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FORMAL ELEMENTS: You must discuss each of the following for an A.
Line: What type of lines are used? I.e. gesture, contour, crosshatching? (Usually this is done in a drawing or print.) Could you actually see lines in the work? Describe the implied line used in this piece.
Composition: Is the composition symmetrical or asymmetrical? Is realism important? What is the focal point? How does the implied line lead to the focal point? How does the artist get us to look at the focal point? I.e. color, things pointing at the focal point, subject matter, etc.
Shape: Natural (organic) or geometric?
Value: Refers to color and or lighting. Is there a subtle shading or strong contrast in the work? Does lighting create a special mood? What kind of lighting is used? Is the source of light natural or artificial? Which direction is the light coming from?
Color: Describe the color you are seeing. Bright? Dull? Light? Dark? Warm? cool? Is the artist using a color harmony if so which? Complimentary? Primary? Do the colors merely describe the subject matter or do they create a particular mood? Is there a unifying color? Talk about the symbolism of the color, if applicable. How do these findings relate or give meaning to this painting?
Texture: What kind of texture is used? Actual? Implied? Decorative? Was impasto used? Is the texture rough or smooth?
Space: Does the painting appear to have realistic 3-D space or does it appear flat? Are traditional linear and atmospheric perspective used, if so how?
Painting techniques: How do you think the artist did this painting? Was there an under-painting? What color is the under-painting? Is the painting alla prima or glazed? Did the artist use anything other than oil paint? Can you tell if the artist worked from background to foreground, light to dark? What decisions did this artist make about—style, subject matter, and or technique?