78 terms

Chapter 2

I found I could say things with color and shapes and that I couldn't say in any other way- things I had no words for
Georgia O'Keeffe
Visual elements of art
color, shape, line, light, value, texture, space, time, motion
The Language of Art
Instead of using symbols and words to communicate, the language of art relies
on visual elements and principles of design. The composition of these
elements forms the style, form and content of the work. Learning the visual
elements is learning the vocabulary of the language of art.
Visual Elements of Art
Also called the plastic elements of art. Artists use visual elements to express themselves in any
given medium (i.e. drawing, painting, sculpture,
architecture, photography, textiles, ceramics, etc...)
Principles of design
unify, balance, rhythm, scale, proportion
the simplest and the most complex of the elements of art, serves as the basic building block for all art, has the capacity to evoke thoughts and emotions, is thought of as a moving dot, can be used to measure distance. Line may be perceived as delicate, tentative, elegant,
assertive, forceful, or even brutal with its various
expressive qualities.
Lines can be....
straight, curved, vertial, horizontal, diagonal, zigzagged
Types of lines
Contour, actual, impied, psychological.
Contour lines
created by the edge of things. They are perceived when three dimensional shapes curve back into space.
Actual lines
Are connected and continuous.
Implied lines
a discontinuous line that is completed by the viewer due to the context of the piece.
Psychological Lines
A line created by a mental or perceptual connection. (Ex: When a character points towards and object.)
More about line...
"Edges are perceived because the objects differ from the background in
value, texture or color."
Shading creates or models roundness. "One of the hallmarks of Renaissance
painting is the use of implied lines to
create or echo the structures of the
Functions of Line
Outline and shape, create form, create depth, and texture; suggest direction and movement
What lines imply: Horizontal lines
Suggest stability
What lines imply: vertical Lines
Defy gravity and suggest assertiveness
What lines imply: Diagonal Lines
imply movement and directionality
Ways to create texture
modeling, stippling, hatching, cross-hatching
the creation of the illusion of roundness or the third dimension through the use of light and shadow.
the use of a pattern of dots
that thickens and thins.
Using a series of closely spaced parallel lines to achieve shading
a series of lines that run in a different direction and cross one another.
• The areas within a composition that have
boundaries separating them from what
surrounds them; shapes make those areas
• Shapes are formed when intersecting or connected lines enclose space.
• Shape can also be communicated through
patches of color and texture.
is often used to speak about shapes in sculpture and architecture- 3D works of art
refers to the mass or bulk of a 3D work. It is the amount of space it contains
In 3D art, the mass of an object refers to its bulk
Actual mass versus implied mass
• Actual mass occupies three-dimensional space and has measurable volume and weight
• Implied mass creates the illusion of possessing
volume, having weight and occupying three-dimensional
Types of Shapes
Geometric, organic
Geometric shapes
- regular and precise, have
an unnatural mathematical appearance. Example>
rectangles and circles.
- Straight (rectilinear)
- Curved (curvilinear)
Organic Shapes
resemble organism found in nature and thus have a natural appearance.
- Biomorphic shapes
- Amorphous shapes
Biomorphic shapes
• Are said to have a form like a biological entity.
• From the Greek word morphē.
• These shapes are not forced into being defined by nature or the laws of geometry, they ebb and flow as if directed by an inner
life force.
Positive shapes
the object(s) or figure(s) that the viewer focuses on
Negative Shapes
the empty space (or the
space filled with other imagery) left over in
the piece.
Figure-ground relationship
the relationship between the positive and negative
shapes in a piece.
Figure-ground reversals
when the positive and negative shapes in a piece can be reversed or
are ambiguous. "we tend to perceive things in context"
Shape as Icon
• Certain shapes carry with them immediate
associations that resonate within a culture.
- Christian Cross
- Jewish Star of David
- Chinese Yin Yang
Shape is a powerful visual element, and the representation of shape is a powerful design tool.
Light and value
• Visible light is the part of the spectrum of
electromagnetic energy that we can see.
• Light enables us to see lines, shape and
texture, as well as the visible spectrum
through wavelengths of energy that we
recognize through color.
Without light there is no art
• The value of a color of a surface is its
lightness or darkness.
• Value contrast - the degrees of
difference between shades of gray.
