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Visual arts enables students to express themselves creatively as they grow in their ability to explore, imagine, and represent their understandings of the world through artworks. Foundational knowledge and understanding of the elements and principles of art supports students in developing visual arts literacy and skills. Through creative processes, students learn that individual and collaborative art making fosters meaningful artistic expression. Creating and presenting artworks allows students to express ideas, feelings, and experiences by using artistic vocabulary, skills, media, and methods. Appreciating, interpreting, and responding to works of art prepares students to understand and appreciate enduring historical, cultural, and contemporary works of art and artists.
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Grade 6
Organizing Idea
Foundational Elements and Principles: Visual arts literacy is developed through knowledge and application of foundational elements and principles.
Guiding Question
How can organization contribute to artworks?
Learning Outcome
Students investigate organization as a structural component in artworks.
When working with different media in art, considerations regarding organization of the elements of art may be required.

Organization of the elements of art can include
  • line—implied line, line weight, value, direction, contour, physical characteristics of line
  • shape and form—proportion, geometric, organic, positive, negative, static, dynamic, physical characteristics, basic, complex
  • colour—tertiary, analogous, monochromatic, complementary, primary, secondary, warm and cool, intensity, gradation, tints and shades, colour accents, transparent and opaque
  • texture—actual and simulated texture
  • space—focal point, illusions, symmetry, perspective
  • value—shading to suggest form or mass, gradation, colour
Media in art can include found objects and materials from the surrounding environment.
Organization is the interaction between the elements of art.
Skills & Procedures
Explore how the elements of art can be employed and organized within various media.

Explore the effects that the elements of art may have on one another when combined in artworks.

Adjust value to suggest an effect of light or shadow.
The warm colours on a colour wheel appear opposite cool colours.

Tertiary colours are created when a primary colour is mixed in equal proportions to an adjacent secondary colour.

Analogous colours create a colour scheme that can bring harmony and balance to artworks, as seen in
  • William Trost Richards, Newport Coast, 1902
  • Yisa Akinbolaji, Wisdom Thread, n.d.
Analogous colours can be identified by picking any colour on the colour wheel and adding one colour directly to the right and left of the chosen colour, such as
  • red-orange, orange, and red
  • yellow-green, green, and yellow
  • blue-violet, violet, and blue
  • red-violet, red, and violet
The organization of colour relationships is illustrated on a colour wheel.

The organization of a colour wheel can vary and may indicate colour value and intensity.

The colour wheel can be a planning tool for creating a colour palette.
Skills & Procedures
Use the colour wheel to plan and create artworks.

Differentiate between warm and cool colours on a colour wheel.

Explore and apply the colour combinations used to create tertiary colours.

Identify and employ analogous colour schemes in artworks.
Spatial organization can apply to line, shape, space, colour, and value.

Spatial organization of line can include
  • atmospheric perspective
  • linear perspective and one- or two-point perspective to create an illusion of space in two-dimensional works of art
  • horizon lines
  • point of view, including bird’s-eye view and close-ups
Spatial organization of shape can include
  • overlapping shapes
  • placing shapes near horizon lines to give an illusion of depth
  • adjusting size of shapes
Organization regarding space can include
  • positive space, negative space, proportion
  • depth and dimension
  • pictorial space, including foreground, middle ground, background
  • actual space (opened or closed) in three-dimensional objects or the environment
Spatial organization of colour can include
  • cool and dull colours giving the illusion of objects that are far away
  • warm and bright colours giving the illusion of objects that are closer
Spatial organization of value can include
  • light and shadow
  • gradations into light, dark, and mid-tones
The use of space to create illusion and focal points can be seen in Thomas Cole, The Oxbow (also known as View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm), c. 1836.

Techniques such as the following can create illusions of space in artworks:
  • placement of an object on the picture plane
  • overlapping shapes
  • varying size of shapes
  • adjusting value and colour
Spatial organization occupies, activates, or suggests space within an artwork.
Skills & Procedures
Use visual arts vocabulary to discuss how spatial organization is achieved in artworks.

