Elements and Principles of Design Activity

(Title Image Credit: elementaryartresources.com)

The Tyler Museum of Art contains artwork that exemplifies the elements and principles of design. This lesson activity asks students to identify how the elements and principles of design are used in selected artworks from the Tyler Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection.

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.


This lesson plan activity is connected to the Tyler Museum of Art’s Elements and Principles of Design Lesson Plan, which was previously posted on this Education Blog. This lesson discusses how selected artworks from the museum’s permanent collection exhibit each elements and principle of design. It can be used as an example and a reference for the elements and principles of design activity.

To access the original lesson plan, click the image below to visit the lesson plan page, or download the lesson plan document by clicking the link:


Elements of Design: Activity


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.

Carol Benson, Four Wire Bowls, 2010, oil and encaustic on steel, 24 inches X 24 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

How did Carol Benson use line to create depth and perspective? Explain your answer.


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.

Valton Tyler, Freezing Point, 1971, ink on paper, 23 inches X 34.5 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

How did Valton Tyler use shape to develop his unique city view? Explain your answer.


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.

Piero Fenci, White Crown Turbine, 2005, earthenware sculpture, 24 inches X 12 inches X 12 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

How did Piero Fenci use organic and geometric forms to create White Crown Turbine?


Space

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

Ancel E. Nunn, The Elysian Fields, ca. 1987, print, edition 88 of 100, 18 inches X 26 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.

How does Ancel E. Nunn create a dramatic sense of depth and distance in The Elysian Fields?


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.

Karl Umlauf, Red River, 1958, oil on paper and mounted on Masonite, 13 inches X 18 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How does Karl Umlauf use color to express the energy and motion seen in Red River?


Value

https://tylermuseum.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/76BD1F3B-7B74-4F60-A2AD-709944850710

Ed Blackburn, Painting Number 8, 1986, oil on canvas, 78 inches X 100 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How does Ed Blackburn use value to create suspense and visual tension in Painting Number 8?


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.

Clyde Connell, Hearth Stones, 1980, mixed media, 77 inches X 14 inches X 14 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How does Clyde Connell’s use of texture affect the natural qualities of Hearth Stones?


Principles of Design: Activity

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.

John Pomara, Re-Wind, 1998, oil, enamel, and verathana on canvas, 78 inches X 59 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How does John Pomara balance the black orb, the black orb shadow, and the blue-black paint splatter in Re-Wind?


Unity

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

Lance Letscher, Red Line, 2005, found paper collage on Masonite, 34.8 inches X 22.5 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How does Lance Letscher unify the paper collage elements in Red Line?


Variety

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

Ai Souza, Untitled (Gross Harlequinade), 1987, screen print, 26 inches X 33 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How does Ai Souza use a variety of elements and principles of design to create his screen print Untitled (Gross Harlequinade)?


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.

Melissa Miller, Anima, n.d., color etching on paper, 11 inches X 14 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

What is the emphasis point in Melissa Miller’s etching Anima? How does it affect the composition?


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.

David Bates, Cannas, 2003, oil on canvas, 72 inches X 48 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How does David Bates use line and color to create movement in his painting Cannas?


Pattern

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

Jon Flaming, Fruit Stand, East Texas, 2005, acrylic on Masonite, 23.5 inches X 29.25 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How does Jon Flaming use pattern to imply speed, time, and the landscape in his painting Fruit Stand, East Texas?


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.

Bill (William) Montgomery, Living Room, 1988, oil pastel on paper, 22 inches X 30 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas

How did Bill (William) Montgomery use proportion to express distance and scale in his composition Living Room?


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

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