Listen to part of a talk in an Art Appreciation class.
Professor (female): In order for art to communicate, to appeal to the emotions or the intellect, it has to combine various visual elements to express meaning or emotion. It’s really the visual components of the work, things like color, texture, shape, lines and how these elements work together that tell us something about the work.
Artists combine and manipulate these visual elements to express a message or to create a mood. Think about how a painter might use colors, for example. You all know from experience that different colors appeal in different ways to the senses and can convey different meanings. An artist chooses certain colors to evoke a particular mood and make powerful statements. The color red, for example, is a strong color, and can conjure up strong emotions such as extreme joy or excitement or even anger. Blue, on the other hand, is considered a cool color. Blue colors tend to have a calming effect on viewers.
Another visual element important to art is texture. By texture I mean surface quality or feel of the work, its smoothness or roughness or softness. Now, of course, in some types of art the texture is physical. It can be actually be touched by the fingers. But in painting, for example, texture can be visual. The way an artist paints certain areas of the painting can create the illusion of texture, an object’s smoothness or roughness or softness. A rough texture can evoke stronger emotions and strength while a smooth texture is more calming and less emotional.
As I said earlier, artists often combine elements to convey a message about the work. Take a painting that, say, uses a lot of strong colors like reds and oranges and uses brush stokes that are broad, wide sweeping brush strokes that suggest a rough texture. Well, these elements together can convey a wilder more chaotic emotion in the viewer than, more than say a painting with tiny, smooth brush stokes and soft or pale colors. Artists use these visual effects and the senses they arouse to give meaning to their work.
Using points and examples from the lecture, explain the importance of visual elements in painting.