/educators/lessons/grade-9-12/Rhythm_and_Art_Element_of_Art

Rhythm and Art: Elements of Art

Learning about the three elements of art: line, shape, and color.

Overview

Key Staff

Primary Instructor

Key Skills

Developing Arts Literacies: Understanding Genres, Analyzing and Evaluating - Critique

Summary

Students will learn about the three elements of art (line, shape, and color) through a study of Torres-García's symbolism, Picasso's emotional use of color in his Blue and Rose Periods, and Abstract Expressionism. They will apply their new vocabulary to images by a variety of artists from different time periods.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Understand how non-verbal language is manipulated to communicate a thought or an emotion (through the study of Torres-García's symbolism, Picasso's emotional use of color in his Blue and Rose Periods, and Abstract Expressionism).
  • Dissect the relationships between elements and principles; specifically line, shape, and color, and their maximum and minimum contrast.

Teaching Approach

  • Thematic
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Comprehensive Arts Education

Teaching Methods

  • Discovery Learning
  • Discussion
  • Experiential Learning
  • Reflection
  • Research

Assessment Type

Observation

Preparation

What You'll Need

Materials
Resources
Required Technology
  • 1 Computer per Learner
  • 1 Computer per Small Group
  • Projector
Technology Notes

Internet Access is needed.

Lesson Setup

Teacher Background

This lesson is an overview of three elements of art: line, shape, and color. You may divide this lesson into three lessons (one for each element), explaining in detail the definitions and characteristics of each element.

Prior Student Knowledge

Students should be familiar with the basic genres of visual art (drawing, painting, etc.)

Physical Space

Classroom

Grouping

Small Group Instruction

Accessibility Notes

Students with visual impairments or disabilities may need modified handouts or texts.

Instruction

Resources in Reach

Here are the resources you'll need for each activity, in order of instruction.

Engage
Reflect

Engage

1. Select a video from The Artist's Toolkit and show it to students. A link to the Artist's Toolkit is available in the Resource Carousel. Ask them what they noticed in the video. Ask them what they know about “elements of art.”

2. Next, explain that you are going to learn some of the terminology to be able to discuss art. Go over the following new vocabulary words with students and have them print the words and definitions on eight 3" x 5" cards. Students should print the word on one side and the definition on the other side of each card.

  • Organic line: a mark with length and direction that forms an irregular shape, or one that might be found in nature, rather than a regular, mechanical shape
  • Inorganic line : a mark with length and direction that is straight and forms a geometric shape
  • Shape: a form that refers to the distance or area between, around, above, below, or within an element or part of an element
  • Geometric shape: any shape or form having a more mathematic than organic design. Geometric designs are typically made with straight lines or shapes from geometry, including circles, ovals, triangles, rectangles, squares, and other quadrilaterals
  • Repetition: a principle of design; refers to a way of combining elements of art so that the same elements are used over and over again
  • Rhythm: a principle of design; refers to a way of combining elements of art to produce the look and feel of movement, especially with a visual tempo or beat
  • Pattern: a form or model proposed for imitation
  • Color: an element of art with three properties:
    • Hue or Tint: the color name (e.g., red, yellow, blue, etc.)
    • Intensity: the purity and strength of a color (e.g., bright red or dull red)
    • Value: the lightness or darkness of a color

Build Knowledge

1. Show students images of works of art, separated by their use of lines, shape, and color in their maximum and minimum contrast. If you do not have postcards, use old magazines, cut-out images, or print images from the Internet (see Internet Resources section). Introduce each element, asking students to look carefully at the postcards, only two at a time. Explain to students that many of the vocabulary terms relate to math. Ask them to keep an eye out for geometric shapes in the works of art shown.

Some examples of artists whose works could be used to develop an in-depth understanding of the elements of art include:

  • S.A. Jones, Willem de Kooning, Louis Morris, and Jackson Pollock, to represent the use of organic lines
  • Stuart Davis, Vassily Kandinsky, Joan Miro, Louise Nevelson, and Georgia O'Keeffe (see O'Keeffe's Evening Star, specifically), to represent the use of shapes.
  • Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, and Alvin Loving, to represent the use of geometric shapes
  • Helen Frankthaler and Robert Motherwell, for organic shapes
  • For the repetition of shapes, show Alexander Calder, Vassily Kandinsky, and Andy Warhol (see Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, specifically)
  • Umberto Boccioni, Stuart Davis, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, and Vincent van Gogh, for rhythm (movement)
  • Gustav Klimt, Larry Poons, Victor Vasarely, and Pre-Columbian textiles, for patterns
  • Roberto Matta, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Rothko, for color
  • Show Robert Delaunay, for color patterns.

Apply

1. Encourage students to respond by matching the new vocabulary cards with the postcards of the artworks. Place two postcards close to each other and tell students the names of the two artists as well as the titles of their works. Ask compare and contrast questions such as:

  • Which one is a study of shapes?
  • Which one has brighter colors?
  • Which shows visual rhythm? Movement?
  • Which shows repetition of lines? Shapes? Colors?
  • Which has organic lines? Geometric shapes?
  • Can you see repeated patterns? Where?

2. Give students two other postcards and have them repeat the same activity in small groups.

3. Have students visit the interactive art Web site The Artist's Toolkit. Have students explore the elements of line, shape, and color on the website, use the "Find" and "Create" tools, and discuss their results.

Reflect

1. Have each student choose 2 cards with works of art on them, preferably cards they did not use in the previous steps.    

2. Have students write a brief essay on the following question: Using the vocabulary and elements we discussed in class, compare the two works of art in front of you.

3. Have students complete the Self-Assessment Guide that can be found in the Resource Carousel

Assessment

Evaluate student performance based on their Self-Assessment Guide and their understanding of the vocabulary discussed as evidenced by their essays.

Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment through a set of common learning goals and assessments. In 2010, Standards were released for English language arts and mathematics. Common standards have not yet been released for science, social studies, and other subject areas, including the arts. In addition, some states have yet to, or have chosen not to, adopt the Common Core standards.

During this transitional period, ArtsEdge will present all relevant state and nationals standards as they apply to our lessons.

National Standards for Arts Education

For the full text of the content and achievement standards in Arts Education, visit our Standards section.

ArtsEdge Lessons connect to the National Standards for Arts Education, the Common Core Standards, and a range of other subject area standards.

Common Core/State Standards

Select state and grade(s) below, then click "Find" to display Common Core and state standards.

National Standards For Arts Education
Visual Arts

Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

National Standards in Other Subjects
Geography

Geography Standard 10: Understands the nature and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics

World History

World History Standard 8: Understands how Aegean civilization emerged and how interrelations developed among peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia from 600 to 200 BCE

Credits

Writers

Teresa Ghiglino
Original Writer

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard
Adaptation

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with the support of

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