18th Annual High School Art Exhibition: Elements and Principles of Design

For the past 18 years, the Tyler Museum of Art exhibits high school artwork from students in the East Texas area. This lesson examines selected artwork from the 18th Annual High School Art Exhibition to discuss how each piece conveys the elements and principles of design.

The lesson was written by Hannah Cammack, a Spring 2022 High School Intern at the Tyler Museum of Art. The lesson was edited by Rachel Anthony, the Tyler Museum of Art Education Manager.

If you use or reference this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback. The lesson plan can be downloaded in the link below.


Elements of Design


Line

An element of design; line is created on a surface with a pointed moving tool. Lines can range in size, width, texture, and presentation. Common types of line are vertical, horizontal, diagonal, zig-zag, and curved.

Danielle Lawrence, Trip to Space, 2021, ink on paper, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Danielle Lawrence’s work, Trip to Space, line is found in the following locations:

  • The background: the shapes are made from lines in different groups.
  • The background lines are stacked on top of each other to create depth.
  • The base of the mushroom is comprised of vertical lines
  • The snail’s shell is a curved line.

Shape

An element of design; shape is a two-dimensional enclosed space that represents either an organic shape or a geometric shape. Geometric shapes include squares, circles, rectangles, triangles and other standard geometric shapes. Organic shapes include natural non-geometric shapes that are developed from curvilinear lines.

Joshua Sheffield, Second Glance, 2022, marker on paper, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Joshua Sheffield’s work, Second Glance, shape is found in the following locations:

  • The entire piece is comprised of shapes.
  • There are organic shapes as well as geometric shapes.
  • The organic shapes make up the background and the mouths of the faces.
  • The eyes of the faces are made out of ovals.

Form

An element of design; form is a three-dimensional enclosed space that represents organic and geometric shapes in a third space. Geometric forms include cubes, spheres, triangular prisms, rectangular prisms, and cones. Organic shapes include three-dimensional forms observed in nature, such as trees, rivers, and rocks.

Hannah Davis, An Anxious Buzz, 2021, acrylic paint on black canvas, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Hannah Davis’s work, An Anxious Buzz, form is found in the following locations:

  • The body is a 3D form.
  • The light source is above the body’s left shoulder.
  • The shadows on the skin are purple.
  • The shadows on the clothes are gray and black.

Space

An element of design; this term defines the surface area between, before, and behind an object in a composition.

Brianna Sparks, The Key, 2022, gouache on canvas, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Brianna Sparks’ work, The Key, space is found in the following locations:

  • The bird is in between the foreground and the background.
  • The bars of the cage in the background appear to curve inwards towards the bird, giving depth.
  • The white light behind the cage is reflected off of the bird’s feathers.
  • The plants and leaves make up the foreground of the painting.

Color

An element of design; this term defines the pigments used in a painting. Color can be organized into categories, such as: hues, values, complements, and intensity.

Taylor Thompson, Self-Portrait from a Dream, 2021, acrylic on canvas, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Taylor Thompson’s work, Self-Portrait from a Dream, color is found in the following locations:

  • The entire piece relies on color, as there are no defined lines or shapes.
  • The artist uses the different colors to define form and moods.
  • The red color makes up the subject while the green color makes up the background. The complementary color scheme helps balance the composition.

Value

Value is a spectrum applied to a hue. The color can have a dark value or a light hue. This process of changing the value is caused by adding white for light hues and black for dark hues.

Daniel Cabrera, Lucy’s Paradise, 2021, scratchboard, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Daniel Cabrera’s work, Lucy’s Paradise, value is found in the following locations:

  • In the dog’s fur, there is bright white value as well as dark black.
  • The range of value not only shows the fur’s color, but also shows where the light source is located.
  • In the background, the value shows the door behind the dog.
  • The range in value helps define the form of the dog and the texture of the fur.

Texture

An element of design; this term defines an artwork’s surface. The artist’s use of the chosen medium creates either implied or actual texture.

Garrett Huffman, Open Mind, 2021, mixed media, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Garrett Huffman’s work, Open Mind, texture is found in the following locations:

  • The sculpture presents actual texture with real objects, instead of implied texture on a 2D plain.
  • The base is covered in rocks, giving a sharp and hard texture.
  • The “legs” of the piece are curved, giving the sculpture an organic form.
  • The flowers in the mind stand out against the texture of the moss on the head.

