Line is a mark on a surface that describes a shape or outline. It can
create texture and can be thick and thin. Types of line can include
actual, implied, vertical, horizontal, diagonal and contour.
Characteristics of line –
– Defines boundaries
– Implies volume or mass
– Suggests motion or emotion
– Forms patterns and textures
• Line defines contours; most basic visual
• Line in art may mean a single thin stroke
• It may signify the meeting edge of two
• It may refer to the contours – as in
• Line can display strong suggestion of
• Line can produce a sense of tranquility
Barnett Newman, Dionysius,
Yellow Painting, 1949
Barnett Newman, (The Cry)
36x24in., ink on paper
Late Gothic/ Early Renaissance from 1305
• Larger lines
• Smaller lines
in the back
an illusion of
• Implied Line is the line inside the object within in
the art work. For example, an image of a soldier
standing tall has an implied vertical line in the
stance. Each of the lines imply different
• A vertical line can imply nobility.
• A horizontal can imply calm or rest.
• A diagonal line can imply movement. A
curvilinear line can imply grace.
Venus at Her Mirror ("The Rokeby Venus")
The Mourning of Christ
Cappella dell'Arena, Padua
• Contour line is
the outside line,
or the line that
the outer edge
of the object
within the art
THE EXPRESSIVE QUALITY OF THE JAGGED LINES IN
THE WORK . . .
Clyfford Still, 1957, No.1
Shape is an area that is contained within an implied line, or is seen and
identified because of color or value changes.
•Shapes have two dimensions, length and width, and can be geometric or free-
•Shape: geometric and organic shapes; positive and negative shapes; abstract
shapes; and outlined shapes.
Shape / Form
• A shape is an area that is defined in
some way by a line, an edge, a color or a
texture. If we traced around its outline we
would have a shape, silhouette
• Shapes can be geometric – look as if
they were made with a ruler.
• Organic – irregular, uneven shapes of
Hendrik van Steenwyck
St. Jerome in his Study 1624Oil on panel
27 x 21.7 cm
Bequeathed as part of the
Princes Gate Collection, 1978
How many shapes can
Frank Stella, Wolfeboro
Charles Sheeler (American,
oil on canvas
19 1/2 x 12 3/4 in. (49.5 x 32.4
Lines create planes;
planes suggest volume
An enclosed area defined and determined
by other art elements; 2-dimensional.
Space -Actual space is a three-dimensional volume that can be empty or
filled with objects. It has width, height, and depth. Various techniques can be
used to show such visual depth or space.
Space: two-dimensional and three dimensional space; creating space with
different sized and overlapping shapes; and linear perspective.
• Open and Closed
– In a painting, if the viewer’s eyes are led off the
canvas, the space is open, or the painting has an
open frame. If the viewer’s eyes are kept in the
center of the canvas and all the characters and action
are within the edges of the frame, the artist has
composed a closed space or closed frame.
• Positive and Negative
– Positive space takes up space, negative space is
empty. The positive is the material, the negative is
the absence of material.
Open and Closed Space
Sts Mary Virgin,
ohn and Jerome
The Mocking of Christ
piece exhibits and
open frame, the
action leads the
eyes all over the
canvas and off the
edges of the
exhibits a closed
frame, the action
is centered and
the viewer is
focused on the
• Positive space is the space that an object occupies.
• On the left hand side picture, the positive space is the
area that the bottles take up.
• On the right hand side picture, the positive space is
shown as the black objects.
• Negative space is opposite of positive.
• Negative space is the space around an object.
• On the left hand side picture, the negative space is the
white area around the bottles.
• On the right hand side picture, the negative space is
shown as the black area surrounding the bottle.
Artists often use positive space and negative
space to manipulate an object.
For instance, an artist might deliberately leave a
cutout area white, which would be a negative
space. Then, they might add some kind of
pattern in that space to trick the viewer’s eyes.
Brancusi, The Kiss, 1917
Positive and Negative…
All positive space, no negative
space, no room between them.
CONTINUOUS, INFINITE, EVER PRESENT
• Space is the area
between and around
• The space around
objects is often called
negative space has
• Space can also refer
to the feeling of depth.
Real space is three-
dimensional; in visual
art when we can
create the feeling or
illusion of depth we
call it space.
Since objects in our
environment look smaller
when they are farther away,
the easiest way to show
depth is to vary the size of
objects, with closer objects
being larger and more
distant objects being
smaller. As well, we
perceive objects that are
higher on the page and
smaller as being further
away than objects which
are in the forefront of a
Overlapping, vertical, and
We live in a three-dimensional world of depth. When we look around us, some
things seem closer, some further away. The artist can also show the illusion of
depth by using the following means:
Size Vertical Location
Depth of Field
The human eye, like
the camera, has a
limited depth of field. In
other words we focus
on one level and the
objects in front or
behind are often
blurred. When Diego
Velazquez painted Las
Meninas he, along with
many artists painted
everything in focus.
