Phone: (720) 424-2250



Course Description:

Any given work of art or design can be dissected into fundamental details known as Elements of Art or Principles of Design. Artists use these details, both individually and in millions of different combinations, to create works of art. This class section will focus mainly on the Elements of Art, although, we will be briefly discussing and practicing the Principles of Design.

Each 9-week semester will be broken into units; these will usually align with the chapters in our readings from ‘The Visual Experience’. Each unit will have a reading component (Chapter Material & Art History), a writing component (Art Criticism) and Studio Experiences (Art Projects) that will ask you to create works of art.

Each 9-week semester will also contain three tests (projects), two Interim tests and one Final Exam, that you are required to pass in order to complete this course and receive credit. All tests will require you to read, write and give visual examples to test questions and or project specifics. The first Interim will be taken during our 4th week of study and will cover all the information we’ve discussed up until that point. The second Interim will be conducted during the 8th week of instruction and will cover all the material discussed throughout the semester. The 9th week will be treated as a make up/prep in order to get you caught up with all the studio projects and to get you ready for the final exam.

1st Semester Units/Projects At A Glance:

Unit 1: Line

Students are introduced to Line and a variety of line types; descriptive line, outline, contour line, blind contour line, hatching, cross-hatching, implied line, edges, expressive line, abstract line, closure and lines of sight.

The students are first introduced to the concepts of contour and blind contour line. Students are asked to participate in a exercise focusing on blind contour drawings. These drawings should take around one minute to produce. The artist begins by looking at a model, we often use tennis shoes, they are then asked to but the tip of there pencil on the paper and they are not allowed to lift their pencil until the drawing is complete. They drawing should be completed by using one continuous line and the students ARE NOT allowed to look at their paper. The students consciously must make a decision of what lines to include in their drawing in order to, hopefully, draw enough information to communicate what their object was. This is a great ice breaker in the beginning of the course as I mention ‘that no ones drawing is going to look like a masterpiece, this exercises goal is to help the students observe an object and quickly make a decision as to what the objects most important lines are and to try and communicate those lines in one quick movement.



Next, the students begin contour line drawings. Each drawing introduces a more complex object and ends with a crushed, empty soda can. The students decide on their strongest drawing and are asked to cut out a portion of their drawing. This piece will be used to create a contour pattern by tracing the shape/lines repeatedly on a 8 x 10 piece of paper.


Unit 2: Shape and Form

This unit illustrates how lines, when intersected and/or closed, create shapes. Shapes become forms when value is introduced in the equation. The students are introduced to the age old concept of the Still Life ( and Mr. Neal’s ‘Drawing Basics’;

1) Draw Lightly: this way, if a mistake is made it can be erased.
2) Start Big: Break complicated objects down into basic shapes then use those shapes to guide you to the details.
3) Draw What You See.

Our first exercise is that of a Value Scale. Students learn how to layer and vary the amount of pressure they use when applying pencil to paper in order to create a scale of dark to light.



Next, we attack the Still Life. Students are asked to create a drawing that includes all three still life objects and at least 5 steps of value. They are encouraged to draw big, utilize the entire sheet of paper and to draw what they see.





Unit 3: Space

Students study the concept of Positive (Figure) and Negative (Ground) space in Art History. Students are then shown examples of Space in Graffiti. Students then work with painting during Mr. Neal’s Watercolor 101 tutorial while experimenting with creating ‘Graffiti’ style letters. The end result is an artwork that communicates the student’s understanding of positive and negative space.



Unit 4: Color

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Students study ‘Color’ both in art and science. They are asked to create their own color wheel by using acrylic paint and the three Primary colors of Blue, Red and Yellow to create the 12 steps of Hue on the wheel. Students study the effects that color have on a work of art including feeling, mood and an unconscious affect.



Buddhist Mandala’s are then introduced and the students are asked to think about permanence and to question process over product. Buddhist monks spend hours, sometimes days creating radial balance mandalas only to ceremonially destroy the finished artwork. The process of creating the work of art, a mediation exercise for the monks, is more important than the finished work of art and the students are introduced to a belief that, at times, the creation process can be more rewarding than the final end product.

The end result for this unit is a Mandala inspired artwork that incorporates a radial balance (an image that appears to radiate from a central location) and a student chosen color scheme.