Art Digest #1: Balance, Movement, Line (Days 20 through 29: 365 Days of ART)

Hello Blog Readers. I hope this email finds you well. 

Today’s post is a digest with “nine days of art” in order to close out the month of December.  

I invite you to read a section each day, or you might want to peruse this in one sitting.  

Please note that the 365 Days of Art Posts are not meant to be exhaustive; instead, this is meant to provide some reminders and light overviews about ART.

This is also meant to be a creative share and so please keep this in mind as you peruse the different days. 

The Priorhouse 365 Days of Art (Final Nine Days for 2016)

Day 20:Balance

Day 21: Movement

Day 22: Eye Movement

Day 23: Landscape Example of Balance 

Day 24:Landscape Example of Movement 

Day 25: Art In Everyday Objects

Day 26: Line 

Day 27: Line & Art Criticism

Day 28: Jonathan Lasker’s, The Quotidian

Day 29: Literary Art: Poem Makin’ Jump Shots 



DAY #20: Balance

Balance refers to the feeling of stability or equilibrium in a work. A work with symmetrical balance has elements on both sides that are similar whereas asymmetrical balance has both sides different.  However, asymmetrical balance can still appear balanced if the items portray a sense of equal (or near equal weight).  We will see examples of this later in this post. And to close off today’s topic of balance, I want to mention that a piece with radial balance has the subject or elements arranged around a central point, like this:


Day 21: Movement

Movement, which is a principle of design in art, describes the pathway that the viewer’s eye might take through the work of art, often to certain focal items.Please note that implied movement is different from “eye movement,” which refers to the way the viewer’s eyes move through a piece of art. T

The visual eye movement can be directed along colors, lines, edges, shapes, and use of space within the work of art.


Movement in a work of art can also show actual movement (Calder’s mobiles), or it can show implied action, or movement might also show tempo and rhythm. Implied action can be shown thru using lines that are diagonal, gestural, and directional or by repeating lines or images. Artists also can use the position and size of objects to show movement. 

Day 22: Eye Movement

Have you ever noticed the way your eye moves around an art painting?  Ever wondered where you start looking, how long do you spend examining different sections, and along which paths? Now even though people will differ on what they find engaging visually, the path that the viewer’s eye takes is sometimes similar – there can be a “left to right” or “bottom up” processing.  Then, the USE of the elements of art helps determine what draws a viewer in.  The lines, subject placement, colors, etc.

We are told to “not” place a subject in the exact middle of a frame – or they say to not place the item in the “bull’s-eye” center. We use a tic-tac-toe grid to consider placement.  This also ties into lessons on the “rule of thirds,” which goes beyond the scope of this blog post, but it has been found that bull’s eye placement causes the viewer’s eye to look and then bounce off and away.  Here is an example of how placement can be considered:


DAY 23: Landscape Example of Balance

This landscape has a sense of balance with ‘equivalent weight’ as the mountains have approximate symmetry. (This is a part II to ship balance post – HERE.)




Day 24: Landscape Example of Eye Movement

In our landscape from Day #23, the winding river pulls the eye in — and around — the composition, which also interplays with the opening sky and spacing of the clouds.

Refer back to the above landscape image (for day #23) and look at the “orange”  lines and blue wavy arrows to see an example of the way the eye might move through this piece.  

Then look at the different variations of this piece (below) showing how edits can help us see more of the edges, lines, and use of space:

The reflection in the water (lower left) works with the clouds to give us some interest to the left side, allowing some movement as the eye can move through the water and to the anchoring mountains to enjoy details like the small waterfall (mid-right), the rocks in (lower right), and the depth.


Day 25: Art in Everyday objects

This photo is a great example of modern ways we use art for everyday objects. Students might be asked to examine the photo and then write down 3 or 4 elements of art – looking for shapes, color, lines, textures .  After they write down a few items, discuss what was observed and maybe talk about how artists help design everyday items.  There are so many things can come up, but just to get you thinking, we could talk about the star shape of the candle holder base, the floral design in the closer phone case and the solid hue in the other phone case. Likely, a designer created those eyeglass frames, and even the box has art with the pattern of bulbs on the side, snow flakes, and typography. That is it for Day #25, and maybe later today you can look around and see how art can be found in everyday objects.

Day 26: Line

One of the elements of art (EOA) is “line” – which can be defined as  a moving point, or as a dot that goes for a walk and as a mark that has more length than width.

Lines can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curly, straight, spiral, curved, thick, thin, dashed, broken, irregular, etc. Some say there are three families of lines: straight, curved, and angles.

Young children can make a “little book of lines”where each page shows a different line.

Older students can use contour lines to learn to see shapes and they can use line to show direction and movement.

In art, lines “physically exist” and they exist in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional art (Lazzari & Schlesier, 2011). Lines can show shapes and outlines and the direction and grouping of lines can show tones and communicate meaning. Implied lines are perceived areas that we see, but they are not physically visible. Gesture lines can show movement or affect.  

Lines and shapes can be used to make art come alive. 

