The TExES Art EC – 12 Exam is a certification examination that is designed to determine if an individual possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to teach art at any grade level in the Texas public school system. This exam assesses an individual’s knowledge of art-related topics such as the processes and techniques used to create art, the history of art, how art can be an indication of a society’s culture and history, methods of analyzing art, characteristics that can make a piece more visually attractive and appealing, and other similar topics. This exam is required in order for an individual to become certified as an entry-level art teacher in the state of Texas. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that are related to the following areas:
- Creating Works of Art (32%)
- Art, Culture and History (27%)
- Aesthetic Knowledge and Analysis of Art (14%)
- Art Education (27%)
Some of the questions on the exam will present the exam-taker with a piece of artwork that the individual will have to analyze in order to answer the questions that relate to the specific piece of artwork. The exam-taker will have five hours to complete the exam and the exam will be scored on a scale of 100 – 300 with 240 set as the minimum score considered as passing for the exam. The Art EC – 12 Exam is offered in a computer-based format and the registration fee for the exam is $131. However, there may be other exams and fees that are required in addition to this exam in order to become certified as an entry-level art teacher within the state of Texas.
Sample Study Notes
1. Discuss aesthetic perception.
Aesthetics is the area of philosophy that studies the nature and expression of beauty and people’s instinctive reaction to the fine arts. In Kantian philosophy, aesthetics is the part of metaphysics that studies the laws of perception. Aesthetic perception is the experience of a beautiful sensation, especially through sight and sound. Perception is knowledge gained through insight and intuition. Aesthetic perception is the ability to appreciate and understand the nature, beauty, and validity of the fine arts, including music, painting, sculpture, theater, drama, comedy and literature. A person who is especially sensitive to beauty, and consistently exhibits good taste as defined by the prevailing concept of the fine arts, is said to have aesthetic perception. The English philosopher Alfred North Whitehead observed, “Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.” Dialogues, June 10, 1943.
2. Discuss creative expression.
Creativity is the ability to produce a work of art (music, painting, sculpture, comedy, drama, literature) that is original and imaginative. To express something is to convey an idea, an emotion, or an opinion, or to create a direct or indirect representation of an idea, emotion or opinion. The representation can be in words, sounds, pictures, gestures, signs and/or symbols. A person with a taste for creative expression has the burning need to bring forth a unique manifestation of his or her understanding and interpretation of mankind’s primal desires. A soaring music score by Beethoven, a memorable scene by Grandma Moses, a gentle poem by Emily Dickinson, and a moving performance by Sir Laurence Olivier are all examples of individual creative expression by artists of uncompromising vision. It should be noted, however, that every person is capable of creative expression.
3. Discuss the four types of theme used in all fine art.
The creative ideas presented in any type of media (visual, oral, or written) can be summarized in four basic types of theme. Through the ages, every tale ever told, written, or sung has dealt with one of these types of themes. The four types of theme are:
- UNIVERSAL THEMES encompass feelings, situations and characters that all people everywhere experience. It doesn’t matter what country, culture or age, every human being understands and relates to these themes.
- TIMELY THEMES are feelings, situations and characters that people have experienced throughout recorded history. Inhabitants of medieval times as well as Elizabethan England, and even the ancient Greek and Roman emperors, would relate just the same as the current population does.
- BROAD THEMES are supported by specific examples of feelings, situations, and characters that affect cultures, countries, and governments.
- SHARED THEMES connect diverse elements into an intricate mosaic that touches people everywhere, in every culture and every age.
4. Discuss the importance of themes in all art forms.
The four themes (universal, timely, broad, and shared) are important in all forms of art. Themes help the artist, musician, writer, sculptor or architect organize ideas and concepts into a coherent whole. They present a perspective beyond the individual and his own cultural experiences, and help him connect with people in other parts of the world who have a different perspective. It encourages understanding of the similarities in the human experience. Themes connect current events to history and enable readers, viewers and listeners to learn from the past. Since art’s function is to communicate, studying earlier works of art along with the history of the era in which they were created helps current society not only to understand past civilizations but to apply lessons learned long ago to contemporary issues.
