Discuss how Eric Fischl utilizes the visual elements of art (line, shape, form, volume, mass, color, value, texture, space, time, and motion) and principles of design (unity, balance, focal point, rhythm, scale, and proportion) in his oil painting Barbecue.

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Eric Fischl makes a rather unique use of the visual elements of art and the principles of design in his painting Barbecue. Let's look at some of these to help you get started on this assignment.

Notice the strong, sharp lines in this painting. Many of them are horizontal,...

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moving across the work, as in the table or the roof line of the house, but these are intersected, at least visually if not literally by the other sharp lines of the oddly shaped swimming pool. This brings us to the unique shapes in this work. The pool is especially eye-catching, for it has strange dimensions.

When we talk about form in this painting, we might discuss the bowl of fish sitting on the table. This brings in a three-dimensional element against the flat lines of the pool. In terms of mass and volume, we can look to the weight of the table and the depth of the swimming pool as fine examples. Color is especially striking in the cloud of fire, where the value (the blending of tones) is evident, too. Also look at the pool for value and texture.

Space is nicely captured in this painting as we look back toward the house and can get a good idea of the distance. Time may be found in the action of the fire-blower, for it is clear he has just blown the cloud of flame while the man at the grill has turned to watch. Motion is evident in that cloud and in the swimmers and the water.

When we think about the principles of design, unity is enhanced by the white pool deck that connects the various other elements together. The piece is asymmetrical in balance, but the focal point is clearly the fire-blower, as our eyes are drawn to him. Rhythm is found in green elements and the repeated lines. The scale of the picture is actually a little strange with the large table and fish in front, elements that seem out of proportion to the rest of the scene.

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