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Abstract art is based on the real world, but the forms may be simplified, exaggerated, or contorted; the colors may be altered; and the space may be flattened or distorted.

Abstraction is a style of art that emphasizes design and the elements of art. The subject of the artwork may be recognizable or may be an arrangement of shapes, colors, lines and other elements of art.

Additive sculpture is created by constructing, building, or fastening materials together.

Asymmetry means an object is not the same on the opposite sides of a central dividing line.

Artist’s book is an art form that uses elements of traditional book forms in combination with the elements of art.

Background is the part of the picture that seems farthest from the viewer.

Balance refers to the way the elements of art are arranged in a work of art to create a sense of stability and visual weight.

Book form is the shape and structure of a book.

Color is an element of art that is the result of light hitting an object and reflecting back to the eye. It consists of three properties: hue, intensity, and value.

  • Complementary colors are opposite on the color wheel. There are three sets: blue and orange; yellow and purple; and red and green.
  • Intermediate colors are created when one primary and one secondary color are mixed. Yellow-green is an example of one of the six intermediate colors.
  • Neutral colors are black, white, and gray.
  • Primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. They are pure colors and cannot be created by mixing other colors.
  • Secondary colors are created when two primary colors are mixed together. The three secondary colors are orange, green, and purple.

Composition is the way the objects, people, and elements of art are arranged in an artwork.

Content is the message or meaning in an artwork.

Crayon resist is an illustration technique in which watercolor is painted over a crayon drawing. The wax in the crayon resists the watercolor, so the watercolor only fills the spaces between the crayon.

Depth is the appearance of distance in a picture. Artists use different techniques, such as overlapping shapes, size relationships, placement, detail, color, and lines, to create depth in a picture.

Descriptive words describe how things feel, sound, taste, look, or smell in a way that creates vivid images in our minds.

Drawing is a series of intentional marks that describes how a thing looks or feels. Drawing can also describe and idea or feeling.

Elements of art are color, line, shape, form, space, value, and texture. Artists use these tools to create visual art—representational, abstract, and non-representational.

Emphasis creates a focal point in a work of art.

Foreground is the part of the picture that seems closest to the viewer.

Form is an element of art with three dimensions of measurement: height, width, and depth.

Found objects are things from the world around us—natural or manufactured—that can be used to create a work of art.

Geometric shapes are circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. They have precise edges, as if made with a ruler, and can be described in mathematical terms.

Hue is the name we give to a color.

Identity is how a person sees or thinks of herself or himself. Identity can also refer to how people represent themselves to each other.

Intensity is the brightness or dullness of a color. A color’s intensity can be changed by mixing it with its complementary color.

Interpretation is the process of constructing the meaning of an object, work of art, or writing through observation and reflection.

Landscape is a work of art that shows an outdoor scene. It can include the natural world (plants and animals), as well as seascapes (views of the sea) and cityscapes (buildings and towns). There can be people in a landscape, but the picture is not about them.

Line is an element of art that is a mark drawn by a tool such as a pencil, pen, or paintbrush as it moves across a surface. Lines can also be three-dimensional, like a wire, or implied, like the edge of a shape or form.

Middle ground is the part of the picture midway between the foreground and background.

Monochromatic means having only one color.

Movement is the arrangement of parts to create the sense of motion and lead the viewer’s eye through the artwork.

Narrative refers to a work of art that tells a story.

Negative space is the area around, inside, and between objects, forms, figures, or shapes.

Non-objective or non-representational art is not based on the real world, but does not contain recognizable objects. The subjects of non-representational art may be color, emotions, or the composition of the work itself. Often the term abstract is used for both abstract and non-representational art.

Observation is a process of gathering information through the senses—hearing, sight, smell, taste, or touch—and then analyzing the information through thought.

Organic shapes have an irregular outline, are often asymmetrical, and resemble forms found in nature (clouds, rocks, leaves, etc.)

Overlapping is a way artists create the illusion of depth. When one object covers part of another object, the object in front looks closer to the viewer.

Pattern is created through any repeated element of art.

Perspective is a technique used by artists to create the appearance of depth on a flat surface. It can also refer to a person’s point of view.

Point of view is the angle or perspective from which you see something.

Portrait is a picture or representation of a specific person. It can be rendered in any medium, such as pencil on paper, paint on canvas, sculpture, photograph, or collage.

Pose is the way the subject’s body is positioned in an artwork.

Positive space is the object, form, figure, or shape in a work of art.

Proportion refers to the relationship of one thing to another in terms of size, shape, number, or degree.

Reflection is an activity in which an experience is remembered, thought about, and evaluated.

Rhythm is the regular repetition of elements of art to create the look and feel of movement. It is often achieved through the careful placement of repeated shapes, lines, and colors.

Rubbing is a process that transfers textures and patterns from the surface of an object to paper.

Sculpture is an art form that has three dimensions: height, width, and depth.

Self-Portrait is a picture of the artist by the artist.

Setting is the time and place where the subject is located or a story happens.

Shade is any dark value of color, created by adding black to a color.

Shape is an element of art with two-dimensions of measurement: height and width.

Space is an element of art that refers to the area between, around, above, below, or within parts of an artwork. It can be described as flat, shallow, or deep; open or closed; positive or negative.

Still Life is a work of art that shows a variety of objects, like fruit, books, musical instruments, toys, and flowers.

Subject is who or what the artwork is about. It can be a story, an idea, a person, an emotion, or a feeling.

Subtractive sculpture is created by carving, trimming, or removing material to reveal or render the desired form.

Symbol is an object or thing that has meaning more than the thing itself—a dog might represent fidelity in addition to being a pet; it is a visual sign for an idea or concept.

Symmetry means an object is the same on the opposite sides of a central dividing line.

Texture is an element of art that refers to the feel of a thing or its surface quality. Texture can be implied or actual.

Three-dimensional forms can be measured in three ways: height, width, and depth.

Tint is any light value of a color, created by adding white to a color.

Traits of writing are ideas, voice, word choice, organization, sentence fluency, and conventions. Written works are created using the traits of writing.

Two-dimensional shapes can be measured in only two ways: height and width.

Unity is the quality of wholeness and completeness that comes from the effective use of the elements of art. The relationship among all parts of the artwork forms the meaning of the artwork.

Value is an element of art that refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. A color’s value can be changed by mixing white (higher value) or black (lower value) to a color.

Variety is obtained by combining and changing elements of art in multiple ways to create visual interest and vitality in an artwork.

Watercolor is a paint medium, usually more transparent than other paints like tempera or acrylic.

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