Colour, line and shape


Colour, line and shape and identity are the focus for this session. Three artists have been selected as they use these art elements in such diverse ways. Students contrast these images with aerial views on film and through Google earth searches. Reflecting on this students create their own art work depicting their sense of place.

Remind students to observe correct protocols and to use the glossary when necessary. Encourage the sustained use of information and communication technologies to create their art works and to record, document and present their research and learning to the class, for self evaluation and teacher assessment.

Student notes

Exploring and responding

Colour, line and shape

Purkitji (Sturt Creek) was painted in 2004 by Boxer Milner Tjampitjin, a senior law man and custodian and explores how flood water flows down and over a creek.

Colour, line and shape

Yuninpa was painted by Bai Bai Napangarti in 1996 and depicts water in a creek as part of a deep soakage.

Colour, line and shape

Natjula was painted by Tjuruparu Watson in 2003 and celebrates the place he grew up in and significant rock holes.

Select and compare these art works and read about the artist, their community and search for related video and film clips in the Tradition and Transformation resource. Use the Artful Thinking questions to assist your inquiry.

  • What can you see? (use observation skills)
  • What do you think this is about? (practice reflection, analysis and interpretation skills)
  • Pose questions that generate further enquiry. (develop research skills)

Respond to these questions and record your notes on the interactive whiteboard, your computer or your visual diary. What do you notice about the composition, patterns, lines, shapes and colours in these paintings? Identify the artists who have used geometric, organic and repetitive patterns.

In Purkitji the artist, Boxer Milner Tjampitjin, represents floodwater flowing down a creek. The white water occurs when the creek is in full flood after rain on the clay soils upstream.

Describe how the artist uses colour and repetition to achieve this.

This artist is a senior law man who is custodian for the Dreaming stories and songs of this area. His art work depicts rainbows, rain clouds and the temporary creeks of the wet season. People who do not belong to this community do not have permission to use or copy these images or the particular patterns the artist uses. Look in the glossary and discuss the meaning of the Dreaming and custodian.

Look up Sturt Creek on Google Earth and compare the aerial geographic perspective with the painting Purkitj. What do you notice?

Look up the central Australian town of Papunya on Google Earth and discuss the shapes created by this view. The Papunya township has been designed with the Honey ant dreaming pattern as there are so many Honey ant dreaming sites in the region. Honey ant dreaming sites are significant places where ancestors travelled during the making of the land. This design shows cultural respect.

Compare the design of Papunya with a Google earth view of your school. Observe the difference in lines and shapes.

Most school sites are geometric with straight lines, rectangular buildings, fences, pathways and open space often defined by more straight lines. The approach towards town planning at Papunya reveals the strong relationship that Indigenous people have with the land they live on.

Creating and making

View students from a Victorian high school as they observe their school and use colour, line and shape on the IWB to create a new image of their school.

On the interactive whiteboard, look up your school on Google Earth. Discuss the main shapes and list what they represent. Observe the nature of these shapes shown in this aerial perspective, how are trees, roads, fences, buildings depicted? Is this design geometric or organic, is pattern repetitive? Is there a visual balance? Look for open space.

Create your image about your important places

Discuss the significance of place, where you were born, where your grandparents came from, places where important activities, festivals, sporting events and cultural celebrations are held.

Consider how places we call home and other locations contribute towards our sense of identity. Research important places and make notes to explain your choices.

Use Google Earth to locate and record specific areas. This may include your home, significant buildings in your town or city, shopping centres, sporting areas, skate parks, gardens and bushland, holiday destinations.

Talk about how you could paint, draw or collage your interpretation from this perspective. Save this information to files or print hard copies.

Explore ways to present these images using the interactive whiteboard, on your computer or using visual art materials Record the development of your art work through web cam, digital photos or in your visual diary.

View students from a Victorian High school on the film clip as they create a shared view of Federation Square and others work on their computers and paper using colour, line and shape to create a new image of their place.

Reflect on the different ways Indigenous artists used colour, line and shape. As you create your art work consider composition, pattern and repetition, focal point, visual balance and the use of primary and secondary colour.

Present your art work to the class using the interactive whiteboard for display making reference to the development of your work and the changes you made.