Monthly Archives: March 2014

Art 1 – working in series – Due 3/31


1. Look at the evolution of Mondrian’s work and how he changes over a period of time.  What do you think was important to him as an artist?  Why didn’t he keep painting trees in the same way?

Look at BOTH of the links below, read both articles fully, and explain what a “series” is and discuss three points about the advantages and purpose of working in a series.

Advantages to working in a series

Jane Davies ideas about art series

For your hour sketchbook, do a drawing based on a previous drawing and make significant changes that reveal more of your personal interests as an artist.

Or, do 2 drawings that demonstrate an evolution of your artistic ideas (either in a major way, as in Mondrian’s work, or in a less drastic way, as in Jane Davies’  “Teeny Tiny Art” series.)


Art 3 – Abstraction, African American artists, and painting from collages – Due 3/26


1. Watch the following 2 videos on the history and appeal of abstraction for African American artists.  Notice especially how some of them connect it to what they see in the external reality and how others are more concerned with emotional gesture and the internal reality.  After you watch both videos, comment on what paintings appeal to you in terms of the forms, composition, and color.  Think about the use of visual space, near and far, and the way your eye is motivated to scan the painting. Consider how they “organize the visual space.”

2. In the next video, look at the magazine collages and how students translate them into paintings.  Listen to their discussion of the process and listen to the instructor’s discussion of the way to think about abstraction, referencing it as a “story” with “characters” that are sometimes only a squeek, squeel, or a grunt. Notice the wide variety of marks and approaches to abstraction from specific shapes, patterns, lines and groupings of lines, atmospheric space, gradations and blended transitions of color. After the video, click on the link for examples of highschool student’s paintings from magazine collages. Then comment on what interests you most about this project, whether or not you want to organize the collage randomly, around a theme, idea, or emotion, whether you want any identifiable imagery even though it is primarily an abstraction, and explain the goals and intentions you will embrace as you start this project

highschool artists’ paint magazine collages

Art 2 – Self Portraits – Due 3/26


1. Read the commentary about Van Gogh’s self-portrait and comment on

what interests you most about the commentary and the portrait.

Van Gogh self-portrait

2. Read the commentary about Rembrandt’s self-portraits, click on the title to enlarge the thumbnail or each of the portraits to get a much better look at the images. Comment on what interests you most about the descriptive/historical essay and which portrait you find most interesting and why.

Rembrandt self-portraits

3. Read the blog about Kollwitz’s self-portraits and comment on

what interest you most in the commentary and which portrait  you  like the most and why. (You may google more of her portraits than those shown here.)

Kollwitz self-portraits

4. Finally, comment on the portraits which you want to emulate in the process of drawing your own self-portrait and whether or not you think that approach will help you when you draw your classmates as preparation.

Photo Critique/next roll – considering photographic intentions – 3/31


1. Look at the following site and comment on some of the differences you notice – consider how art photographers seek originality, unusual points of view, depth of meaning, excellence, the exercise of technical photographic choices, to create personal stylistic distinction, and to avoid cliche’. Comment on the 3 most important distinctions to you that you want to use in your art photography (compared to when you take your snapshots.)

Snapshot vs. Fine Art Photographs

2. Watch the following 2 videos of William Klein talking about his contact sheets.  He reveals his memories of the “shoots”, the subjects, the choices he made, the effects he was after, the results he got, and when a photograph was “almost a photograph” and when a photograph became “a photograph.”  Obviously, he is talking about quality and personal intentions.  The photograph became a photograph when it satisfied his artistic goals and intentions.  What are the three most interesting aspects of the choices he makes in photographing or in refining his prints?

3. Watch this video and notice his studio and the storage of his negatives, prints, and contacts.  Also listen to his discussion about his work and the serendipity in his life.

As he talks about some of these photographs as a self-portrait (even when it is of other people), can you think of any of your photos that may  similarly be considered a self-portrait?

4. A major distinctions between a fine art photographer and a person who takes snapshots is the degree of intention in taking the photograph :

a. quality photographers change the way we see

b. quality photographs are not of something but about something

c. quality photographers reveal something about the world or themselves and have the will to make it as good as possible

In your comment, post what your strategy will be for the second half of the next roll and which of the 3 points listed above (a,b,c) are most important to you as you pursue quality photographs.



Art 1 – Blue Dog – Due 3/24


Look at the following video on George Rodrigue:

and the website:

Pay particular attention to the bio and art categories on the menu bar at his website.

NY times obituary

Pay particular attention to the way his life and art are valued in the obituary.

Make comments about:

1. What are the pros and cons for you of  the visual presence of his works (what you like and don’t like visually)?

2. Do the interpretations of his paintings make sense to you?  why or why not? (consider both subject and style)

3. Explain/explore the conflicting aspects of the art’s high market value,  the negative reviews by art critics, and the final assessment of his work in the NY Times obituary.

In your sketchbook, do an hour drawing in the style of Rodrigue, of any animal (preferably a current or former pet) in a setting or location which adds to the overall meaning.

In class, your next painting will be of a familiar animal in a setting or location which adds to the overall meaning.  You may do it in a realistic or Rodrigue style, with realistic or exaggerated colors, realistic or exaggerated form, using a color scheme.

Art 2,3,4, Independent Study – Mail art – Due 3/14


1. At the following site, read up to and including “Philosophy and Norms in the Mail Art community”

Mail Art – Wikipedia overview

2. Look at the summary of the history and context and then click on the  projects page and then the gallery page and list what you think are the 3 most interesting themes.

Mail Art website – Germany

3. List what you find to be the 3 most interesting themes at this site.

Postcard Collective

4. Explore the following site and see if you want to enter their call for entries by the 21st.

Mail me Art

5.Explore the postcard exchange by Art Therapy Without Borders and comment on the use of a postcard exchange for networking and healing. Describe your favorite postcard and explain why you like it.

Art Therapy Without Borders international postcard project

6. The following is a description of the movie about Ray Johnson that was mentioned in the sites above.

If the movie sounds interesting to you, you may want to watch it on youtube or netflix download.  It’s a very interesting documentary about the artist and art world.

Ray Johnson – How to Draw a Bunny

Art 1 – Still life painting – Due 3/10


Watch the following conversation with artist Angus Wilson about still life painting:

and the short video of his still life paintings:

In your comments, include the following:

1.  3 points about still life painting that you find of interest

2.  3 techniques from his work that you will try in your still life painting  (color, composition, or style)


3.  describe in detail the painting  you like the best and explain why you like it more than the others.

The next two paintings you will work on in class will be still lifes. One will be more realistic (based on your drawing from the fall semester.) One will be more exaggerated and sylized as Angus’ work but also based on observation from life.

SO, this week your hour sketchbook drawing is preparation for that painting.

In your sketchbook, do an hour drawing from objects that  you select and set up, in the style of Angus Wilson. You may use color or just take notes on the color scheme you intend to use.