Principles of Design


Balance

A principle of design; this term defines the arrangement of the presented imagery with the elements of design. It refers to either asymmetrical compositions or symmetrical compositions.

Riley Wilbur, Susceptible, 2022, acrylic on canvas, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Riley Wilbur’s work, Susceptible, balance is found in the following locations:

  • The skeleton in the upper left is balanced with the words in the bottom right.
  • The empty spaces below the skeleton and above the words balance each other out as well.
  • The feathery brushstrokes in the background are balanced by the well-defined form of a skeleton, and the actual texture of the sewn words.

Unity

A principle of design; this term defines how the elements and principles of design are combined within a composition.

Jerrod Smith, Defiance, 2021, acrylic on canvas, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Jerrod Smith’s work, Defiance, unity is found in the following locations:

  • The brushstrokes add unity to the piece because they are across the whole painting and show a cohesive style.
  • The brushstrokes throughout the painting are quick, which gives the piece a unifying feeling of high energy.
  • The colors blend together well and unify the bird to the background.
  • Orange is used in the form of the bird and in the highlights of the grey-green background.

Variety

A principle of design; this term defines the combination of imagery, objects, and ideas in an artwork.

Rebecca Longacre, Vivid Vermeer, 2022, Oil and acrylic on canvas, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Rebecca Longacre’s work, Vivid Vermeer, variety is found in the following locations:

  • The various painted colors that build the figure show variety, such as the greens, violet, blue, yellow, and skin tone hues.
  • The added materials convey variety; the realistically painted pearl stands out from the magazine cutouts and fabric.
  • The different painting styles incorporated into the piece also exhibits variety. The face is designed with modular color. The shoulder and head wrap exhibit slight blending between pigments. The pearl is realistically rendered with light and shadow. Lastly, the black background, paired with the concentric red rings, creates an abstract emphasis point.

Emphasis

A principle of design; this term defines the most prominent area in a composition. The viewer’s eye is drawn to this point because the artist used a mixture of the elements and principles of design.

Charlie Benefield, Stage Fright, 2022, paint on canvas, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Charlie Benefield’s work, Stage Fright, emphasis is found in the following locations:

  • The red streak on the wall draws the viewer’s eye to the center of the piece.
  • The singer’s pink hair has the same effect as the red streak.
  • The background is in black and white, making the red and pink hues stand out even more.

Movement

A principle of design; this term defines the visual movement observed in a painting. This can be identified as kinetic movement or implied movement. Additionally, movement can be defined as how the viewer’s eye moves throughout the composition.

Isabella Theye, Esoteric Fray, 2022, pen, pencil, colored pencil on canvas, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Isabella Theye’s work, Esoteric Frey, movement is found in the following locations:

  • The rainbow hand appears to scatter the puzzle pieces, causing the viewer’s eye to follow the puzzle’s movement.
  • The eye moves throughout the piece to look at the focal points in each corner, as well as in the middle.
  • Once the viewer has identified one of the rendered objects, the eye then travels to a new object. This creates a continuous cycle of movement within the composition.

Pattern

A principle of design; this term defines the repetitive imagery and elements of design found in a composition.

Frank “Buck” Buchanan, The First Duck, 2021, pen and ink on paper, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Frank “Buck” Buchanan’s work, The First Duck, pattern is found in the following locations:

  • Each feather has a distinct pattern and cover the duck’s form: a rounded square shape that is surrounded by a colorless (white) oval.
  • Due to the similar style in feathers, the duck is primarily comprised of pattern.
  • A similar pattern of a dark spot surrounded by a white shape is identified in the duck’s head, bill, and leg.
  • The person’s coat sleeve has a pattern of leaves and tree bark.

Proportion

A principle of design; this term defines the comparative size between objects in the composition. It can refer to the imagery within a painting or the size between a sculpture and a real object.

Kristin Parson, Clothed in Faith, 2022, oil painting with paper cutout, exhibited in the 18th Annual High School Exhibition, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

In Kristin Parson’s work, Clothed in Faith, proportion is found in the following locations:

  • The figure on the swing is very small compared to the large face in the background.
  • Since the figures are representing the same individual, the comparative proportion of the smaller figure is emphasized.

You can see all of these artworks in-person at the Tyler Museum of Art’s current exhibition: 18th Annual High School Art Exhibition. Visit the exhibition page by clicking on the image below.


For more educational resources created by the Tyler Museum of Art, visit our YouTube page by clicking on the YouTube button or clicking the link below.

If you use or references this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback.

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