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Submitted by: Michelle East, Art Teacher (3rd-HS)
Title of Lesson: Types of Balance Lesson and Cut Paper Collage Art Project
Grade level: 8-12th Grade
Goals / Objectives:
- Students will learn about the principle of art called balance and how it can be used in an artwork.
- They will identify, compare and contrast the three main types of balance and be able to recognize each type in a piece of art.
- Create a cut-paper collage that clearly demonstrates the three main types of balance: Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, and Radial through non-objective design.
12×18 (30.5 x 45.7 cm) Black Construction Paper, 12×18 and 9×12 (30.5 x 45.7 cm and 22.9 x 30.5 cm) Colored Construction Paper (Best to use Acid Free papers if possible), Glue Sticks, Scissors, X-acto Knives, shape templates optional, we also used Hole Paper Punch and small circle punches.
1. Balance in art is defined as the equal distribution of visual weight in a composition. All the elements (line, shape, color, etc) in that composition look stable or have a feeling of balance (like one side is not heavier than the other).
2. Balance is one of the principles of design. Understanding and applying knowledge of balance methods are important parts of creating a good composition. In 2D art, balance refers to how an artist develops a composition through the arrangement or placement of objects or elements on the picture plane. The artist places the elements or objects in a such way to create either a sense of equilibrium. He may intentionally create an unbalanced piece to send a certain message as well.
3. A Central Axis Line is an imaginary line that divides the composition in half either vertically or horizontally. Objects placed on either side of the axis line can either be repeated exactly the same (Symmetry, Radial) or unequally but with equal visual weight (Asymmetrical). Central Axis Line Types of Balance
4. The artist can create interest in a composition depending on how they choose to use balance. Remembering always to incorporate or include the other principles of design (Emphasis, Harmony, Variety, Rhythm, etc) is the key to a successful composition.
5. There are 3 main types balance:
- Symmetrical or Formal Balance: the elements (line, shape, color, etc.) are identical or almost identical on both sides of the axis (easiest balance to achieve and generally feels calmer and more stable)
- Asymmetrical or Informal Balance: the elements are not identical on either side of the axis line, yet the overall feeling is still stable (harder to achieve, but visually more interesting)
- Radial Balance: the elements radiate out from a central point. Elements are repeated evenly both vertically and horizontally from the axis lines (generally a design is repeated in circle 4+ times)
6. Elements of Art - Influence on Balance - How do some of the elements of art effect visual balance? When developing your composition, it is VERY important to remember the weight attributes of each element and how they influence weight in visual balance.
Light colors appear lighter in weight than dark colors. Black and white are the strongest contrast you can have-Black is the heaviest color and white is the lightest color.
Bright colors are visually heavier than dull colors.
Warm colors (Yellow, Orange, Red) visually expand an area in size, whereas cool colors (Blue, Green Purple) tend to contract an area.
Transparent areas visually weigh less than opaque areas.
Shape size is VERY important to balance…
Individually-small shapes are light, larger shapes are heavier.
A small shape next to a large shape will weigh less than the larger shape.
Grouping a few small shapes together can have equal weight with one larger shape.
Complex geometric shapes (hexagons, trapezoids, etc) weigh more than simple geometric shapes (circle, square, etc)
Light thin lines are lighter, rough thick lines are heavier
Light smooth textures weigh less than dark jagged (lots of pattern) textures
Lighter values weigh less than darker values on the value scale
- Other things that effect balance weight are: location on the picture plane, contrasting colors together, and line direction.
Types of Balance - Cut-Paper Collage Project
SKETCH – Layout and Designs
1. Draw thumbnail sketches to work out your 3 designs. (Quiz Grade!) Repeat lines, shapes, colors and patterns in each type of balance design to create visual rhythm and so the entire piece has a feeling of unity.
2. Design the layout of your composition. You need to choose one type of balance to be your largest square. The other 2 rectangles or squares will be the other 2 types of balance. Figure out measurements.
3. Cut your base shapes of your bases that you will glue your collage onto-use the paper cutter (bases should be one of your 4 colors).
CUT PAPER DESIGN
4. Cut and glue the pieces for all your collages onto the bases.
5. When finished with the individual balance collages, glue them onto the black paper. Make sure you are keeping consistent ½” margins/boarders.
- Start with a few L A R G E shapes that break up the background. Keep them different proportions for more interest. Add smaller and smaller shapes as you go, being careful to keep the overall image both balanced and interesting. Shape size is one of the few ways you have to create variety in an image where the shapes and colors are so limited.
- Create a flow or rhythm in the composition through repetition of design. The shapes should look like they are placed in relationship with each other and not just randomly distributed.
- Test the balance by turning the composition around, looking at it from several different directions
Created by Art Teacher Michelle C. East (Copyright 2015) Create Art with ME
Did students create a unified composition that clearly illustrated the three major types of balance?
Peer Critique-Fill out on 2 other artists
Balance Project Critique Worksheet Your Name___________________________
Artist’s Name _________________________
Please answer each question:
• EMPHASIS: The first thing I see is________________________________ because (contrast, placement/location, size…)
• What 4 colors did the artist use ___________________, __________________, _________________, and ____________________
• What leads your eye around the artwork-be specific
• Are any of the elements of art emphasized (circle all appropriate)? Line Shape Color Space Form Value Texture
• HARMONY (Similarities):
• VARIETY (Differences):
• Do you think the artwork feels UNIFIED? (Circle one) Yes No Why or Why not?
• What suggestions would you offer?
• What I like best about this artwork is___- be specific
See Michelle's website for more examples and additional details to this lesson.
Handmade Paper Collage - Ackerman, an artist for more than 20 years, begins with the basics: the different types of paper, tools, and adhesives that are needed; materials that embellish paper; and how to decorate plain paper for use in a collage. The author also explains the basic techniques of making collages and gives many hints for materials that are more difficult to work with and common problems found in paper collage.
The Collage Workbook: How to Get Started and Stay Inspired - Plowman covers design basics, tools, and techniques before inviting readers to make their own mixed-media found-object artworks using 50 short exercises. Hundreds of examples of inspiring collages are included.
National Visual Arts Standards Covered:
- Visual Arts Standard 1
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
- Visual Arts Standard 5
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.
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