Monthly Archives: October 2015

Photography – Composition and photographic heroes – 10/21


A.Read the article below, choose the 3 compositional techniques that interest you the most.

Photographic Composition Tips

B. Look at the importance in cropping and the difference it made in these pictures.

The Bigger Picture – the uncropped version

C. As you have time over this quarter, refer to this list of 100 photographers to know and get to know the ones you like.

100 photographers to know – with active links to images


Art 1 – Morandi – Due Oct. 29


1. Listen to former Met curator, Thomas Hoving, introduce the Morandi show:

2. Read the review in the NY Times which gives background about the artist, his context, and ideas about the significance of his work.


3. Watch the video of a collection of his works:

4. Now, in your sketchbook comments, explain which things you think were most important in making Morandi the artist that he was (biography, history, work habits, beliefs) and which things are most important to you as an artist making your own still life.

In your sketchbook, spend an hour drawing objects from home using full tonal shading and (almost) no contours.  Work from a light gestural structural skeleton and then add continuous tone.

For your own interest, you may want to watch the time lapse still life drawings below:

Go to the playlist and choose the sixth from the left with the 3 objects and then watch this drawing take shape from analytic phase to the final blending.

Here is a quick description of analyzing form and looking for formal elements in a still life composition:

Art 3 – wildlife illustration – 10/20


Read about the importance of predators and take notes on the various eco chains mentioned:

Predators in crisis

Make notes on the interconnectedness of nature in the Yellowstone ecosystem:

Look at the following website and be sure to look at: Gallery Artists, On the Easel (Work in Progress), and Blog: Art Stories (Niki Firmin, in particular, and the stages of her painting “Raising a Little Dust”) Pay careful attention to the importance of composition as well as detail.

Look at the website  of Alison Nicholls and her stylized artwork. Then go to her blog and read the article about the success of conservation linked to

Make notes about wildlife conservation issues important to you and  do some research,  gather some images, draw some thumbnail composition ideas, in preparation for your small painting.

Laurie Marker is a conservationist who recently came to Santa Cruz for her nonprofit, Cheetah Conservation Fund.








Art 2 – Science Illustration – Birds – 10/19


Take notes when you watch the following video and think carefully about what James Prosek says about seeing nature:

Note also what Jane Kim says about her art, painting birds:

Read about the exhibition “Maria Sibylla Merian and Daughters: Women of Art and Science”, watch the slideshow and read or listen to all of the commentary for each & take notes.

Maria Sibylla Merian and Daughters: Women in Art and Science

Watch the following two technical videos:


And last but not least,

here is a site with beautiful drawings from the Farallon Islands by a professional illustrator, Sophie Webb. Maybe you know some of her books!

Sophie Webb










Art 2 – Scratchboard – Flowers, drawing the light – 10/5


Take notes in your sketchbook on all of the following.

View the Russ McMullins scratchboard tutorial.


and the video tutorial by Lars Erik Robinson

scratchboard demo

View the compositions and techniques in the link below:

scratchboard flowers

Read about the ideas regarding each of these flower paintings.  Look at the comments, the symbolism, and the composition in each:

10 flower paintings to know

At home, research online ideas about the symbolism of flowers and the particular meaning you want to signify by the flowers you choose. You may bring in a real flower to work from, a photo you have taken of a flower, or use a photo from the internet of a flower, as long as you combine it with foliage from another photo and change the composition.

You will be using cross contours as you scratch away the light. Note the method of looking at light rather than dark as you draw.  How is it different from the way you usually see and usually draw?  What will your aesthetic goals be with this scratchboard drawing?