AROUSED IN THE HUMAN MIND BY THE WAY OUR SENSE OF VISION RESPONDS TO THE DIFFERENT WAVELENGTHS OF LIGHT.

IF A BEAM OF LIGHT WERE TO PASS THROUGH A PRISM (A TRIANGULAR PIECE OF GLASS), THE LIGHT WOULD BE BENT AND DIFFERENT COLORS WOULD APPEAR. THIS STRIPED BAND OF COLORS IS CALLED THE LIGHT SPECTRUM. THE MAJOR COLORS IN THE BAND ARE: RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, INDIGO, AND VIOLET. THESE COLORS ARE PURE AND REPRESENT THE GREATEST INTENSITY (BRILLIANCE) POSSIBLE. IF WE COULD COLLECT ALL THE SPECTRUM COLORS AND MIX THEM TOGETHER, WE WOULD HAVE WHITE LIGHT.

WHEN THE ARTIST USES COLORS IN A PIGMENT FORM (PAINT, CHALK, ETC.), THESE COLORS ARE NOT PURE SO THEY WILL NEVER BE AS BRILLIANT AS SPECTRUM COLORS. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU WERE TO TAKE ALL YOUR PAINT COLORS AND MIX THEM TOGETHER, YOU COULD ONLY GET GRAY, THE IMPURE FORM OF WHITE.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT A LEAF AND SEE THAT IT IS GREEN, THE LEAF IS ACTUALLY ABSORBING EVERY COLOR IN THE BEAM OF LIGHT EXCEPT GREEN. THE LEAF APPEARS TO BE GREEN TO YOUR EYES BECAUSE IT REFLECTS THE GREEN WAVES IN THE RAY OF LIGHT WHILE ABSORBING ALL THE OTHERS.

THE COLOR INTENSITY OF A PIGMENT, SUCH AS COLORED PENCILS, CAN NEVER MATCH THE HIGH DEGREE OF INTENSITY THAT YOUR EYES RESPOND TO IN NATURE. THE IMPRESSIONIST PAINTERS COULD NOT DUPLICATE THE INTENSITY OF THE SPECTRUM COLORS, BUT WERE ABLE TO ACHIEVE MORE COLOR VIBRATION THAN OTHER PAINTERS.

Composition

Composition can be defined as a means of selecting appropriate elements and arranging them within the picture space to communicate the artist’s ideas, and feelings effectively to the viewer. Placing elements you have selected within your painting is very important. Composition can create either a strong and interesting piece of work, or a weak and confused piece.

You want to have your composition to combine *forms and space to produce a harmonious whole and meaningful statement.

When you see a really great piece of art…it didn’t just happen. It was not the result of throwing together objects, or filling the background with detail. It is the result of careful planning, without that, the viewer could be left feeling confused and unsatisfied. A well-composed picture will leave the viewer feeling satisfied, and create an urge to see more.

Every artist approaches any given subject differently. One may like the more romantic approach, while another may want to portray it *realistically. Another may choose to work with different *textures to create a *mood or atmosphere with *contrast for the viewer. Composition allows you to say what you want to say.

In composing your picture, you decide what you want your main point of focus to be. Each artist may see the same thing, and each could choose a different point of interest. These forms that will be your point of interest could be made larger, clearer, stronger, brighter then they may actually appear in real life. Less important forms will be smaller or less distinct. *Perspective is very important!

Through composition, and having a main focal point, the artist can actually control which part of his picture the viewer will linger over. Once a definite focal point is established, the viewer can be lead either directly or indirectly through the art. The use of light and dark contrasts will also emphasize the center of interest.

Before painting, the artist needs an idea. They must determine subject matter, and compose the subject manner in a way that is going to be the most effective. What kind of mood is going to be created? What emotions are going to be evoked? What content should be in the picture to capture the viewer, allowing them to grasp what the artist has envisioned? Will anything in the picture distract the viewer, and should it be moved, or removed? Is this the very best composition for this subject? Is the*proportion correct?