EOA: Lines: Day 27 Priorhouse’s 365 Days of Art

Day 27: Line & Art Criticism

Art criticism refers to making educated and critical judgments about specific works of art.  We teach students to use the EOA to describe a work of art, and for today’s art focus, let me show you how you might just use “line” to critically respond to a work of art.

A. Students could give a written or verbal description of how line might was used in a work to show shape and space (volume).

B. The student would then try to distinguish between lines of objects and lines of composition, e.g., thick, thin, wavy, variable, irregular, dashed, indistinct, etc.

C. Students are asked to look for “Line Weight” – which refers to thickness or thinness of the ways lines are used.  Students look for different weights of lines and then discuss if lines were used to show tension, movement, near-far, emphasis, or to create objects.

Detail from Jonathan Lasker’s The Quotidian: The artist used thicker lines to show us the hoop – and even a basketball is hidden in the layers. Notice the 5 wavy dangling lines, implying the loose ends of the net. The line design in the back shows us the backboard.

Day 28: Example of Line, Balance, & Movement: Jonathan Lasker’s The Quotidian

This basketball hoop/backboard line design drawing by Jonathan Lasker (from my old post here).  I like this drawing for many reasons, but for today, let’s just look at the sense of balanced weight  and the use of line for design and to make images.

How does your eye move through the spaced sections?


“The Quotidian” By Jonathan Lasker (2007). Notice the equivalent basketball line design art drawing. (Day 28 Priorhouse’s 365 Days of Art)

Day 29: Literary Art: Poems are a form of art 

“Makin’ Jump Shots”


He waltzes into the lane

’cross the free-throw line,

fakes a drive, pivots,

floats from the asphalt turf

in an arc of black light,

and sinks two into the chains.


One on one he fakes

down the main, passes

into the free lane

and hits the chains.


A sniff in the fallen air—

he stuffs it through the chains

riding high:

“traveling” someone calls—

and he laughs, stepping

to a silent beat, gliding

as he sinks two into the chains.




This is the final art post for December © 2016 Priorhouse

See you in January 2017 as the 365 Days of Art continues….




Bradley, S. (2013). Design fundamentals: Elements, attributes & principles. Boulder: Vanseo Design.

Lazzari, M., & Schlesier, D. (2011). Exploring art: A global, thematic approach. Boston, MA: Cengage.





17 thoughts on “Art Digest #1: Balance, Movement, Line (Days 20 through 29: 365 Days of ART)

    1. What do I think?
      I think fantastic post!
      Need to go back later and enjoy it a bit more – but that post really does fit in here too – with the movement and eoa mentioned – thanks bushboy for sharing the link….
      My favorite line was actually one on the palm frond:
      “A palm frond stands tall before it opens to lay flat”
      And then moving into the water photos — 😉
      Side note – the first four images did not open – but I will try again later….

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Y! I will take your advice and read in bits to absorb and imbibe more. I found the Eye movement interesting and also didnt know about not placing right in the centre of the frame. But the photo on the right does look better. Does everyone see from left to right? I wonder how I see? Off to hunt for a picture 😀 Thanks for these awesome art lessons 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks DawD – and as I looked back at what I read – I did not make it too clear on how we see….
      And no
      Not everyone sees from left to right – not even those who read left to right!
      And not everyone sees bottom up.
      However – the little bit I know of the ROT – which was mostly with paintings – but applies to photography and gets more details in photography – and actually – my hibiscus is not even that accurately placed for a great example – but it was all I could muster up with the time limit I set for this post!
      Anyhow – many studies have shown that the eye does bounce right off when a subject is bull’s eye.
      And the eyes can move along and back and in when hitting some of the points on that tic tag toe grid – and this is why many cameras have the grid.
      However – I still think it depends on the artist (and photographer) and should be what they feel led to do!
      And sometimes so many photos with ROT placement feel so tired to me.
      And most rules are “guidelines” and always exceptions –
      Thanks for dropping by and hope you find he photo you are hunting for!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi YC- thanks for dropping by and for taking the time to read. When I used to teach, it was so fun seeing the students use the EOA to describe artwork.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for the comment and if you want to practice some drawing this coming year – check out the book by Mona Brooks “drawing for older children and adults”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A bit like Carolyn in the first comment, I found this post interesting despite my complete lack of knowledge about art. I was especially interested in the part about eye movement. Who knows, perhaps my photography skills will improve a little. (I guess many of the same concepts apply to photography.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi bun – Well you have the graffiti art down (remember your old post?)
      Oh and I
      need to go back into this post and edit a bit –
      But I have come to find that many concepts do overlap – but at more professional levels some photographers are more into the visible spectrum of light that does not pertain to painting – anyhow – thanks for reading – and happy new year

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoy art and have members of my family who have studied it. I have just taken school art classes. Your December posts were very enlightening and helpful. Thanks! Hope you have a fantastic new year, 2017. Smiles, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Robin (and I smile back) and I really appreciate your feedback. I am still deciding how to do the 365 days of art and know it will unfold a bit more as 2017 unfolds.
      Have a great day


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