Upper El Art with Jill

Hello Families of My Wonderful Willow and Redwood Students!

I hope you all had a good week last week. I know your teachers are working hard, and I’m sure you are too. I just want you all to know that I miss you all so much! What I wouldn’t give to be back in the ART room, making art, making messes, being able to talk with you, having the word of the day, and yes, even the curse of the ART room! But I hope you are taking care of yourselves and everyone around you. We all need extra hugs now! We also need to keep having fun and being creative! I hope you had some time to do some of the art activities that I sent out last week.  I know I sent out a big list, so please feel free to use it as a reference to use anytime. There will be an archive of all the lessons at the end of this page. Please know that these art projects are only suggestions. If you want to do them, GREAT. If you just aren’t feeling it, that’s okay too. Maybe something I suggest for you this week will spark your interest.

I am going to venture on a larger topic for our next group of activities: The Elements of Art. The Elements of Art are the building blocks, the tools, of art. This is the vocabulary we use to describe works of art. Even though you may not have realized it, they are terms that we have been using over the years to talk about art in class. Let’s take a little more time to understand them. The 7 Elements of Art are:

We are going to start our activities focusing on Line. If you remember back to when we did our drawing unit, we did a lot of line drawing: blind drawings, continuous line drawings, drawings to music, drawings of shoes, drawings our friends, drawings of ourselves using a mirror. But now were going to get a little more in depth.

Depending on its direction, a line can express different ideas or feelings. This is why line is an important element in the language of art.

Vertical lines are static, or inactive. They appear to be at rest. For this reason, they can express stability, poise, stiffness. Horizontal lines are also static. They express feelings of peace, rest, quiet, and stability. Look at the picture below. Do you see the vertical and horizontal lines? How does this picture make you feel because of those lines?

  • Curved lines on the other hand can express activity depending on the direction and curve.
  • Diagonal lines express instability, tension, activity and excitement.
  • Zigzag lines create confusion, extreme activity and movement.

Look at this painting by Thomas Hart Benton (1929). Every line that should be static is diagonal. Look at the window, the lamp, the rug, the floor planks, and the fiddler’s bench. The diagonal lines fill the work with a sense of excitement. Not only the people, but also every corner of the room seems to be alive and dancing to the music!


Today we are going to play around with making different kinds of lines.


  1. Search your house for interesting objects to draw. I chose an empty peanut shell.
  2. On a piece of paper, do a contour line drawing of your object without lifting up your pencil.
  3. Make a rectangle around your object, having your object touch the outside edges of your rectangle.
  4. Fill in all of the shapes that were created inside your object. Think about what colors might look nice next to each other. Think about the lines that you created. Are they wiggly? How do they make you feel?
  5. Now, with your pencil, practice making different kinds of lines in the background shapes. Notice how different lines might make you feel differently about your picture. Think also about the thickness of your lines and how that too might alter the way they effect the overall feeling of the picture.
  6. Complete the piece by coloring in all in however you choose, or filling it in with an assortment of lines. (Note: the above picture is not my completed piece of art!)
  7. When you are done, I want you to think about the overall emotion your art might convey. Or maybe there are different emotions being conveyed, almost like the lines are taking you on a journey.

I hope you enjoy this art project. If you have the time, please do send me pictures of the art you are making while we are apart, even if it is something totally different than I presented. The important part is that you continue to create and express yourselves!

Until next week…..Jill


Archive of UE Art Lessons: