International School of Florence
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The Elements of Art
path of movement
active - passive
bold - delicate
flowing - light
straight - curved
thick - thin
dark - light
broken - continuous
geometric - organic
implied - actual
precise - irregular
contour - outline
solid - void
concave - convex
positive - negative
figure - ground
ambiguous - complete
organic - geometric - free-form
circle - sphere
square - cube
triangle - pyramid-cone
positive – negative
open – closed
filled – empty
actual – implied
interior – exterior
illusion of space
systems of perspective
Visible color spectrum
bright – dull
high key – low key
optical (or atmospheric)
actual (tactual) – visual
simulated – invented
matte – semi-gloss – glossy
Principles of Design
dominant path of movement
Golden Section or Mean
normal – exaggerated – idealized
by focal point
by center of interest
by converging lines
Unity and Variety
by theme and variation
PROPORTION: To put in proper relation with something else.
LINE: A mark with length and direction, created by a point that moves across a surface.
SHAPE: 2-Dimensional objects (circle, square, triangle)
FORM: 3-Dimensional objects ( cone, cube, cylinder, sphere)
THUMBNAIL SKETCH: a small, quick drawing used to get your ideas on paper
CONSTRUCTION LINES: rough line drawings used to give an object mass and volume
LINE-OF-ACTION: designates the movement or action of a character in a drawing
POSITIVE SPACE: area an object occupies.
NEGATIVE SPACE: area around an object.
VALUE: lightness or darkness of an color
CROSSHATCH: multiple perpendicular lines that add value to an object
SMUDGING: using an object to blend values. (not your finger)
COMPOSITION: way of arranging a drawing or painting so it is interesting to look at and equally balanced.
GOLDEN RULE OF THIRDS: a way of breaking down a composition mathematically, focusing on thirds.
BACKGROUND: area within a composition that appears further away from the viewer. Objects appear smaller with less detail.
MIDDLE GROUND: part of a composition that appear between the foreground and back ground.
FOREGROUND: in a scene or artwork , the part that seems closest to you. Objects appear larger and more detailed.
SYMMETRY: both sides of a center line are exactly or nearly the same, like a mirror.
ASYMMETRY: two sides of a composition are different yet balanced
HUE: common name of a color ( i.e. blue, green, etc)
PIGMENT: gives paint it's color.
SPECTRUM : all the colors in the color wheel
PRIMARY : red, blue & yellow
SECONDARY : green, orange & violet ( mix primary colors)
TERTIARY (INTERMEDIATE) : red-orange, yellow-orange, blue green, etc.
ADVANCING COLORS : colors that appear to come towards you (warm colors)
WARM COLORS : red, orange & yellow
COOL COLORS : blue ,violet & green
RECEDING COLORS : colors that appear to be in the background
TRIADIC : colors that create a triangle on the color wheel
ANALOGOUS :colors that are next to each other on the color wheel
COMPLEMENTARY : colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel
INTENSITY : brightness or dullness of a color
OPAQUE : colors that you can't see through
TRANSPARENT : colors that you can see through
VALUE : darkness or a lightness of a color
TINT : color and white
TONE : color and grey
SHADE : color and black
MONOCHROMATIC : a single color and it's tints and shades
PALETTE : colors you paint with or the thing that you put the colors on
MOOD : emotion portrayed within an artwork
VERTICAL : top - to - bottom. This can refer to the placement of objects within a composition or the composition itself.
HORIZONTAL : left - to -right. This can refer to the placement of objects within a composition or the composition itself.
AESTHETICS: To experience a feeling or response to art.
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****Dear fellow art teachers. Please feel free to use my site for inspiration but do not simply copy and paste my lessons and claim them as your own without citation.
© Created by Jessica Russo Scherr/Jessica Perry 2016