Explore ways that the use of space in artworks can create illusions.

Create artworks that imply spaces beyond the edges of the picture plane.

Explore techniques for activating or suggesting space in artworks.

Consider how spatial organization contributes to perspective in artworks.
Artistic choices can include
  • communication of symbolic or literal meaning
  • choice of media, tools, techniques, and materials
  • subject matter to be represented
  • use of the elements of art and principles of design
There is an infinite number of ways to organize the elements of art.

Artistic choices can reveal an artist’s style, as seen in Bill Reid, Spirit of Haida Gwaii, c. 1986–1991.
Artistic choice can influence organization in artworks.
Skills & Procedures
Explore and discuss various ways that artworks can be organized to communicate meaning or style.

Make artistic choices in the creation of artworks.
Unity is when all parts of the design work in harmony to create a sense of completeness, as seen in
  • Brian Jungen, Vienna, 2003
  • Prudence Heward, At the Theatre, 1928
Balance is a principle of design that can enhance unity by using
  • pattern and repetition
  • symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial balance
  • colour values and opaque and transparent colour
  • placement of shapes
Radial balance can create a strong focal point and an illusion of movement and depth, as seen in Alex Janvier, Morning Star, 1993.

The principles of design can clarify organization of the elements of art, as seen in Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940.
Organization relies on the principles of design to promote unity in artworks.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss the relationship between balance and unity in artworks.

Use visual arts vocabulary to discuss how artists use balance to create a focal point in artworks.

Use principles of design as a way to organize artistic ideas.
Organizing Idea
Creating and Presenting: Ideas can be represented through artworks that draw upon foundational visual arts knowledge.
Guiding Question
How can artistic intention strengthen communication of ideas in visual arts?
Learning Outcome
Students express intention as an integral part of artistic expression in visual arts.
Intention can be linked to what media an artist uses.

An artist can communicate intention in artworks by
  • giving artworks a title
  • creating descriptions for art
  • talking about art
Intention can be clear when a plan for creating art is made, including the use of
  • the colour wheel
  • a colour palette
  • a view finder
  • research
  • a grid to divide the work surface into equal ratios for determining proportions
Spatial organization can clarify intention of artworks when line, shape, space, colour, and value are employed.

Organization can include balance of positive forms in relation to negative space.

The way in which artworks are displayed can either detract from or contribute to highlighting the intention of the artist.

Artworks may be interpreted in a way that differs from what the artist intended.
Intention becomes evident to the artist and audience when artworks have structure and organization.
Skills & Procedures
Create a plan for making art.

Explore various ways in which artworks can be shared or displayed.

Incorporate the principles of design to clarify intention.

Evaluate the effectiveness of the media used to convey artistic intention.

Create a title and description for artworks.
Artworks can be created to intentionally communicate a subject or theme.

An artist can intentionally combine, alter, or omit certain elements of art to create an effect, including
  • illusions of movement, depth, distance, and mass
  • emotion or mood
  • symbolic representations
  • perspective
Mixed media is where various materials and media are intentionally combined within artworks, as seen in Jane Ash Poitras, Prayer Ties My People, 2000.

Analogous colours can be used intentionally to harmonize the colours of a composition.

Art movements throughout history featured artists known for their artistic style or intentional use of media and can include
  • Andy Warhol—pop art
  • Banksy—an anonymous England-based street artist
  • Diego Rivera—established the mural movement in Mexican and international art
  • Frida Kahlo—Mexican painter known for self-portraits
  • Jack Kirby—comic book artist
  • Pablo Picasso—Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, and ceramicist known for the Cubism movement
Appreciating artworks can include
  • citing other artists’ work when borrowing their ideas as inspiration
  • asking for permission to replicate other artists’ work
Intention refers to what an artist means to express.

Intention can be linked to the purposeful creation, expression, or appreciation of artworks.

Artists can intentionally create art that is realistic, symbolic, or abstract.
Skills & Procedures
Make intentional artistic choices to create a desired effect in artworks.

