Types of Representational Art
• Trompe l’oeil
• Paintings of Subjects
Representation of Subjects
Abstract vs. Non-Objective
The Transformation of Picasso
The Transformation of Mondrian
Form is made up of:
The Elements of Art:
• Time and Motion
The Principles of
• Harmony and Variety
The emotional or intellectual message of a work
of art is its content--a statement, expression or
mood developed by the artist and interpreted by
Subject: A Kiss
The next images show same subject in different
forms. The form of the subject affects the
content, or meaning of the piece.
• The symbolic meaning of signs, subjects, and
• Based on tradition and culture.
• Symbolism of icons depicts meaning rather
than the actual objects depicted.
Same Icon, Different Meanings in
Different Times and Cultures
Subject, Form, and Content work
together to make Organic Unity
Organic Unity is a condition in which the
components of art are completely interdependent
and the resulting wholeness is vital to a
Think of this as a successfully completed meal.
Basic Concepts of 2D Art
• Figure or Positive Shape - The subject of an
• Ground or Negative Space - The background
or environment around the main subject of the
The Picture Plane
• In 2D visual art the picture plane refers to the
flat surface onto which the medium is applied.
It generally refers to the surface of an image,
especially in the case of illusionary depth. The
illusion of depth and three dimensionality that
accompanies certain types of pictures is
described as penetrating the picture plane.
Chapter 2 : Form
The Principles of Organization
Key Principles of Organization
Harmony and Variety
Harmony and Variety
• Harmony - The appearance or condition of
oneness or unity. All elements work together
for a cohesive whole.
• Variety - Diversity of elements in a work.
Most artwork balances the two ideas
Harmony: Repetition and
Repetition and Rhythm
• Repetition - repeating certain elements gives a
composition unity, flow and emphasis.
• Rhythm - created through related variations of
dominant and subordinate elements in a
• Pattern- aka motif, a model that is repeated
numerous times. Can be repetition of an item
• Closure- a concept from Gestalt psychology in
which the mind perceives an incomplete
pattern or information to be a complete unified
• Gestalt- an organized whole where the sum is
greater than its individual parts.
Visual Linking- when elements of a composition
actually share space by any of the following:
• shared edges
Harmony: Linking Through
Linking Through Extensions
Also known as directional forces. Implied edges,
lines or shapes create a system of visual
These implied elements lead your eye around a
Characteristics of Directional
• An additional guide to the viewer on where to
look in a piece.
• Reveals underlying visual structure.
• Typically, verticals are suggest stillness and
grandeur, horizontals suggest rest and space,
and diagonals suggest motion and activity.
Juxtaposes dissimilar elements
• Visual interest
• Emphasis of a point
• Expression of Content
• Emphasis - tool artists use to draw attention to
an area. If area is the main focus of the work it
is called the focal point.
• Subordination - keeps lesser important areas
from distracting from the focal point.
With these, an artist guides us where to look.
• Discord- Unrelated parts are put together and
variety outweighs harmony. If controlled it
creates visual excitement, if not it creates
Characteristics of Balance
• In 2D it is a visual achievement of
• In 3D it is not only a visual achievement, but
also a physical achievement.
• Things can be balanced symmetrically,
radially, or asymmetrically.
Factors that affect Balance
• Position or placement of elements in design.
• Size of elements
• Proportion of elements to the whole
• Character and direction of elements
• The visual weight or force of an area within an
artwork depends on the amount of attention
that area draws. This becomes an area of
• Where there are moments of increased visual
impact, these points of interest create moments
of force, which results in a controlled visual
tension and a total balance of the work as a
Characteristics of Symmetrical Balance
• Things distributed equally among both sides
along an imaginary centerline.
• Sides match exactly or nearly.
• Makes things comprehensible at a glance
• Connotes permanence and poise. Often used to
depict the divine in religious imagery.
Characteristics of Asymmetrical Balance
Both sides of image not equally dispersed.
Rather various elements are balanced according
to compositional tools such as:
• Large forms vs. small
• Weight of form in relation to picture plane
• Complexity of form
• Warm vs. cool colors
• Saturation of color
Weight of Form in Relation to Picture Plane
Large Form vs. Small Form
Complexity of Form
Warm vs. Cool Colors
Saturation of Color
Scale and Proportion
Scale and Proportion Defined
• Scale - The size relation of one whole thing to
another, usually to a standard unit of
• Proportion - The size relationship of parts to a
Ways to Achieve Dominance
Dominance is also like emphasis/subordination, becomes a
way to strive for interest through emphasizing degrees of
importance. Creates a focal point. Ways to create dominance:
• Scale or Proportion
Scale or Proportion
examples of hierarchical scaling