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Art Elements

Words about and related to artistic style and the elements of art


ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE: Refers to the use of bluer, lighter, and duller colors for distant objects in a two-dimensional work of art.
CURVILINEAR: Formed or enclosed by curved lines.
ELEMENTS OF ART: The basic components used by the artist creating a work of art. The elements are color, line, perspective, shape, space, texture, and value.
GEOMETRIC: Any form (sphere, cone, cube, cylinder, pyramid) or shape (rectangle, circle, square, oval, and triangle) derived from principles of geometry.
HORIZON LINE: An imaginary line where the earth meets the sky.
IMPLIED LINES: Lines you cannot see, but felt through composition.
LINE: A point moving in space. Line can vary in width, length, curvature, color, or direction.
LINE DIRECTION: Horizontal, vertical, diagonal.
LINE QUALITY: The unique character of a drawn line as it changes lightness/darkness, direction, curvature, or width.
LINEAR: A painting technique in which importance is placed on contours or outlines.
LINEAR PERSPECTIVE: The illusion of depth and volume on a flat surface. Closer objects appear larger and smaller objects appear far away.
PERSPECTIVE: A technique artists use to create a three-dimensional illusion onto a two-dimensional surface.
MASS: The outside size and bulk of a form; the visual weight of an object; the area occupied by a form.
MIDDLE GROUND: Area of a two-dimensional work of art between foreground and background.
NEGATIVE: Shapes or spaces that are or represent the areas unoccupied by objects.
NONOBJECTIVE: Having no recognizable object as an image. Also called nonrepresentational.
ONE-POINT PERSPECTIVE: A way to show 3-D objects on a 2-D surface. Lines appear to go away from the viewer meet at a single point on the horizon, known as the vanishing point.
SPACE: Space describes the distance or area between, around, above, below, or within things. Space can be two or three dimensional, negative or positive.
ORGANIC: Refers to shapes or forms having irregular edges or to surfaces or objects resembling things existing in nature.
OUTLINE: A silhouette, made with one line defining the perimeter of a form; flat and two-dimensional.
POSITIVE: Shapes or spaces that are or represent solid objects.
SCALE: Relative size, proportion; used to determine measurements or dimensions within a design or artwork.
SHAPE: A two-dimensional area or plane that may be open or closed, free-form, or geometric.
TEXTURE: The surface quality of materials, either actual (tactile) or implied (visual). One of the elements of art.
THREE-DIMENSIONAL: Objects that have height, length, and width. A doll is three-dimensional; paper dolls are two-dimensional. Also called 3-D.
TWO-DIMENSIONAL: Having height and width but not depth; flat. Paper dolls are two-dimensional; a doll is three-dimensional. Also called 2-D.
TWO-POINT PERSPECTIVE: A system to show three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface. The illusion of space and volume utilizes two vanishing points on the horizon line.
VALUE: Value is the lightness or darkness of any color. A color to which black has been added is
called a shade, and has a darker value. A color to which white has been added is called a tint, and has a lighter value.
VANISHING POINT: In perspective drawing the point at which receding lines seem to converge.
VOLUME: Refers to the space within a form (e.g., in architecture, volume refers to the space within a building).

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