Once the artist has thought through various questions such as these, it is time to put the ideas to paper. Rough sketches are used to ensure composition is correct, and that the picture captures the feeling the artist is trying to convey. Sketches should be kept simple, broad, and not contain a lot of detail. Once the artist feels they have captured the effect, focal point,*rhythm and design and feeling they want to create for the viewer, the sketches can then be transferred to the final work of art.

The 4 main elements of composition are:

*Picture area: This is the surface within the four borders of your picture that is used for the drawing or painting. The picture area will help you determine placement of objects, and how big they should be.

*Depth: This is the illusion of distance or a third dimension. Depth creates a three dimensional effect, making objects feel closer, or further away. The finished result will not appear flat on the paper or canvas if depth is created.

*Line: The line or direction the viewer’s eye takes to go through the picture. The objects or forms within the picture should lead the eye to the focal point. When art is viewed, most people will begin in the bottom left corner, and continue through the picture to the right. A good composition will not allow the viewer to keep going right, all the way off the page. The viewer should be lead back into the painting in a flowing motion.

*Value: This is the lightness, or darkness of an area, or a shape within the picture. It is also used to create the overall feel of the picture.

Compositional rules

1. Pick a good subject

This one might be a no-brainer, but you can’t have a great composition without something good to compose! Obviously your composition depends a lot on what you’re actually painting or drawing, so pick something interesting (visually at least), and always make sure that there’s a good light source from one direction to give the object a strong highlight and shadow. I like painting stuff with a lot of color, texture, sharp angles, etc, since those will increase a viewer’s interest.

 

2. Choose the size you want

How big do you want to portray your subject? The scale of art can change its entire feel, so it’s important to have a purpose for making an object larger or smaller than life.

For instance, a large, 6ft diameter painting that enlarges an object like a penny will have much more importance and meaning than a normal-size painting of a penny. By enlarging objects, you increase importance; reducing size usually diminishes importance. If you’re not sure what size to make it, just keep it as close to life-size as possible.

 

3. Create your own crop

Often the most powerful lines in a work of art are the four that most artists don’t even think to control. The edges of your canvas or paper are responsible for containing and shaping your final work of art. Why settle for drawing inside somebody else‘s lines? Make your own! If you’re planning on drawing a skyscraper, cut your paper to the height and width necessary for your subject. Painting a landscape? Why not make your canvas wider, for a panoramic view? This can be used to enhance practically every work of art, so make sure to think about it before choosing to use a standard canvas or paper.

 

4. Think about placement

The way you place shapes on a 2-dimensional surface lend levels of importance, meaning, and balance to a piece. Centering your subject vertically, horizontally, or both will always give a greater sense of stability to your work, but might end up feeling a little boring or typical as well.

Letting part of your subject get cropped off by the sides, top, or bottom will usually add more visual interest, as will making a single object fill the entire space. Do watch out for objects that barely touch edges, or for objects that just barely brush the borders of your artwork. This type of placement is awkward and should be avoided.

 

5. Control your lines

Any subject you choose will have at least an outline as well as other lines to give it depth, texture and detail. Our eyes naturally follow lines, so use that to your advantage in capturing the viewer’s gaze. Let your lines flow to the center of your work, or to the spots that you want the viewer to look at. Angled or curved lines generally add more visual interest and movement, but too much can be chaotic. Horizontals and verticals lend strength, solidity, and impressiveness but can be boring.

Avoid letting lines divide your art exactly in half; like with a horizon line running through the middle, or vertically with a tree. This pulls the viewer out of the space you’ve created and will distract from the image.

 

6. Balance positive and negative space

Positive space is any object or shape that stands out from the background and registers to the eye as “something.” Negative space is the background, or space around objects. Usually it’s suggested that you keep approximately equal amounts of positive and negative space to make a work feel more balanced. If you don’t have enough negative space, your art may feel busy and crowded, but too much negative space can cause the work to feel empty and subdued.

On the other hand, a busy, crowded painting may be your intent, and using a lot of negative space often works well at focusing attention on the positive space that is there. You get to choose how you want your art to feel, so pick a balance that’s right for your subject matter and style.

 

7. Add contrast

Visual art should have a full range of values from dark to light. Without bright highlights and dark shadows, an image will often feel gray or washed out, and will be less interesting. Darker areas in a predominantly light section will stand out and draw the eye, and the same is true for the reverse. Use this to focus attention but watch out for unintentionally doing so. Make sure you’re not adding emphasis to a corner or edge of a painting if your focus is meant to be in the center.

