Children have an inherent ability for creating art. As an Art teacher, one of my greatest joys is to facilitate and witness the students' growth in critical thinking and the creative process. Art should be accessible to all students, not just the talented or well-connected few. Child development professional Grace Lynch revealed in her article, The Importance of Art in Child Development, that motor skills, language development and inventiveness are essential developmental skills children receive when given formal training in the arts.
Line, shape, color, form, space, value and texture are the vocabulary used to describe any work of art. They are the "Elements of Art.” As per the Georgia Performance Art Standards, all students must be able to define and identify each of these elements by the time they graduate fifth grade. Although the Wayne County Public School System is not in a position to provide their public elementary schools with a formal art program, as a parent you can still be encouraged. This seven-part series was created to enlighten, and enable parents to help build the foundation of art literacy needed for success once their students enter the Wayne County, middle school art program. In recent months we have examined lines, color, texture, value and form. If you missed seeing those previously published articles, you may visit to view them and the associated resource links.
Space, this month’s element focus, is part of any artwork. It is the area in which artwork is organized. The space of an artwork is usually contained within the borders of the paper or canvas on which it is made. The main object (or objects) the artist desires you to focus on takes up what is called “positive space”. The area around the those objects is called the “negative space”. In sculpture and other three dimensional art, positive space is the area in which the object occupies; in these cases negative space is then all the areas in between and around that object. Simply put, Positive space refers to the main focus of a picture, while negative space refers to the background. When used creatively and intelligently, positive and negative space together can tell a story using visual composition alone. In other words, no words are needed.
Space lesson resources:
1. If your student’s main learning style is visual, Joseph and Elizabeth, the kids in this ArtQuest video beautifully demonstrate positive and negative space in a way no words can convey.
2. Cheryl at “Teach Kids Art” has been inspiring young artists for twenty years. Using tree drawings, collages and shadow tracing, your student will receive a complete survey of positive and negative space. Her projects have a wide variety of skill levels appropriate for all age groups.
3. You can feel like a “real” Art teacher when you download a FREE and foolproof art lesson at The Art of Education site.
Meet me here next month to help your students art foundation really "shape up".