• Drawing objects or figures with a high
value contrast makes them easy to see.
• Value pattern describes the variation in
light and dark within a composition.
The gradual shifting from light to dark through a successive gradation of tones across a curved surface.
Descriptive and Expressive
Properties of Value
• Values - blacks, grays and whites
• May be used to describe objects
• May be used to evoke emotional
response in the viewer.
Language connects emotion with color. Color can trigger emotional response in the observer
Dimensions of Color: Hue
A term for the family of color
Dimensions of Color: Cool
colors on the green-blue side of the color wheel
Dimensions of Color: Warm
colors on the yellow-orange-red side of the color wheel
Dimensions of Color: Saturation
the pureness of the color. The purer the color, the greater its intensity
Dimensions of Color: Shades
adding black to a hue
Dimensions of Color: tints
adding white to a hue
Additive color
mixing lights
subtractive color
mixing pigments
primary colors
Color that can not be derived from
the mixing of other colored light.
- Red
- Yellow
- Blue
Secondary colors
created from the overlap or mixing of 2 primary colors.
- Orange
- Green
- Violet
Complementary versus Analogous colors
In pigments, the primary colors are red,
yellow and blue.
They can not be produced from mixing other
tertiary colors
created by mixing pigments or primary and secondary colors.
analogous colors
hues that lie next to each other on the color wheel.
Complementary colors
- colors that lie directly
across from one another on the color wheel.
Local Color
the hue of an object as created by the colors its surface reflects under normal lighting condition.
Optical color
our perceptions of color, which can vary with lighting conditions.
Color as Symbol
• We link mood with color.
• Feelings and behavior can be symbolized with colors
• The symbols and meanings of colors are
culture specific.
-Derived from the Latin word for "weaving"
- Used to describe the surface character of things
through the sense of touch.
- An artist can emphasize or distort the texture of
an object in order to evoke emotional response in
the viewer.
a thick buildup of paint on the surface of the canvas.
Actual Texture
- is tactile, texture you can touch. Example: impasto, which is the most common type of texture used in painting.
Visual Texture
- simulated texture. It looks like a texture but can't really be felt. Example: trompe l'oeil, a French word and style
of painting, that means to trick the eye.
Subversive Texture
texture chosen or created by the artist to subvert or undermine our ideas about the objects they depict.
• Objects exist in three-dimensional space.
• Some art is truly 3D, such as sculpture and
• Other art tries to depict space on a 2D surface,
such as painting.
You can create the illusion of depth by overlapping objects
Ex: circles
Relative Size and Linear Perspective
• The further objects are from the viewer,
the smaller they look.
• Things that are closer to us look larger and things that are further away look
• Artist use different techniques like relative size and linear perspective to create the illusion of depth in a piece of
The Illusion of Depth: Vanishing Point
The point at which parallel lines cone together, or converge
The Illusion of Depth: Horizon Line
The line where the line of sight stops and on which the artist often places the vanishing point.
The Illusion of Depth: Vantage Point
Where (or the height) the viewer is looking from
The Illusion of Depth: One-point persective
when parallel lines in a picture come together at one point, the vanishing point, on the horizon line
The Illusion of Depth: Two-point perspective
When parallel lines in a picture come together at 2 different points on the horizon line.
Atmospheric Perspective
• Also called aerial perspective.
• Texture gradient - closer objects are
perceived as having rougher or more detailed
• Brightness gradient - distant objects are less
Time and motion
Actual Motion:
- Kinetic Art - art that moves.
Example: Mobiles
- Photography
Implied Motion: Stopped time
a style of art that "stops time" in order to imply motion
Implied Motion: Time implied and motion implied
Some works try to imply that motion or time has occurred.
The illusion of Motion
• There is a difference between implied motion and the illusion of
• One implies that the motion has already occurred and the other
implies that the motion is happening right now.
• Early photographic experiments of multiple exposures of
• The blurring of shapes and the repetition of linear patterns
blurring the contours of a figure.
• Blurring outlines to create the illusion of motion.
• Op Art !
• Cinematography and video
• Stroboscopic motion
Op Art
Optical Art, is based on creating optical
sensations of movement through the repetition and
manipulation of color, shape, and line.
when we look at a color for a long period of time and then look away you may briefly see the opposite color due to fatigue of the cornea in
the eyes.