ADV Drawing and Painting

Visual Energy Forces

Create > Visual Energy

Goal Concept:

Understand and be able to visually express that behind the surface appearance of art designs there lies a complex network of psychologically felt forces.

Access Prior Knowledge:

“Perhaps the most radical change that has occurred in the history of theoretical thinking is the switch from the atomistic conception of the world as an assembly of circumscribed things to that of a world of forces acting in the dimension of time.  These forces are found to organize themselves in fields, interacting ,grouping, connecting, fusing, and separating.  ~Rudoph Arnheim

New Information:


All visual designs are constellations of energy.  Our signature, for example, is a line scribble that that possesses a cardiogram or seismograph of forces.  Likewise, every work of art possesses an underlying psychological force field that is an inherent but invisible part of its structure.  

We first perceive things through our sensory organs, which then transmit electrical pulses to the brain.  As an artists, we want to understand this and control these psychological forces in visual composition.

Visual perception involves the stimulation of the retina by light rays.  The light rays are organized by the brain into spatial units.  Psychologically, visual forces are perceived as ‘felt-tensions’ and operate continuously as forces of push and pull, attraction and repulsion, expansion and contraction.

For the ADV Learner > Rothko on beauty, friendship, art & relationships > 

Art References:

Richard Pousette-Darte > 

Juan Miro > 

Peter Young > 

Yayoi Kasama > 

Apply Knowledge and Skills:

Instructional Strategy

Learning Activity

Analyze > VTS Image Analysis - Forces >  

View Responses >   

Analyze > Richard Pousette-Dart > 

Instructional Strategy

Learning Activity

Create > Scribble Field

Goal: Create an allover pattern of squiggly lines that generates visual energy.

Studio Activity: Scribble Field

Fill an entire sheet of paper with squiggly lines to produce an allover energy field.  Repeat and superimpose both short and long lines until a tightly-woven visual texture is produced.  Darken some lines slightly, or accent certain areas to suggest cryptic images hidden within the visual field.  Keep the images vague and subliminal.  Think of the scribble pattern as an ‘opportunity field’ like cloud formations on which to project mental images.   

Trigger Mechanisms:

Repeat, superimpose, animate, disguise

Visual examples:

Instructional Strategy

Learning Activity

Create > Dot Energy Pattern


Goal: Develop closely packed dots to produce visual energy

Studio Activity: Dot Energy Pattern

Develop an energy pattern in two steps.  First, create the background:  Use a wide brush to paint flat interlocking areas in different colors.  Next, over the dried surface, ‘print’ dot patterns to develop a density pattern.  Don’t overlap the dots, but pack them closely together to evoke an energetic effect.  For variety, print clusters of different color combinations.  

What happens when you give thousands of kids thousands of dots??? Look and see > 

Trigger Mechanisms:

Repeat, superimpose, animate, disguise


Paint, brushes, heavy paper, ‘printing’ tools (pencil eraser, wooden doweling...

Visual Examples: 

Generalize, Reflect & Publish:

Instructional Strategy

Learning Activity

Reflect > Should I go back and rework anything?

Instructional Strategy

Learning Activity

Publish > Share your album to our G+Community > Concepts & Creations category

Display > Add your photos to the Event

Instructional Strategy

Learning Activity

Critique > 

Self-assess >