This was part of the
magic of painting as
the viewers perception
was thereby expanded.
This painting by Diego
Velazquez has a
middle ground and
• Value can be flat or graduated
• Can be created by using shading, line or dots.
• Lines can be used to create value in hatching or
• Dots can be used to create value.
• Value can be subdued
Value refers to the degree of dark and light. Value contrasts help us to see and
understand a two dimensional work of art.
Value contrast is also evident in colors, which enables us to read shapes in a
The above graphic is called a Value Scale.
Tonal graduations in color from light to dark produce perspective. Graduation of
tone can add interest to a shape. A graduation from light to dark will cause the
eye to move along the shape. Using black and white paint, many artists make a
rectangular value scale with ten values. Pure white will be at one end, then mix
varying amounts of black and white to create eight shades of gray, increasing in
value, ending with pure black.
•Dramatic use of light
•Light is used to attract our
attention to the most
important part of the
•The relative lightness or
darkness is the value. A
black-and-white photo or
movie involves not only
black and white, but also
different values of gray.
Cast shadows are the
dark shapes tha t
emanate from an object
onto another surface,
revealing the direction
and quality of the light
• Color is very expressive and an exciting element
of art. It appeals strongly to the senses and
• Color can communicate in all different ways, it
can be very powerful thing in art work. Art works
can communicate by color alone. It can cause
HUE – the name of a color
VALUE – the lightness or darkness of a color
INTENSITY – the brightness or dullness of a color
MONOCHROMATIC – many values of one color
ANALOGOUS – colors side by side on the color wheel
COMPLEMENTARY – colors opposite on the color
WARM vs. COOL – red, yellow, orange – blue, green,
• Red, blue, yellow
• Cannot be produced by intermixing other colors
• All other colors are mixed from these 3 colors
Orange, green, violet
Colors mixed from a
of 2 primary colors
Red + Blue = Violet
Blue + Yellow = Green
Red + Yellow = Orange
Color groupings that
create distinct color
One color plus white
3 – 5 colors next to
each other on the color
2 colors directly
opposite each other on
the color wheel
Vincent Van Gogh
one color plus black and white
Violet, black and white were used in this painting
at least 3 – 5 colors next to each other on the color wheel
2 colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel
These colors when mixed create hues of brown Red and green above
What your favorite color says about you!
• Red – You are a nonconformist. You
work hard, are very optimistic, never let your
mood down, and are quick to react.
• Orange – You are warm and friendly
and use care in choosing your friends. You
have a strong sense of justice, and are not
impressed by material things.
• Yellow – You are interested in people
and are glad to be of service to others. You
are critical of mind and learn through
• Green – You are a very good
conversationalist and like people. You have
a keen wit and tend to be alert at all times.
• Blue – You are devoted and truthful
and tend not to show your feelings readily.
People tend to have confidence in you.
• Purple – You like to live like royalty
and enjoy a sense of luxury. You enjoy
beautiful things and have a tendency to the
• White –You are sincere in mind and
heart, you cooperate well, you are efficient
• Gray – You seek perfection and are a
good manager. You are very objective and
seek constant development.
• Black – You are very self-assured and
like meeting interesting people. You are
critical in your choice of companions and
• Brown – You are patient and a hard
worker. You are always ready to help
others, have a strong sense of family loyalty,
and do not take uncalculated risks.
Texture is the surface quality of an object. There are two categories of
texture: real texture and implied texture.
•Real texture refers to how the object would feel if it was touched.
•Implied texture refers to something that has been made to look as if it has
texture through drawing or painting techniques
• Real texture is texture that actually exists – what you can
• Implied texture -created to look like the real object on a
Texture can be
Van Gogh close up
When we look at a
photograph or a painting
of the texture of a
surface such as glass or
velvet leather, we see
patterns of light and
dark that create the
effect of texture
Simulated texture; a two
dimensional surface that
imitates real texture,
simulated textures copy
or imitate real textures.
Texture can be surprising.
The smooth texture of skin in this close up of a marble sculpture by Bernini is
remarkable. Notice the veins, soft waves, in the top of the male hand. Also,
notice the smooth texture of the drapery.
Oppenheim, Fur Covered Cup
Camille Claudel’s The Waltz
Perspective refers to the “point of view”. There are several
different types of perspective: aerial, atmospheric, linear or
one-point, and two-point perspective for a horizon line.
• Aerial perspective is a
“bird’s view,” seen
from above, high
Aerial view of the grand canyon
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa 1507 Raphael’s Cowper Madonna
Atmospheric Perspective gives the illusion of a
great distance in the background of the image.
is also referred to
the eyes to a
deep into the
image. The lines
leading to the
created by the rails