 

8. Simplify distracting elements

Too many shapes, lines, or colors can distract or confuse viewers. If you want the viewer to notice or return consistently to one part of the painting, simplify the rest of it. Decide what the focus should be and if YOUR eye gets distracted, change it! Another way to simplifying your art is to get closer to a single object. Leaving out the peripherals and zooming in until the whole frame is filled with only one thing always brings attention where you want it. Of course, doing so will change your positive/negative balance drastically.

 

9. Choose your colors deliberately

Bold color will catch attention so use them purposefully where you want people to look. Any color that’s all alone surrounded by another color will also stand out. Just like with contrast, this can happen unintentionally, so check for it in your composition.

Also be aware that warm colors (yellow, orange, and red) will make objects appear closer to the viewer, so use them to create depth and space. Cold colors (blue, purple, and some green) will cause objects to recede into the distance. When an object in the “back” of your painting is too warm, it’ll distract from your overall composition and pull attention where you don’t want it.

Finally, I’m a die-hard fan of sketching at the beginning of each creative process so I’d always recommend drawing out different compositions until you feel as though you’ve exhausted every option. If sketching not your thing, you could take a bunch of photos and then alter them digitally to find the best composition for your subject.

Whatever you do, don’t jump into something you have high hopes for without working through each of the steps above. I guarantee that if you follow the guidelines above, you’ll be amazed at the difference between your final composition and what your original idea actually was.

Texture

-INTRODUCTION TO TEXTURE 

TEXTURE IS SEEN BY ARTISTS AS BEING A USEFUL TECHNIQUE IN DESCRIBING THE CHARACTER OF THE OBJECT BEING DRAWN OR PAINTED. TEXTURE VISUALLY STIMULATES OUR TACTILE RESPONSES SO THAT WE SENSE THE SURFACE QUALITY OF THE DRAWN OBJECT. TEXTURE ALSO HELPS TO VISUALLY ENRICH THE PICTORIAL AREAS OF PAINTINGS WITH FINE DETAILS. TEXTURE HELPS US TO BELIEVE THAT THE PAINTED SHAPE IS REALLY A THREE-DIMENSIONAL OBJECT THAT MAY SEEM CLOSER TO THE VIEWER THAN ANOTHER OBJECT HAVING LESS TEXTURE. FINALLY, TEXTURE IS USED BY PAINTERS TO CONTROL THE OVERALL PATTERNS THAT OBJECTS NATURALLY HAVE SO THAT THE PICTURE DOESN’T BECOME TO VISUALLY DISTRACTING.

-SIMULATED TEXTURE-

SIMULATED TEXTURES ARE VERY COMMON IN THE FIELD OF ART. SUCH TEXTURES CALL FOR CAREFUL RENDERING OR COPYING OF THE LIGHT AND DARK PATTERNS CREATED BY THE SURFACE CHARACTER. THE DUTCH AND FLEMISH PAINTERS OF THE 16TH CENTURY PRODUCED AMAZINGLY NATURALISTIC EFFECTS IN STILL-LIFE PAINTINGS. THEIR PAINTINGS SIMULATED TEXTURE IN SUCH DETAIL, THEY WERE ABLE TO FOOL THE EYE INTO THINKING THE OBJECTS WERE REAL.

A SIMULATED TEXTURE IS BASICALLY A PATTERN AND IS TEXTURAL ONLY TO THE DEGREE THAT IT REMINDS ONE OF THE SENSE OF TOUCH.

-ACTUAL TEXTURE-

IF THE ARTIST CHOOSES TO ATTACH REAL MATERIALS TO THE PICTURE, ACTUAL TEXTURE IS BEING USED. THE VIEWER CAN ACTUALLY TOUCH THE MATERIAL. THIS HAPPENS WHEN THE ARTIST IS PRIMARILY CONCERNED WITH PRESENTING THE PICTURE AS A TANGIBLE OBJECT AND NOT AS AN ILLUSION OF NATURE.

