The Elements of Art are the basics that make up any work of art, that are looked for and analyzed when studying a work of art. The elements are line, shape and form, space, color, and texture. The Getty Museum has an excellent article about how to recognize and interpret these elements when looking at an art piece.
Considering these elements when looking at art enhances the experience, and brings depth and understanding to one’s viewing.
But how does this relate to writing, Beth?
I thought you might ask that…
Line — Does the story follow a logical progression? Is it static and flat, or is there an arc, a dramatic rise and fall?
Shape and form — Are the characters one-dimensional, or do they have shape and form as one reads the words?
Space — Just as in art, negative space, or white space, is necessary in writing. Too many words, especially adverbs and adjectives, can crowd the story and the characters and muddy the picture for the reader.
Color — Although adverbs and adjectives can create muddiness if not used carefully, there is still need for color in writing, which can be added through word choice, especially what Emma Walton Hamilton calls “juicy verbs.” Reading that someone “scuttled off” gives a much clearer picture than reading that the person “hurried off.”
Texture — This is related to shape and form, but there are differences, as well. Texture keeps everything from seeming the same. There is perhaps some abrasiveness, or rough contrasted with smooth in the characterizations. Texture gives some depth and difference to the characters and the story. It isn’t all on one plane, bland.
Can you think of ways to apply the elements of art to your writing or your reading?