Teaching harmony and unity in art can be a little challenging. Helping students to understand the need for harmony in art is easy, but having them understand how to implement it into their own artwork is the hard part. Harmony and unity are principles of art. They deal with the way the the elements of art are arranged in an artwork. Harmony deals with similarities and unity deals with the quality of “oneness” that is created by these similarities. Both are important to successful art creation.
Harmony and unity are created by three methods…
1. Repetition- By repeating elements such as shapes, colors, or motifs, harmony and unity can be achieved in an artwork.
2. Simplicity- By simplifying elements, such as colors (color scheme), or shapes, forms, etc. you can create unity.
3. Proximity- Proximity, in this case, refers to limiting the amount of negative space within the picture plane of an artwork. By limiting the negative space, you can create unity.
So how can you make teaching students these principles fun and memorable? Play a game.
Each student should begin with a clean, fresh, sheet of drawing paper. Each student should also have the same medium in hand. Have the students begin by putting their name on the back of the paper. (You may decide to laugh as they all turn their blank sheets of paper over to put their name on the “back”.) Tell them that they have 3 minutes to draw whatever they want. Time the drawing. Then, the students should turn their paper over so that their name is showing. Have them pass their paper to another student. Tell the students to add their name under the previous student’s name. Then tell the students that when they turn the paper over, they must add an new element to the image. You can choose the element. (For example, you may say that they need to add aliens to the scene.) The catch here, is that they must make it look harmonious and unified. In other words, it must look like the same artist created the image. Remind them that they can achieve this by using repetition, simplicity, and proximity. Repeat this process several times with new creative elements of your choosing, timing the drawing part to 3 minutes. Finally, have the students return the drawing to the original student. The original student now needs to pull the image together with the final 3 minutes of timed drawing.
This game will provide a memorable experience for students to help enhance their learning of harmony and unity in the creation of artworks.