Eureka Union
School District


There are five elements in art:

Color
Line
Shape
Space
Texture

ColorTop of Page

Color has three qualities.  Hue, Value and Intensity:

  1. Hue - the name of a color (red, yellow, blue, etc.)
  2. Value - the lightness or darkness of a color
    • Tint = hue + white
    •  Shade = hue + black
  3. Intensity - the brightness or dullness of a color; the strength of a color

Colors can be related to each other in the form of a wheel.

The PRIMARY colors are:
red, yellow, blue

The SECONDARY colors are produced by mixing two primary colors and are:
orange, green, violet

The INTERMEDIATE colors are produced by mixing two adjacent (secondary + primary) colors

The NEUTRAL colors are:
black, white, gray


Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. Violet is the complementary color of yellow, green is the complementary color of red, and blue is the complementary color of orange.

When mixing paint, addition of the complementary colors will dull the color.

Complementary colors placed adjacent to each other will intensify the colors.

Warm and Cool Colors

Red-violet, red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, and yellow-green are warm colors. They seem to come toward us or advance. Blue-violet, blue, and blue-green are cool colors. They seem to recede away from us. Green and violet are usually considered between warm and cool. Depending on the particular value and intensity, they can be either warm or cool.

LineTop of Page

Lines can establish movement, direction, and contour.

Horizontal Lines gives a quiet, restful feeling
Vertical lines gives a feeling of strength
Diagonal lines usually denotes action

Lines can:

  • Be of even or varied thickness
  • Express a variety of personalities
    • quick
    • slow
    • still
    • nervous
    • calm
    • rigid
  • Suggest the presence of
    • mass
    • texture
    • light/shadow
  • Emphasize form
  • Create mood

ShapeTop of Page

Shape is an area defined by color, contrast, line, and/or texture.  Shapes can be geometric, amorphous (free-form), etc.

A shape can have personality as influenced by the lines that create it or the overall shape itself. For example, shapes with vertical and horizontal edges appear rigid and tense. Shapes with fuzzy, indistinct edges appear soft or relaxed. Shapes with soft curves appear to flow or imply movement, and shapes that overlap with other shapes create energy, tension, or rhythm, depending on how they overlap.

SpaceTop of Page

The feeling of space in a drawing or painting is always an illusion. Artists combine the use of light and dark value with other techniques to create space. How an artist uses space or chooses NOT to use space adds a great deal to a work of art.

Space can be two-dimensional or three dimensional. A space can be positive or negative.

Two-dimensional space

  • the area (canvas, paper, etc.) on which an artist works.
  • the illusion of depth or distance created by the artist through the use of the art elements.

Positive Space

  • the space occupied by the object

Negative Space

  • the space created by and surrounding the positive space

Three-dimensional artworks create their own space

TextureTop of Page

Texture refers to the surface quality look or "feel" of an object - smooth, rough, slick, soft, etc. Textures may be actual (felt with touch - tactile) or implied (suggested by the way an artist has created the work of art -visual).

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