Lesson Plan: Solving the Art Puzzle [Presented by Blick Art Materials]

If we think of art as a puzzle to be solved, there are individual pieces that an artist organizes and puts together to complete the entire image. 

The individual pieces of the puzzle are called Elements of Art, and they are Line, Form, Shape, Texture, Color, Space, and Value.  

An artist may use Principles of Design the way a person might solve a puzzle — selecting each piece and examining it, comparing it with others, turning it, trying it out, moving it to another location — until it all comes together into one picture. These “clues” that unscramble the pieces are: Balance, Proportion, Contrast/Variety, Rhythm/Movement, Emphasis, Unity/Harmony, and Pattern.  

Students will build a puzzle with pieces based on the elements of art, then assemble them into a structure following the “clues” — the Principles of Design. Part of the structure will be selected as a focal point or area of emphasis, supported by other “clues” that guide the eye to it.  

While any board could be used, balsa wood provides a rigid surface that is also soft enough to press texture into with just a pencil lead. It accepts watercolor and other media beautifully, plus it cuts easily with scissors. Finished “puzzles” will be substantive low-relief sculptures.  

**GRADES 5-12** Note: Instructions and materials are based upon a class size of 24 students. Adjust as needed.

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