All Things Visible - Visual Features 1
Question for Understanding
What lines, shapes, values (lights and darks), and colors did the maker use?
Art Making Question
If you were planning to make an artwork, how do you suppose you might begin to think about what lines, shapes, values, and colors you would use?
Students recognize different types of line.
Students recognize different types of shape.
Students recognize differences in value (lights and darks).
Students recognize differences in color.
Activity Ideas for All Students
Explain that students will be learning about the lines, shapes, values, and colors artists use and that these same visual features are all around us every day. Ask students to point to the following visual features in their classroom: vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines; straight and curved lines; a geometric shape and an organic shape from nature; something very dark or black; something very light or white; and as many colors as they can find and name.
Show the DVD segment, “All Things Visible,” asking students to watch for lines, shapes, values, and colors, both in painting and in sculpture. Give students practice and feedback by using some or all of the interactive “All Things Visible” CD activities, which you can project for an entire class or which individual students can view in a computer lab. Students can use the CD to 1) review what they learned on the DVD, 2) apply what they learned to their everyday visual world, and 3) recognize how inquiry into visual features applies to old and new art.
Collect old magazines, catalogs, and newspapers and ask students to work in groups to find, cut out, label, and display lines, shapes, values, and colors. For example groups can make displays of varieties of line quality (diagonal, vertical, and horizontal lines), organic and geometric shapes, interesting negative shapes, contrasting values, examples of gradual value change, warm and cool colors, and both low intensity (dull) and high intensity (bright) colors.
Ask groups to analyze the visual features of an artwork and share their analysis with the class.
Activity Ideas for Art Students
In a critique, ask students to analyze the visual features in their own and classmates’ work. This activity is more meaningful when combined with another question (for example, function or artist’s intention) so that students explain how visual elements are used for a purpose.
Complementary Activities from Stories of Art
A K-12 curriculum resource from CRIZMAC
- The theme, Our Place in the World, is based on “Fee of the Meadow People,” the story of a young woman’s coming of age and the symbols (shapes on ceremonial cape) of her adulthood.
- The theme, Great Teachers Long Ago, is based on “Garama, the Teacher,” a story of balance in one’s life and in one’s art.
- The theme, Spiritual Worlds, is based on “The Old Whistler,” a story of childhood grief and the sustaining comfort of patterns in sound, sight, and ideas.
- The theme, When Cultures Meet, is based on “A New Home,” a story of a young man who learns to create illusions with light and dark.
- The theme, Revolution, is based on “The Revolutionaries,” a story of a young man whose vision of harmony (focal point) opens a doorway for reconciliation.
- The theme, Technology, is based on “Ellorna’s Puzzling Case,” a story about a young woman whose experiments with straps, string, grasses, and bamboo (linear forms) bring prosperity to her family.
Supplementary Online Lessons
“Protest and Persuasion” – Lesson Three: Shaping Ideas
“Celebrating Excellence in Ceramics” – Lesson Three: Expressive Patterns