A Daisy in the Morning

The 1st Element of Art. What’s the Point?

cc by zigazou76
CC by zigazou76


I find it amusing that while I learned about points in 6th grade art class it never had an impact on what I was doing until I started teaching computer skills to 5-8th graders.

When my students would create a project in the computer lab they would always try to copy the images from Google and paste them into their PowerPoint or Word documents. This would usually end up in a blurry mess when the student printed. If you attempt to print an image on a computer at a larger resolution or DPI, dots per inch, than the image physically is, you will have a picture that will become pixilated. The image will fail to show or reproduce correctly because there are not enough “points” in the picture at that size for the computer to make it correctly.  The effect is usually a blurry mess that the students would end up with.

I’d tell the students that we go to art and math to find the answer to the problem.

When I create a picture of a vase, I am taking a 3 dimensional object, the vase, and representing it on a 2 dimensional media, the picture.  This concept is true whether you are using a camera, paint, pencil, or even a crayon.

The brush, pen, pencil, or camera is nothing more than a tool that creates the basic element of the visual art. The basic element consists of a mark, point, spot, dot, grain, or pixel.  Each term represents the most fundamental part of any picture or painting.  If you put enough dots together in the correct pattern, shape and color you get the entire image.   In digital photography, a dot is a pixel because of the computer technology used to put the picture together.  In film photography, the word used is grain because a chemical reaction creates the image and not an electronic one.

Either way, you get the most basic beginnings of image creation. When you are discussing images in digital photography the term of resolution becomes part of the discussion.  Resolution is the total count of the number of pixels in an image.  So a picture could be 800X640 or 1064X768 or even 1920X1080.  I find it interesting that the subject of art, photography, math and computer science all combine to give us the tiniest of detail.  After all, that’s the point.

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