Unit Two: Exploring the Visual Elements

How and why does color express emotion? How does an artist portray the passing of time? How and why is scale in traditional Chinese painting so different from that developed in Europe? Why was the oil painting tradition limited to the Western world?

Each of the eleven sections in this Unit explores a compositional element in art making as well as questions such as these. Two assignments offer practical application of developing, engaged looking skills. Seeing the digital copy only by the way --- unless we’re looking specifically at digital art --- can misinterpret elements such as scale, proportion, color, etc.

Discussion of specific images in Unit Two is supported by frequent references to their historical context. This strategy encourages students to gain deep understanding of the visual elements and to build on skills practiced in Unit One. Images are drawn from the Renaissance and Baroque periods; Feminist Art, the western Classical tradition, the Islamic manuscript tradition, Native American Ledger Art, 20th century Cubism and others.