Download the PDFs of the paintings using the links above.
Choose one of the three paintings:
Geese in Flight, 1996, oil on canvas 60 x 60″, by Janet Fish
OR Stone City, 1930, oil on wood panel 30.25 x 40″, by Grant Wood
OR Pot of Geraniums, 1915, oil on canvas 32 x 23.8″, by Juan Gris.
The visual elements and principles of design are concepts that you’ve probably been using your whole life, though you might not have been calling them by name or even realizing to what extent they affect your experience of the world. They are the fundamental building blocks of all visual information. Understanding their relationship will aid you in understanding works of art, and your experience of the world.
A formal visual analysis describes how the visual elements and principles of design are used within a composition. Interpretation is not included in formal visual analyses, only factual observations of visual information. When looking at a work, quickly write down all the visual elements that you notice. Are all of the visual elements used? Not all works incorporate every element and principle. Now look again and consider the specifics of each element that you noticed. For example, are the lines used actual or implied? Contours/outlines? What about the orientation of the lines used? Think of the visual elements as the ingredients and the principles of design as the recipes. How might line, shape and texture be used to achieve visual unity within a work? How might they be used to support visual balance? Delving deeper into each element’s characteristics will give you better insight into how they are related to the principles of design.
Based on the information that you have learned in Chapters 4 and 5, create a formal visual analysis by describing the painting as completely as you can. Include the subject matter, visual elements and the principles of design in your description.
I recommend that you start by making a list of observations. Create an outline to help you organize these observations and construct a logical discussion that visually dissects the composition. For example, how is line used in the composition (orientation, direction, contour, implied etc.)? What about shape (geometric/organic, implied)? How are the visual elements and principles of design used to lead the viewer’s eye through the composition? Avoid making generalizations. Be specific and provide examples to support each of your observations.
*Attached above is a .pdf outlining the visual elements and principles of design. Consider using it to organize your observations.
The descriptive paper should be factual, accurate, and logically ordered. No speculation or interpretation of the painting’s meaning or content should be included for this assignment and none will be considered as fulfilling the paper requirements.
The paper must be a minimum of three pages with standard margins. The paper must be typed, double-spaced, using plain, 12 pt Times, or Times New Roman. Use the standard margins for Word: One inch on the top and bottom, 1.25 inches on the sides.
There is to be no title page for the paper. The first page should have only your name on the top line. Your paper should begin on the next line and fill all three pages.
Proofread! If there are spelling and grammatical errors, I will assume that you did not take the assignment seriously.
Always italicize an artwork’s title.
Use the artist’s full name in your introductory and closing paragraphs. Within the body of your paper, refer to the artist by last name only. Do not refer to the artist by their first name.
There is no need to define terminology or concepts in your paper. You define them by using them correctly.
Affect vs. effect. Affect is a verb. Understanding the concepts will affect your success. Effect is a noun. Poor grammar can have a negative effect on your discussion.
It’s is the contraction of it is. Its is the possessive form of it.
Artwork is one word.
Always spell out two-dimensional and three-dimensional. Do not use the abbreviation 2D or 3D.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a research assignment to see how others describe the painting. Describe the painting yourself without the use of sources. Inappropriate use of the words of another will result in an “F” for the assignment. No external information is to be used except the artist’s name and the painting title.
Microsoft Word must be used for this assignment. The paper MUST be saved as a .doc or .docx file and submitted as an attachment. Papers not properly submitted will not receive a grade. Responsibility for correctly submitting the assignment lies solely with the student. The attachment should be titled with your last name and the assignment: “nameW1”.
This assignment is due Friday, November 18th, by 11:55 p.m. Assignments turned in late will lose 10% for each day they are late. Click the assignment title highlighted in blue at the top of this page (Writing Assignment One – Visual Analysis) to submit your paper.
The total points possible for the writing assignment is 100.
Accuracy and effectiveness of the description = 50 points
Completeness and relevance of the description = 30 points
Logical development of the paper = 10 points
Spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc. = 10 points
Up to 10 points may be deducted for incorrect completion of the assignment, for not following the directions for form, format, and paper length.
Questions about the assignment should be posted to the discussion board so that everyone may benefit from your question or insight.
Geese in Flight.pdf
Elements and Principles.pdf