Create two- or three-dimensional artworks in the style of a particular artist or art movement.

Give credit to other artists when using their ideas as an inspiration.

Determine what tools, media, or techniques are required to achieve artistic intention in artworks.

Create artworks that intentionally reflect realistic, symbolic, or abstract representations.

Create artworks with the intention of communicating a subject or a theme.
Intentionally practising art skills and techniques can improve artistic expression.

Art can be intentionally created for enjoyment, creative expression, or as a way to explore new techniques, skills, or media.

Communicating intention can involve taking creative risks and employing creative processes.
An artist’s intention may emphasize process over product.

Some artworks may not have an obvious intention that can be interpreted.

Growth as an artist can occur when one engages with the creative process in new and meaningful ways.
Skills & Procedures
Practise art-making skills, techniques, and methods as a means to strengthen artistic expression.

Create art for enjoyment.

Take creative risks as a means to address design challenges.

Describe how feedback was incorporated to clarify or enhance artistic intention.

Reflect on strengths and areas for growth as an artist.
Organizing Idea
Appreciation: Recognizing beauty, goodness, and truth in visual arts can be developed by understanding the complexity and richness of great artworks, the artists who create them, and the historical and cultural contexts from which they originate.
Guiding Question
How did societal change influence how visual arts were appreciated during the Enlightenment, French Revolution, and throughout the history of the United States of America?
Learning Outcome
Students relate change to historical events and appreciation of visual arts practices.
Appreciation of artworks can inform future decisions regarding participation as an artist and a viewer of art.

Appreciation can shape individual artistry, curiosity, and engagement in visual arts.

Popular (pop) culture evolved from artistic traditions and is appreciated as a form of expression from the people for the people.

Visual culture can be a subject matter or theme that includes ways of seeing and visually representing the world, including animation, digital media, and advertisements.
Appreciation of visual arts can change through active reflection and experience with artworks.
Skills & Procedures
Create artworks that reflect visual and popular culture.

Use visual arts vocabulary when responding to or sharing opinions about artworks.
The Enlightenment period rejected the previous art movement, Rococo, which was elaborate and extravagant as profiled in the Palace of Versailles, in France.

The Rococo movement was rejected because it featured artworks that did not reflect the lifestyle of the common people.

The neoclassical art movement that emerged during the period of the Enlightenment featured the ideas of freedom, democracy, and reason.

Artworks during this time were also heavily influenced by the discovery of Pompeii, which reignited an interest in ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture.

Neoclassical art emphasized realism through the use of symmetry and carefully organized compositions, as seen in Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii, c. 1784.

Neoclassicism reflected the culture of the common people during the French Revolution because it embraced the ideals of freedom and equality.
The way in which the visual arts are understood and appreciated has changed throughout history.
Skills & Procedures
View artworks from the Enlightenment and the French Revolution as an inspiration for talking about and creating art.
Before colonization of the United States of America, the Indigenous people had rich and historical traditions of visual arts that continue to be celebrated today.

As the United States of America became colonized, people brought with them a large and varied tradition of arts and crafts, which became known as folk art.

The American Revolution was based on the ideals of the Enlightenment, and the neoclassical style was reflected in the architecture of the United States during this time, as seen in The White House, in Washington, DC.

American artworks and artists are famous for their contributions to visual culture and modern art, and can include
  • Andy Warhol, pop art
  • Jackson Pollock, abstract expressionism
  • Jacob Lawrence, Harlem Renaissance
  • Mark Rothko, colour field painting
The Harlem Renaissance (1917–1930s) was a rich artistic and cultural art movement in the United States of America.

During the Harlem Renaissance, black artists were free to express black lives and identity for the first time in American history, as seen in
  • Aaron Douglas, The Judgment Day, 1939
  • James Lesesne Wells, Looking Upward, 1928
  • Norman Lewis, Jazz, c. 1938
Visual art traditions existed prior to the colonization of the United States of America and evolved as more people came to the land.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss how the evolution of art in the United States of America was a reflection of culture and historical events.

Create artworks in the style of an American artist.