EARLY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, A GROUNP OF PAINTERS CALLED CUBISTS, EXPERIMENTED WITH MANY TEXTURES. THEY PASTED BITS OF NEWSPAPER, STAMPS, AND TICKETS DIRECTLY ON THE PICTURE SURFACE. THE PRINTED AND CUT PASSAGES OF THESE PIECES CREATED PATTERNS.THIS TECHNIQUE IS CALLED PAPIER COLLE. EVENTUALLY, PAPIER COLLE INCLUDED BITS OF WISE, WOOD, SANDPAPER, AND OTHER ACTUAL TEXTURES. COLLAGES ARE PICTURES MADE UP OF SCRAPS OF THIS KIND. THE ARTIST MAY ALSO INCLUDE DRAWN AND PAINTED AREAS WITH THE ACTUAL TEXTURES.

SOME ARTISTS, LIKE VINCENT VAN GOGH, PRODUCED TEXTURES IN THEIR PAINTINGS BY BUILDING UP THE PIGMENT ON THE CANVAS. THE IRREGULAR SURFACE OF THE PAINT ITSELF HELPS TO REFLECT LIGHT AND EMPHASIZE THE TEXTURE OF THE OBJECT PAINTED.

-INVENTED TEXTURES

INVENTED TEXTURES MAY HAVE THEIR SOURCE IN NATURE, BUT THEY UNDERGO A GREAT CHANGE WHEN THE ARTIST CREATES A TEXTURE FOR A PICTURE. THE INVENTED TEXTURE IS REALLY A DECORATIVE PATTERN. LINES OR SHAPES ARE REPEATED ON A SMALL SCALE OVER THE SURFACE OF THE OBJECT.

IF THE PICTURE IS NONREPRESENTATIONAL, THAT IS, IS NOT PORTRAYING REAL OBJECTS, THE INVENTED TEXTURE USUALLY BECOMES OF GEOMETRIC PATTERN. HOWEVER, ALL TEXTURES, INVENTED OR SIMULATED, MUST MAKE THE VIEWER HAVE THE FEELING THAT THE OBJECT OF NONREPRESENTATIONAL SHAPE CAN BE TOUCHED AND ITS TEXTURE FELT.

-TEXTURE USED WITH IN PATTERN

WHEN GROUPS OF LINES ARE COMBINED TO PRODUCE A FLAT OR TWO-DIMENSIONAL EFFECT, A PATTERN RESULTS. IF, HOWEVER, THE RESULT ISONE WHICH STIMULATES OUR SENSATION OF TOUCH BY SUGGESTING DEGREES OF ROUGHNESS OR SMOOTHNESS, THE EFFECT MAY BE TERMED TEXTURE.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PATTERN AND TEXTURE IS THAT PATTERN IS ONLY A DECORATIVE DESIGN INVOLVING SOME REPITION OF SHAPES THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE BASED ON NATURE. TEXTURE, HOWEVER, IS A PATTERN THAT ALSO MAKES THE VIEWER HAVE A TACTILE RESPONSE.

-TEXTURE VARIATION

ACTUAL, SIMULATED, OR INVENTED TEXTURES VARY AS TO THE DEGREES OF SMOOTH OR ROUGH, PLAIN OR DECORATED SURFACE QUALITY.TEXTURE VARIATION IS AFFECTED BY THE CHARACTER OF VARIOUS MEDIA AND TOOLS. THE ARTIST SELECTS TOOLS CAREFULLY BECAUSE THE TOOL ITSELF WILL DETERMINE THE TYPE OF SURFACE QUALITY THAT CAN BE PRODUCED. FOR EXAMPLE, BRUSHES OF A HARD BRISTLE CAN MAKE SHARP OR ROUGH LINES. BRUSHES WITH SOFT HAIRS CAN PRODUCE SMOOTH LINES IF LOADED WITH THIN PAINT AND THICK, BLOTTED LINES IF LOADED WITH HEAVY PAINT. THE TEXTURE VARIATION OF PENCIL DRAWINGS CAN BE PRODUCED DEPENDING ON HAND PRESSURE, AS WELL AS THE TYPE OF LINE DRAWN.

Shape

-REALISTIC SHAPES

CREATING SHAPES IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE ARTIST. EVEN THOUGH A PICTURE OF A LANDSCAPE IS NEVER THE REAL THING, THE SHAPES PRODUCED CAN MAKE THE VIEWER BELIEVE THAT THE SHAPE REPRESENTS AN ANIMAL, BUILDING, OR PERSON. THE REPRESENTATIONAL ARTIST TRIES TO CREATE SHAPES THAT ARE SO CONVINCING, YOU MIGHT BELIEVE THEY ARE REAL.

LINEAR PERSPECTIVE AND KNOWLEDGE OF ATMOSPHERIC EFFECTS ON OBJECTS IS AN IMPORTANT TOOL TO THE REPRESENTATIONAL ARTIST CREATING REALISTIC SHAPES. THE REALISTIC SHAPE MAY HAVE EXACT LIMITS OR BE OF SUCH DELICATE BLENDING THAT THERE IS NO ACCURATE BORDER. THIS WILL DEPEND ON THE VISUAL DISTANCE THE ARTIST WANTS THE SHAPE TO APPEAR TO BE.

-ABSTRACT SHAPES

SOMETIMES ARTISTS ALTER SHAPES SO THAT THEY ARE TOTALLY UNLIKE THOSE SEEN IN NATURE. ABSTRACT SHAPES ARE EITHER BIOMORPHIC, THAT IS, CURVILINEAR, OR ABSTRACT SHAPES ARE GEOMETRIC, THAT IS, ANGULAR. IN EITHER CASE, THE SHAPE FUNCTIONS AS A SYMBOL OF SOMETHING ELSE.

FOR EXAMPLE, BIOMORPHIC SHAPES ARE. INSPIRED BY THE INCREASING AWARENESS OF THE MICROCOSM THAT WE SEE THROUGH SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS LIKE THE MICROSCOPE. THE CURVILINEAR SHAPES SUGGEST THE POSSIBILITY OF LIFE (THE CELLS). A GROUP OF PAINTERS CALLED THE SURREALISTS, WERE INTERESTED IN THE MYSTIC ORIGINS OF LIFE. THEY CREATED BIOMORPHIC SHAPES FOR SOME OF THE FANTASY OR DREAM-LIKE OBJECTS THAT WERE PORTRAYED IN AN OTHERWISE CONVINCINGLY REAL LANDSCAPE.

IN CONTRAST TO BIOMORPHIC SHAPES, ARTISTS ALSO USE GEOMETRIC SHAPES FOR ABSTRACTION. A GROUP OF ARTISTS CALLED THE CUBISTS, MADE USE OF GEOMETRIC SHAPES AS ABSTRACTIONS OF THE PRECISE AND MACHINE-LIKE CHARACTER OF MANKIND’S INVENTIONS. ABSTRACT SHAPES ARE USED AS SYMBOLS OF THE ARTIST’S DEEP FEELINGS AND IDEAS.

SOME TYPES OF ABSTRACT SHAPES SUGGEST THE POSSIBILITY OF LIFE. BIOMORPHIC SHAPES ARE USED TO PORTRAY FANTASY OR DREAM-LIKE CREATURES.

-SILHOUETTES

SILHOUETTES ARE SHAPES THAT HAVE NO DECORATION OR TEXTURE WITHIN IT’S BORDER. RATHER, THE SILHOUETTE IS THE TOTAL SHAPE ITSELF. ITS EDGES OR CONTOUR DEFINES THE AREA OF THE SILHOUETTE. A PERSON’ S SHADOW IS AN EXAMPLE OF A SILHOUETTE THAT IS COMMON TO US.

-DISTORTED SHAPES

DISTORTED SHAPES APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN PUSHED, PULLED, STRETCHED, COMPRESSED, TWISTED, WARPED, OR BENT. THE DISTORTED SHAPE IS NOT WHAT THE SHAPE ORIGINALLY LOOKED LIKE. THE ARTIST USES DISTORTED SHAPES FOR THE IDEAS AND FEELINGS THAT CAN BE SUGGESTED TO THE VIEWER.

