Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Elements and Principles of Art


What defines your own tastes in art work? Can you put it into words? Is it "I just like it!" ? Or do you have a clear reason? If you put a collection of your work out in front of you, how can you sum up your style?

Finding your own voice in Art actually can take some studying. As an art student, I just figured, things would happen naturally, and if someone was 'famous' it was because they had massive talent, or in this world today, great self promotion. Many people who have no formal art training, do very well with their work already. Although there is usually room in anyone's work for some fine tuning.

As an Art teacher, I found the most success in student's work came from insisting the students used the elements and principles of design. No matter how I taught it, it didn't come easily for the students to really think about this when working, but when a student said to me 'Mrs. Lambert, I used complementary colors and look what happened! That's when they see the magic of using what they were taught. Comments like that would just make my day. Teaching can be a tough, tough job, but the rewards like this keep the teachers coming back every August and September.

One year, the final exam in my Art 1 class was to work in their altered book and to use a specific list of design elements. Two hours of work, two pages. Students mentioned to me 'this was the most fun exam I have ever taken' (who says an exam has to be brutal?) and 'this is the best page in my altered book. I should have done this before'
Which taught me something too. Insist on students listing what elements/principles they have used or that they have a plan before starting. This led to me learning also, that a 'block' of 'I can't think of something to draw/paint/whatever' doesn't happen to someone if they decide what their plan for elements is.

Did it happen naturally for the master painters? Did DaVinci say, 'I'm going to use line and color to balance this painting' ? Does a child think that? Who knows about DaVinci, but I do know a child thinks, 'the sky looks empty. I'll put a big sun there' already with a taste for balance in their drawing. Very possibly, my thoughts as an art student were correct. It's natural thing to have a good design. But extremely possible, is your own work will flourish with a bit of studying and planning. My own work changed drastically when I decided (I hate at an age of at least over 40 ) to practice what I preach. (duh!) After this revelation, not only did my work change, but so did my teaching! Lucky, to learn from my students success. :-)

Check back to this blog for some 'lessons' and exercises in the elements and principals of art. I'm not teaching school anymore, and have some time to put a few things on my blog for anyone interested in stretching their personal art zone.
Intrigued? Ask yourself. What is it about the picture posted that I like? Possibly you clicked on this post because of that picture. It doesn't matter why because there is no right answer. (isn't art the coolest?) But keep it in mind and try to carry one of those reasons into your own work for at least one piece. ( Look at my piece in the previous post. Can you see something similar? )

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