Rhythm is when a shape or object is repeated at regular intervals in a work of art, like telephone poles or slats on a fence. The eye goes from object to object, and it creates a feeling of a regular beat, as in music. Variety is when things are different from each other. Unity is when all of the elements in a work of art look like they belong together, or have something in common with each other. Students in grades 5 to 8 can explore these principles of design by creating a landscape of row houses.
Row houses were built after WWII, when a lot of men came back from the war, got married, and bought their first home. The architect used the same plan over and over again, so the houses looked alike and had the same floor plan. This helped make the homes affordable, and quick to build. The buyers made their houses look different by painting them different colors, planting different bushes, or using different colors on the doors and shutters.
The materials needed for this project can vary, depending on the techniques that have already been taught. The students can use water colors, and use techniques such as adding salt, dabbing with a sponge, or removing paint with a paper towel to make a variety of textures. The students can also use crayons to practice shading, or make a variety of textures by using different types of lines with fine tip markers.
Before class, find examples of row houses; houses that are built very close together, with a common design, but variety in color and style. Find templates that can be traced around to make rectangles, such as used gift cards, squares of poster board, or rulers.
Use a long, narrow piece of paper. Draw a line for the ground. Draw a row of rectangles that are evenly spaced. Draw roofs, chimneys, windows and doors that are alike to complete the rhythm of the row houses. Then, add variety to the houses by making them different colors, and adding different textures such as a brick pattern, wood siding, and stucco. Add other elements to create variety by adding shutters, bushes, lawn ornaments and weather vanes.
Sunshine State Standards
VA.A.1.3.3 understands what makes various organizational elements and principles of design effective and ineffective in the communication of ideas.
- The student demonstrated an understanding of rhythm by making the houses evenly spaced.
- The student demonstrated an understanding of variety by making the houses different colors and textures.
- The student used previously taught techniques to create texture.
- The student demonstrated an understanding of unity by making the houses the same size and shape.
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