The Art Elements Diary: Nov-Dec 2016
This course introduces students to all the Art Elements. It is based on my 20 years of teaching adults and realizing that there are certain things that are commonly overlooked or misunderstood about using line, tone, colour, shape, form, and pattern. This course tries to address the basics and ‘open the door’ on each of the Art Elements to allow students a glimpse of all that there is to learn and understand.
Each week investigates one of the Art Elements, so read further to find out what each session involved about Line, Colour, Tone, Form, and pattern.
“A wonderful and informative experience which I would happily continue with.” Alyson K
“Fantastic introduction to art – or reminder if you have experience. Non threatening but challenging. Will help you appreciate art. It helped me consider what I am doing when I create. I have learnt about all the art elements as I have never taken a formal art class. It has given me confidence in seeing how a composition can be improved.” Gillian T
“A great foundation to understand the stages of learning to draw. Great teacher who explains things really well.” Dianne L
“Worthwhile. It’s surprising the things you learn that you didn’t realise you would when booking!” All the nuances to help direct my drawing from unstructured scribbles to understanding what I’m drawing.” Gary B
“Fantastic insight. Very enjoyable.” Frances P
Session 1: Line
A fun playful session exploring mark making and the use of expressive line. Students are able to use what they learn in this session in whatever style of work they do at home, from abstract to realistic.
Session 2: Colour
A though provoking session that helped students see beyond the beguiling surface of colour and begin to really understand the links between colour, tone, their inter-relationships, and how they all work together.
Session 3: Tone
One of the most important of the 6 sessions teaches students how to observe tone and render it accurately in shades of grey. Get this right and you can turn a flat object into a wonderful 3D looking shape that jumps off the page and engages the viewer. We worked in subdued light to heighten the contrast of light and dark. A really interesting session that resulted in some exciting drawings.
Session 4: Texture
This session gave students the opportunity to focus entirely on surface texture and learn ways of rendering to that shows the qualities of the materials – light, hard, heavy, brittle, shiny, etc. This involved a lot of very hard looking which always gives a really quiet atmosphere in the studio for the whole evening. Students always feel this session goes really fast and can’t quite believe it’s over when I call time at the end. But the drawings are always intense and carefully observed. A really worthwhile experience.
Session 5: Shape and Pattern
This is all about Visual Balance – how do the shapes, colours and marks interact with each other across the surface of the page. What makes a picture look out of balance and how do we make sure our pictures remain balanced and lead the viewer’s eye around the picture towards the focal point. We learn this with inspiration from Kandinsky’s abstract pictures but it works just the same way in representational art as well. This session contrasts with the last one and is much more fun, relaxed and easy going as students play with colour, tissue paper, and collage.
Session 6: Composition
Composition is not one of the Art Elements but I can’t end the course without teaching students at least something about how to ‘put it all together’. Otherwise it would be like I’ve given students all the tools to use, but not shown them how to use them properly. This last session enabled students to create a still life drawing that gave them a chance to think about how they are using line, tone, colour, shape, texture and pattern. It wasn’t too important that they completed their drawings but rather that they were consciously thinking about their use of the Art Elements. But, I think everyone managed to complete their drawings and make a really stunning job of it too. So well done to all my students.
I really hope this has now given you a lot more knowledge and insight into the complexities of using the Art Elements in your work – what ever style you work in at home.