Art Term Tuesday – SHAPE

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Today’s art term is SHAPE.  When a line starts and ends at the same point, a shape is born!  


Shapes can be geometric or organic, two-dimensional or three-dimensional. The easiest way for you to remember a geometric shape from an organic shape are that the geometric shapes are the ones you learned in math class, or the shapes with names. Square, rectangle, triangle, circle, oval, hexagon, octagon, to name a few. Organic shapes are the un-named shapes found in nature. 

Shapes that are two-dimensional have only a height and width while three-dimensional shapes have a height, width and depth. A two-dimensional shapes such as a “circle” turns into a “sphere” as a three-dimensional shape. A two-dimensional “triangle” turns into a three-dimensional “pyramid.”


Look at this painting by Joan Miro called Harlequin’s Carnival painted in 1924-25. Miro used multiple types of shapes in the painting, both geometric and organic. 

Miro later described the inspiration for his paintings by saying, “How did I think up my drawings and my ideas for painting? Well I’d come home to my Paris studio in Rue Blomet at night, I’d go to bed, and sometimes I hadn’t any supper. I saw things, and I jotted them down in a notebook. I saw shapes on the ceiling…”

What shapes do you see in this painting? How many different shapes can you point to? How many shapes can you name?

Here is a great quote by Georgia O’Keeffe, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way–things I had no words for.”

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