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ELEMENT   #1      LINE

Imagine that you are an ART DECTECTIVE. You are going to need some clues if you are going to find out what a painting means. The first clue is really an artist's tool. LINE is one of the elements of design and it is used by all artists and designers. You will need to ask yourself some questions about the painting if you are going to find out what it means. You should stop now and print out the questions listed below. These are your clues. After you have printed the questions click your mouse upon Clue #2. You will find 5 clue sites with important information that you need to print out. The sites will also have exercises that relate to the featured clue. When you arrive at the 5th site you are going to take a field trip to a very famous museum and look at an important work of art. Here is the information and questions that you will need before you visit this artist on your web field trip to the museum.


You can describe the physical characteristics of line and their expressive qualities. Some of the descriptive words that describe paintings are: horizontal, vertical, angular, zigzag, spiral, broken, curving, and diagonal. Can you find these lines in the painting of the week? Circle all the words that describe the lines that you see. Are there other lines that you see that are not included in this list? Next you will want to look for the expressive qualities of the lines you see. Lines are expressive, as well as, descriptive. Here are some words to describe the expressive quality of a variety of lines: Lines that are VERTICAL often create a sense of strength and balance in a composition. THICK lines often make the work of art appear aggressive and strong. THIN lines are sometimes read as delicate and fragile. CURVING lines often create the appearance of harmony, rhythm and gracefullness. ZIGZAG and DIAGONAL lines are read as energetic, explosive, and dramatic. What are the expressive characteristics that you see in this painting?

Line is an important visual element of composition and it will be important for you to explore the lines in the painting to understand the meaning of the work of art.

Complete the exercises below to help you understand LINE and its significance.


Exercises #1-

Materials Needed:


Think of 5 descriptive names for lines and draw them.

For example:  Horizontal line _______________

Next to each adjective draw a line that expresses the emotional character
of that line.  Feel the emotion as you draw each line.






Exercise #2

Materials needed:  

black tempera paint and paintbrush
a paper clip and black tempera paint
a stick and black tempera paint
ball point pen
construction paper
notebook paper

Repeat excercise #1 using a varity of different materials and
papers.  Notice the visual difference and emotive characteristics when
different mediums are used.

It is time to go to Clue #2-The Element of COLOR

You find lots of clues and exercises for you to do
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