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Chapter 1 Summary—English

Art in Your World

Lesson 1: What Is Art?
A work of art is the visual expression of an idea or experience. Visual art includes many types of media. It is used to communicate with others in ways that go beyond words. To understand a work of art, you must develop the ability to perceive. To perceive is to become deeply aware through the senses of the special nature of a visual object. People create art to serve many functions. (1) They create art to express personal feelings. (2) They use art to express a family, community, or civilization’s identity. (3) Often, artists create art to express spiritual beliefs. (4) Some artists use new ideas and technologies to give functional objects, such as cars and buildings, new and interesting forms. (5) Artists often create art to teach people. This book will help you understand and recognize all the visual arts.

Lesson 2: Why Do Artists Create?
The urge to create art is universal. Artists are creative individuals who use imagination and skill to communicate in visual form. They are driven by their sense of wonder and curiosity. However, the impulses that drive artists to create vary. Different artists can represent the same event or idea in very different ways. Artists get their ideas from many different sources. (1) Some artists, like the landscape painters of the Hudson River School, get ideas from nature. (2) Other artists get ideas from people and real-world events. (3) Many artists interpret myths and legends in their work. (4) In every culture, art is used to express spiritual and religious beliefs. (5) Many artists develop creative techniques to create their art. For example, Jackson Pollock expressed his personal feelings by creating a new technique—dripping paint onto canvas (Figure 1.13, page 14). (6) Artists also learn from and build on the work of artists of the past. (7) And some artists get ideas from the people who hire them to create art. Artists keep sketchbooks for inspiration. They use them to record images and jot down ideas. A sketchbook is also very useful to practice skills and techniques.

Lesson 3: The Language of Art
The language of art is made up of certain elements arranged according to basic principles. Learning to use this language will help you understand art and create your own artworks. We use the elements of art, which are basic visual symbols in the language of art, to communicate ideas. These symbols are line, shape and form, space, color, value, and texture. By learning to read one element at a time, you will see how the elements work together to communicate the language of art. These elements are organized according to the principles of art. The principles of art are basic rules that govern how artists organize the elements of art. These rules are rhythm, movement, pattern, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, harmony, and unity. You will learn more about these rules as you read this book. When you look at a work of art, you should first identify its three basic features: subject, composition, and content. The subject is the image viewers can easily identify in a work of art. The composition is the way the principles of art are used to organize the elements of art. The content is the message the work communicates. Works of art in this book also have credit lines below them. Credit lines include important facts that will help you further understand each work of art. The six facts most credit lines include are name of the artists, title of the work, the year the work was created, the medium used by the artist, the size of the work, and the location of the work.


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