-DECORATIVE SHAPES

DECORATIVE SHAPES EXAGGERATE A FLAT OR TWO-DIMENSIONAL QUALITY AND SEEM TO LIE FLAT ON THE SURFACE OF THE PICTURE PLANE. IF MANY DECORATIVE SHAPES ARE USED, THE PICTURE BECOMES BROKEN UP INTO A FLAT PATTERN. TOO MANY DECORATIVE SHAPES CAN BECOME DISTRACTING.

DECORATIVE SHAPES EXAGGERATE A FLAT OR TWO-DIMENSIONAL QUALITY. TOO MANY DECORATIVE SHAPES CAN BECOME DISTRACTING.

– COMMON CONTOURS OF SHAPES

THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT SHAPES IN NATURE, BUT IN THE INFINITE VARIETY WE CAN DISCOVER A GENERAL ORDER. CERTAIN COMMON SHAPES APPEAR AGAIN AND AGAIN. WE SEE MOST SHAPES WHEN THEY ARE SIMPLIFIED AS GEOMETRIC SHAPES, OR AS A COMBINATION OF GEOMETRIC SHAPES. FOR EXAMPLE, A TREE BECOMES A SPHERE OR A CONE RESTING ON A CYLINDER. A HOUSE BECOMES A COMBINATION OF RECTANGLES AND TRIANGLES.

SHAPES THAT ARE COPIED DIRECTLY FROM NATURE, SUCH AS LEAVES, FLOWERS, AND CLOUDS SEEM TO BE MORE CURVED AND HAVE A SOFTER EDGE THAN MAN-MADE SHAPES, SUCH AS BUILDINGS, CAR ENGINES, AND T-V SETS. THE MAN-MADE SHAPES OFTEN APPEAR TO BE MORE ANGULAR AND HAVE A SHARPER EDGE.

CERTAIN COMMON SHAPES APPEAR AGAIN AND AGAIN. SHAPES, WHEN SIMPLIFIED, ARE GEOMETRIC SHAPES, OR A COMBINATION OF GEOMETRIC SHAPES.

-CHANGING SHAPES: METAMORPHOSIS THE ARTIST CAN TAKE A SHAPE, SUCH AS A CIRCLE, AND THROUGH A SEQUENCE OF STEP BY-STEP ALTERATIONS, CHANGE THE CIRCLE INTO A SQUARE.

A METAMORPHOSIS, THAT IS, A GRADUAL CHANGE OF A SHAPE, CAN BE STARTED FROM ANY PART.OF THE SHAPE. THIS CHANGE MIGHT START FROM AN EDGE, AT THE CORNER, ALONG THE SIDES, OR EVEN BEGIN TO CHANGE FROM THE CENTER OF THE SHAPE. CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS HAVE USED THIS STEP-BY-STEP METAMORPHOSIS IN BOTH TWO-DIMENSIONAL PICTURES AND THREE-DIMENSIONAL SCULPTURE. THE TECHNIQUE EXAGGERATES THE PASSAGE OF TIME BECAUSE WE CAN SEE THE OBJECTS SLOWLY CHANGING WITH EACH ALTERATION.

Shape/Form/Space

SHAPE – A two dimensional area that is defined in some way. In art the definition of shape is – a line that starts and stops at the same place and traps space. Shapes are two-dimensional.

There are two kinds of shapes:

GEOMETRIC (Inorganic) – precise shapes that can be described using mathematical formulas

EXAMPLES: square, triangle, circle, oval, rectangle

These shapes are used for decoration, uniformity and organization

FREE-FORM (Organic) – Irregular and uneven shapes that often occur in nature

 

FORMS – Often shape and form are used interchangeably in everyday language, but in art they have different meanings. FORMS are objects having three dimensions – length, width and depth.

EXAMPLES – shape – circle form- sphere square cube, triangle cone, pyramid

Shapes and forms are related – i.e. the end of a cylinder is a circle, one side of a cube is a square. Forms may also be geometric or free-form.

 

SPACE – shapes and forms exist in space, which is the emptiness or area between, around, above ,below or within objects. All objects take up space.

POSITIVE/NEGATIVE SPACE- In two and three dimensional art the shape or forms are called the positive area or figure. The empty spaces between the shapes or forms are called negative spaces or ground.