5. Define the basic elements of art: line, shape, space, texture and color.
There are five basic elements of art: line, shape, space, texture and color. Each has a specific function; each must be understood to truly appreciate the art object being studied. The following definitions are taken from the American Heritage College Dictionary:
- LINE: a continuous path made by a moving pen, pencil, or brush that makes a real or imaginary mark in relation to a point of reference
- SHAPE: the characteristic outline or contour of an object that is distinguished from its surroundings by its distinctive form
- SPACE: a three-dimensional empty area with a specific outline that is reserved for a particular purpose
- TEXTURE: the surface of an object that has distinctive or identifying characteristics
- COLOR: the appearance of an object caused by different qualities of reflected light; also involves hue, lightness, darkness, value and purity
6. Discuss how the basic elements of line and shape are used.
A line is a continuous path that makes a real or imaginary straight or curved mark. It can be an actual mark on the paper, or can suggest shape or form by using light and shadow, color and shape, or a combination. A line can enclose or release space, express feelings, convey fast or slow movement, suggest mass or volume, or create a specific image. It can be drawn evenly or varied in intensity to suggest different characteristics from serene to frenetic, rigid to relaxed, smooth to rough.
Shape is the characteristic outline or contour of an object that is distinguished from its surroundings by its distinctive form. It refers to any real or imagined area represented by line, texture, color, space or light. Shape can be organic (resemble a living organism); geometric (circles, squares, triangles); symmetrical (balanced); non-symmetrical (random); or a combination. It can give the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. Space is used to suggest or represent a figure; achieve order, variety, and harmony; and express various moods and feelings.
7. Discuss how the basic art elements of space and texture are used.
Space is a three-dimensional empty area with a specific outline reserved for a particular purpose. It is the distance around, between, above and below and within objects. Two-dimensional art, such as drawings and photographs, is limited to height and width, so the artist uses perspective to create the illusion of depth. Linear perspective shows distant objects as being smaller than closer ones. Atmospheric perspective shows distant objects with fewer details than closer ones. Distant shapes are higher in the scene, while closer objects are lower.
Texture is the distinctive or identifying characteristics of an object’s surface. It can be real or imaginary, smooth or rough, light or dark, delicate or coarse. In two-dimensional paintings, using light brush strokes and thin layers of paint creates a smooth surface, which does not call attention to the way the paint is applied to the canvas. Using a heavy brush stroke and applying high-viscosity paint in many layers significantly contributes to the aesthetics of the painting.
8. Discuss how the basic art element of COLOR is used.
Color is the appearance of objects caused by different qualities of reflected light that involves hue, lightness, darkness, value and purity. Color is emotional and sensual; arouses primitive instincts; and affects moods, thoughts, actions, and even physical and mental health. Color usually refers to the light reflected from the surface of an object, but electric sources, white light, and fire also can create color. Hue is the named color (red, blue, etc.). Intensity is the purity of the hue. The degree of intensity is the tint or shade of the original color. The value is the amount of black or white added to the hue.
Sir Isaac Newton discovered the color spectrum and developed the color wheel. Colors opposite each other are complimentary colors and provide the greatest contrast. Red, yellow and blue are the primary colors from which all others are made. Mixing two primary colors produces orange, green and purple, also known as the secondary colors.
9. Define form and discuss the use of light and dark in two- and three-dimensional art forms.
Form is the shape and structure of an object. It has multiple meanings when used in reference to two- and three-dimensional works of art:
- As a verb meaning to shape an object
- The composition of a work of art, its organization
- The representation of a specific object on a flat surface
- A mold into which something is poured
- A limited or contained space
- In western culture, the reaction to light and dark arouses strong, primitive emotions. Light suggests goodness, intelligence and wholeness. Dark expresses mystery, ignorance and evil. Contrasting these opposites conveys feelings and has a powerful psychological impact. They can depict space and enhance form. When light is blocked and casts a shadow, the figures in a painting seem to come alive. This technique is called chiaroscuro.
- Light and shadow on sculpture and architecture define the form. As the contour fades, the light grows dimmer, causing changes in contrast and tonal value on the surface, which makes the object seem to swell and recede while enhancing the drama of its structural composition.
10. Define and explain the term art movement.
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines art as a “human effort to imitate the work of nature” which “arises from the exercise of intuitive facilities” and uses a “high quality of conception and execution.” Art is also a “system of principles and methods.” The dictionary defines movement as a “tendency or trend” that is an “organized effort by supporters of a common goal” whose actions grow and develop into a principle.
Using these guidelines, an art movement is a conceptual system of principles and methods developed by a group of artists using their intuition and talent to depict the beauty and complexity of nature.
An art movement reflects the events and activities of the era in which it developed. It can also be a reaction to a previous style. For example, postimpressionism grew out of dissatisfaction with the restrictions of expressionism. To understand an art movement, it is important to have knowledge about the culture, socioeconomic and political situation, and the impact of religion during the time the works were created.