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Understanding Art
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Understanding Art
A Guide for Teachers

First Edition

Other Titles in:
Art | Music/Fine Arts/Drama

© 2003 | 184 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
In any area of the curriculum, children need to learn concepts, facts and skills through first-hand experience. In art, such learning depends on exploring and experimenting with the visual language through which artists communicate, and the visual elements such as line, colour and shape.

The National Curriculum places strong emphasis on experimenting with and applying the visual elements. This book systematically explores the basic knowledge needed to do this effectively. The author deals with the visual elements of art, their properties, how they are related, and especially with the ways in which children's knowledge of each can be developed through simple but creative activities. Each element is placed in context, with extensive cross-referencing. The author shows how these elements can be observed in the children's environment and provides examples of how they have been used in works of art and craft.

This accessible book does not assume any specialist knowledge or experience. It is essential for teachers at primary and secondary levels, art co-ordinators and for undergraduate and postgraduate level students of art education.

Martin Wenham is an artist, calligrapher and stone carver who has exhibited at the Craft's Council. He has taught at the University of Leicester and has over twenty years' experience of teaching in primary and secondary schools.

 
PART ONE: ART AS EXPLORATION
 
Investigating, Making and Responding to Art
 
Visual Language and The Visual Elements
 
Learning Through Investigation of the Visual Elements
 
Building on the Foundations
 
PART TWO: POINT
 
The Concept of Point
 
Investigating Points and their Potential
 
Point In Context
 
PART THREE: LINE
 
The Concept of Line
 
Investigating Line
Some Starting-Points  
 
Developing Line
 
Line in Context
 
PART FOUR: TONE
 
The Concept of Tone
 
Investigating Tone
 
The Perception of Tone
 
Tone in Context
 
PART FIVE: MIXING AND CONTROLLING COLOUR
 
The Concept of Colour
 
Colour Mixing
 
Tints and Shades
 
Optical Colour Mixing
 
Colour Range and Mixing in Context
 
PART SIX: PERCEIVING AND OBSERVING COLOUR
 
Colour Constancy and Colour Interaction
 
Finding, Matching and Mixing Colours
 
Perceiving Colour in Context
 
PART SEVEN: RESPONDING TO COLOUR
 
Responses to Individual Colours
 
Colour Groupings and Responses to Them
 
Colour Responses in Context
 
PART EIGHT: SHAPE
 
The Concept of Shape
 
Interaction of Shapes
 
Investigations of Shape
 
Shape in Context
 
PART NINE: SPACE
 
The Concept of Space
 
Objective Space
Figure and Ground  
 
Illusory Space
 
Objective Space in Context
 
Illusory Space in Context
 
PART TEN: FORM
 
The Concept of Form
 
The Visual Properties of Form
 
Investigating Form
Moving into the Third Dimension  
 
Form in Context
 
PART ELEVEN: TEXTURE
 
The Concept of Texture
 
Tactile Texture
 
Visual Texture
 
Texture in Context
 
PART TWELVE: PATTERN
 
Concepts of Visual Pattern
 
Rotating and Linear Patterns
 
Investigations of Surface Pattern
 
Space-Dividing Patterns
 
Pattern in Context

The book contains some useful information and tools to share with students regarding formal elements. I have adopted this book for the programme of study and adapt resource to suit post 16 education. The only bother I had was the use of the word children when referring to students as this is not applicable to the level I teach.

Mrs Ruth Crabtree
Vocational Education, North Lindsey College
September 7, 2018

Short sharp chapters, straight to the point. Need-to-know reference textbook

Miss Hanna Storey
Sport and Public Services, NEW College Pontefract
May 27, 2016

This is a useful text which supports our teaching of Y1 BA students with their subject knowledge. We refer particularly to the sections on line, on colour and on form. Useful discussion about space and ideas about sculpture in space which can be shared with children.

Mrs Kate Yeoman
Department of Primary Education, Canterbury Christ Church University
June 17, 2014

beautifully designed introduction to the basic analytical concepts of visual art appreciation

Mr Uwe Rasch
n/a, Academy of Fine Arts Münster
November 22, 2013

This is an excellent book which I recommend to all Art Teachers. The author manages to relay the fundamentals of Art through great emphasis on experimentation and simple terminology.

I recommend it to all Art teachers!

Mr Stephen Vella
Institute of Art and Design, Malta College of Arts, Science & Techn
November 11, 2013

A very accessible book, well structured and gives confidence to ITE students (Primary PGCE) when they are unsure of their artistic abilities. I recommend this book to students and would recommend a copy to be placed in schools.

Ms Jane Noble
Early years and primary, Institute of Education
July 16, 2013

Clear, concise and very informative. A good general guide for any teacher undertaking the teaching of art, particularly a non- specialist primary classroom practitioner. I like the image plates and step by step instructions.. I have put this on the book list for all the art modules

Ms Caroline Corker
Department of Education, St Mary's University College
March 29, 2011

This is a very informative book which is highly readable with much content which may interest some of our trainees. I shall therefore draw their attention to it during the art course

Mrs Lorna Hill
Primary PGCE, University of Birmingham
September 14, 2010

This text contains a wealth of information in an accessible format. Helpful illustrations are included throughout and key terms are defined and explored in detail. It would make a very useful reference book for PGCE students, both in helping with lesson planning and also in writing assignments about primary and secondary art education.

Dr Emese Hall
Graduate School of Education, Exeter University
May 18, 2010

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