The Elements of Art

Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun by Vincent VanGogh

While exploring one of my favorite Art websites, About.com:Art History, I came across a great explanation of the “Elements of Art”. The author uses the analogy of the Elements of Art being like the “building blocks” that artists use to create their artwork. Similar to how different atoms combine to form other things (ex. hydrogen and oxygen combine to form H2O), the artist combines some or all of the Elements of Art (line, shape, form, space, texture, value, color) to create his painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.

Teaching your students about the Elements of Art will give you a common vocabulary with which to talk about Art, whether it be student work or the work of a master from long ago. An Elements of Art “scavenger hunt” using the work of a famous artist is a fun way to test and reinforce your students’ understanding while exposing them to great works of Art. It’s also a perfect activity for those extra minutes you sometimes find yourself with at the end of a lesson.

Check out About.com:Art History for the full story, complete with links that explain each of the elements. Can you find six of the seven Elements of Art in the painting by Vincent Van Gogh above??

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