Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

RE: what teach elements and principles for?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Fields, Linda (
Mon, 26 Oct 1998 09:11:17 -0500

Hope you don't mind some extra answers. I teach the elements and principles
too. I teach them the 1st quarter to Art I and review for upper levels. My
rationale is that we all need to speak the same language when communicating
about art. If I talk about organic shapes, or contrast, or emphasis in my
students' work, they will need to understand the terms I am using. Aside
from that, are they not the basic building blocks of any piece of art? I
explain that every discipline has its own vocabulary, and this is ours. And
yes, I do still teach abstract expressionism because I think it helps kids
relate to the expression of emotion in artwork. Adolescents have a hard time
dealing with anything that doesn't "look real." I want them to expand their
Linda in NC
> ----------
> From: skc[SMTP:skc203]
> Sent: Friday, October 23, 1998 9:49 AM
> To: Robert Alexander Fromme;
> Subject: Re: what teach elements and principles for?
> Bob,
> I hope you don't mind that I ask you some questions:
> 1)What are the values of teaching elememts and priciples of a design
> to students?
> 2)When one talks about elements and priciples, it seems that they are
> the components of abstract expressionism.
> Do you think art teachers still need to consider to teach abstract
> expressionism, even though the contemporary art world has paid less
> attention on that.
> Thanks a lot!
> Kevin Smith
> ---Robert Alexander Fromme <rfromme> wrote:
> >
> > At 01:14 AM 10/22/98 EDT, Kim in Oregon wrote:
> >
> > >I want to make a poster for the Elements of Art and one for the
> Principles of
> > >Design. .....(parts deleted)....I give there a
> > somewhere????
> >
> > Welcome to the wonderful world of art education, Kim. On this one
> you get
> > to make up the rules (based upon the ages of your students and the
> degree of
> > formal discussion you want to try to incorporate into your lessons).
> >
> > Keep in mind that the words, (as you try to verbally communicate
> about
> > non-verbal phenomenon) have little direct relationship to the visual,
> > tactile ......perceptual, explanation required for an effective
> examination
> > of creative form in art class. As a result, if the students are
> young, a few
> > elements chosen by you to fit specific art examples in the course of
> study
> > will probably serve you more effectively then the full list of
> elements and
> > principles.
> >
> > Yes, I know .....about now you are saying.....that isn't much help.
> So,
> > keeping traditional examples of work from art history in mind, a
> list of
> > elements which includes point, line, shape, value, color, texture,
> form and
> > space will work. This short list will keep you quite busy if your
> students
> > are in elementary or middle school.
> >
> > If the students are in high school, you may choose to elaborate your
> list to
> > include under color, the concepts of hue, value and intensity (or
> color
> > name, tone and saturation(purity)...or any other method of
> explaining the
> > aspects of color). You may also choose to explaine that light is also
> > considered one of the elements and its addition to the mix now
> forces us to
> > consider the hues (compliments of reflected light) and the
> compliments of
> > projected light. (Yellow, Red, and Blue of surface color primaries
> vs. Red,
> > Green and Blue primaries of light ....or if you really want to get
> deeper
> > into color, try your hand at the CYMK , Blue, Yellow, Red and Black
> used in
> > printing many computer generated color images. )
> >
> > If you also want to add to the student's confusion, you can throw in
> time
> > and physical movement as two additional elements which are
> important in the
> > creation and appreciation of many recent works.
> >
> > So, if you want the long list, you can include; point, line, shape,
> > reflected color (with its three aspects), texture, shape, form,
> space, light
> > (with its color, brightness, contrast and intensity), time and
> physical
> > motion. These are also the elements which one usually confronts in
> the
> > traditional college curriculum, yet, they will probably create more
> problems
> > then they solve if they are all included as part of the learning in
> the
> > early grades.
> >
> > Perhaps the primary lesson for any discussion of the elements of art
> > involves their interconnected roles in the organization of form.
> (You
> > know.......lines and colors and value and textures can all serve to
> create
> > shapes or varied lines can be compressed to create the illusion of
> texture
> > or compressed more to suggest value which can suggest shadows and
> forms in
> > space (stiippling, hatching, crosshatchiing, etc, etc, etc,)
> >
> > Now, your choice of principles in the list will also serve you best
> if you
> > can look at the particular art works that you want to examine in the
> class
> > and then include those principles which can be demonstrated as you
> look at
> > formal structure in those work. Here, you will discover that the
> principles
> > have a way of doubling up on you, or like animals headed off to the
> ark,
> > their concepts can be best be communicated and understood if you
> look for
> > opposites and teach them as if they are antagonistic couples. For
> example,
> > to understand unity one must understand the lack of it. To understand
> > emphasis, one must grasp the concept of support or subordinate.
> Movement
> > makes little sense unless we understand stability Contrast, variety
> and
> > elaboration are most effective if we have a foundational
> understanding of
> > unity, harmony and simplicity. Balance requires an appreciation of
> tension
> > lacking balance. Rhythm and repetition are of little help unless we
> > understand singularity and the lack of syncopation. Proportion and
> scale
> > have little to offer until we understand the disturbing effects of
> illogical
> > and non-sequential relationships in space. Economy of effort is best
> > understood against an appreciation of the ornate and some experience
> of the
> > "overworked."
> >
> > I have probably missed something here but this should get you started.
> > Perhaps you can look over the list and see what you want to include
> in your
> > list. You can mention that all of this...(this word game hinting at
> the
> > visual, tactile world of art) has a long tradition spanning the
> history of
> > our craft. Master, trying to explain formal relationships to
> apprentice,
> > master trying to make some sense out of the work of another
> master.....the
> > struggle goes on. Now, with conceptual or "idea art" and directions
> toward
> > events, multimedia, technology, and telecommunication, one wonders
> what new,
> > non-verbal concepts will have to depend of somewhat less then
> effective new
> > words added to our list of elements and principles of in the visual
> arts.
> >
> > Good luck with this project. Make it serve you and your students
> in your
> > classroom. You don't need all those concepts hanging on your wall
> unless you
> > intend to talk about them.
> >
> > Bob
> >
> >
> _________________________________________________________
> Get your free address at