POINT OF VIEW – the way you see shapes and forms depends on where or what angle you are viewing it from – this is called point of view. A person’s perception of what an objects looks like is based upon their point of view.

DEPTH – Artists can create the illusion of depth on a two dimensional surface using the technique called perspective. There are three parts to a picture or drawing, which in art is called the picture plane. The part of the picture plane that appears closest to the viewer is called the foreground. The part the appears farthest away is called the background. The area in between is called the middle ground. Artists use other techniques to help them create the illusion of depth.

Overlapping: when one object covers part of a second object, the first object seems to be closer to the viewer. The objects must be opaque for this illusion to work.

Size: Large objects appear to be closer to the viewer than small objects. The farther the objects the smaller it appears.

Placement: Objects placed either high or Iowan the picture plane seem to be closer to the viewer than objects placed closer to eye level.

Detail: Objects with clear, sharp edges and visible details seem to be close to a viewer. Objects that lack detail and have hazy outlines seem to be farther away.

Color: brightly colored objects seem closer to the viewer and objects with dull, light colors seem to be farther away.

WHAT DIFFERENT SPACES, SHAPES, AND FORMS EXPRESS

The outline of a shape and the surface of a form carry messages.

Free form shapes and forms: used by artists to symbolize living things smooth, curved outlines and surface please and soothe viewers appeals to the viewers through memories of pleasant touching experiences i.e. well-worn river rocks, curled-up kittens

Angular shapes: zigzag outlines, forms with sharp projections – sharp, jagged things i.e. broken glass, pointed knives – pain

Geometric shapes: suggests mechanical perfection, clean, crisp lines appeals to people’s idealism, often expresses a spiritual ideal. Unemotional, lack of feeling – appeals to minds rather than emotions

DENSITY: refers to how compact an object is. Dense materials are solid and heavy, they seem unyielding and resist impact – may associate them with protection. In two-dimensional art, shapes with clearly defined outlines are called hard-edge.

Soft, fluffy forms are less dense. They give the impression of giving in to pressure i.e. when you sit on an overstuffed chair they are more comfortable and do not resist you – you can sink into them – they yield. In art soft shapes are suggested by vague, fuzzy edges. These shapes and forms look light, inviting and sometimes even fragile.

ACTIVITY AND STABILITY: as with line, shapes and forms can also give the impression of being active or static. Active shapes and forms seem to defy gravity, they create movement. Static shapes and forms are motionless or stable. Because they are firmly fixed in space they create a feeling of quiet and calm and peace.

Line

ELEMENT OF ART – LINE

DEFINITION: Line is the joining of two surfaces, a dark form against a lighter one

It takes movement to draw a line – it is the path of a dot through space

DIMENSIONS: – Line is one dimensional – it has length but no width

– Dimension – the amount of space an object takes up in one direction

– A line is always longer than it is wide otherwise it would be a shape

– Line can be used to measure things

TWO WAYS LINE CAN CREATE FEELINGS IN A WORK OF ART:

1 . A line speaks by its direction

a) Vertical = static = bold, strong feelings

b) Horizontal = static = calm, restful feelings

c) Diagonal = active = moving, unsteady feelings

2. A line speaks with its type

a) Heavy (like a pipe) – strong masculine feelings

b) Rigid (stonewall) – ordered, repeated feelings

c) Flowing Curved  (aerodynamic) – smooth, feminine feelings

d) Zigzag (irregular) – tense feelings, confusion

e) Delicate (like thread) – fragile feelings

TOOLS USED TO MAKE LINES:

Pencils, markers, pens, brushes, scissors, etc.

MATERIALS USED TO MAKE LINES: (create lines with tools} chalk, crayon, ink, paint

IMPLIED LINE: A line that is not actually drawn – a series of points that your eye connects – examples: footprints in the sand, lines on a divided highway

CONTOUR LINE: Simplest type of line drawing – defines the edges and surface ridges of an object – to show the outline of an object

GESTURE LINE: Expressive line that captures the feelings of motion to show the interior of an object

CALLIGRAPHY LINE: Means “Beautiful Writing” – usually made with brushstrokes that change from thick to thin in one stroke