Category Archives: Art 1

Art 1 – Still Life Painting – Due 3/26


Read the description of Frida Kahlo’s painting and note the composition, color system, and symbolism:

Kahlo’s Still Life: Pitahayas

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

For your sketchbook notes, comment on the following:

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

2.  Two techniques from Wilson’s work that you will try in your still life painting.

The next studio painting will be based on your realism drawing from the fall semester. You will use a viewfinder to crop elements to create a new composition. You may choose to incorporate images of fruit that you sketched this past week.

For sketchbook, spend 30 minutes drawing from still life objects that you select and set up at home.

Split Complement Color Schemes

Examples of split complement color systems for this painting project.


Art 1 – Surreal Perspective – due 3/12



Flying Houses by Laurent Chehere

With your next creative sketchbook drawing in mind (to create your own surreal, dreamlike world through perspective) look at the 4 following links. In your sketchbook notes, comment on what image interests you at each link. Make some observations about the technical aspects of making a surreal scene and the emotional effect. (Note, the modern architecture at the last site is not surreal but some of the buildings are so unusual, they inspire the imagination. Comment on the technical feats and the resultant emotional effect.)

Flying Houses by Laurent Chehere

Surreal Architecture

Victor Enrich architectural images

Modern Architecture

In your sketchbook drawing, show a building exterior in perspective with surrealist components to create an emotional, imaginative, or fantastical effect.

Some standards for a surrealist effect: change of scale, context, altering of physical characteristics.

Finish your drawing with full shading in black and white and some color, for expressive effect. Your work should reflect at least one full hour of drawing time. You will be given some lead time for this drawing in class.

For your interest, here’s a link to Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” and the Surrealist movement:


Art 1 – Formal Elements and Non-Objective Designs – due 3/5


The Formal Elements: Art Elements (left) and Design Principles (right)


As you watch this sequence (from Disney’s acclaimed 1940 film “Fantasia”), observe the formal elements used to create non-objective designs. Notice the choice of shapes in relation to the music as well as the movement and rhythm created by repetition and gradation (in terms of both color and shape). Think about space and form, emphasis and contrast, balance and unity.

Sketchbook notes: Comment on the areas in the film that you find most pleasing/interesting. Do your best to analyze why you find certain aspects to be visually interesting and how the formal elements and principles are “working.” Answer some of the following questions in your notes. What kinds of colors are used? Do you recognize any color systems like analogous or complementary? How is movement created? How is balance achieved (is it symmetrical or asymmetrical)? Where do you see examples of emphasis or contrast?  Consider any other questions you feel are significant.

Sketchbook homework: Look at the non-objective “chance” images that you cut out for homework last week. Choose two that are visually interesting to you. Consider the significance of balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, and unity in making your choices. Then spend at least 40 minutes drawing and shading these two chance compositions in your sketchbook.

Art 1 – Chance Composition and the Color Game – due 2/26


Observe Jean Arp’s composition and listen to the museum curator’s description through the audio clip. In your sketchbook notes, comment on ideas of “assisted chance.”

Audio Link/Jean Arp

1. Why did Dada artists embrace ideas of chance and improvisation in their art forms?

Dada and Chance Creations

2. Then, spend at least 10 minutes doing the game (see link below). Play all six levels as you try to perfect your matches.

Through the game you are exercising your eyes to see saturation and value. Share your experience playing the game in class.

3. For this week’s sketchbook activity, find small chance compositions that are non-objective and are visually satisfying to you. They can be derived from actual images, but crop them so that they appear non-objective.

Cut out and paste in your sketchbook. Use newspaper or magazine sources. Include a minimum of 3 black-and-white and 3 color for full credit. We will be using these for painting ideas so follow your aesthetic taste.

Art 1 – Glazing with Transparencies & “The Art Assignment” – due 2/20


Transparent glazing modifies hues with each added layer.

In your sketchbook notes, respond to the following two questions:

1. Which of the following tips from the site below do you find most important in your exploration of the transparent painting process? Explain why in the context of one of your paintings.

tips on transparent glazing

2. What did you learn from the short article below about painting in transparent glazes and how will you apply it to your current painting?

painting in glazes in acrylics

Odili Donald Odita – Observations on color and “The Art Assignment.” We will view this segment in class:

For your weekly 45-minute sketchbook drawing, select 3 or more “white” objects (a sheet of paper, cups and saucers, paper towel roll, a dishcloth, etc.) and arrange in a still life. In your sketchbook, lightly pencil in the contour lines. Then, use color pencil or watercolor to indicate the subtle warm or cool hues of each object.

For more examples, observe Giorgio Morandi’s still life paintings of objects with “white” surfaces:

Morandi’s Still Life Palette


Art 1 – Color in Advertising – due 2/6


Look at the following links:


Notes: For your sketchbook notes, comment on what you consider to be effective color strategies used by advertisers in the videos above. In your experience, are there any ads that you can recall as having an effect on you because of the use of color?

Next, comment on how color is used for expressive effect in one of the following images:

Sketch: In your sketchbook, do a full thirty-minute color pencil drawing inspired by the imagery in one of the videos above.

Art 1 – Color and Music – due 1/30


This program (written by Ali Nikrang for Mozarteum Kultur GmbH) visualizes a piano performance in realtime using the “Color Theory” by Scriabin.
Here are a few examples. (In this case the program uses a standard midi-file and an ePiano to play it.)

Notes and Colors:
C :  Red
C# D Flat : Violet
D :  Yellow
D# E Flat :  Steel colors with metal shine
E : Whitish-blue
F : Red, dark F# G Flat : Blue, bright
G :  Orange-pink
G# A Flat : Purplish-violet
A :  Green
A# B Flat : Steel colors with metal shine
B : Similar to E

Notes: In your sketchbook, comment first on the computer program above that correlates notes to colors and Scriabin’s piano piece.  Then, in the link below, consider whether or not you have any synesthetic tendencies. Give some examples of correlations, informally try the test with your friends, and draw some conclusions.


Sketch: For your 45 minutes of homework drawing this week, listen to music and draw according to your own preferences (in subject and media). Note on the side or back of page the type and musicians you were listening to while drawing. You may work on something completely new, or use this time to work on your current “Chagall, Music, and Spring” piece for the Symphony display.

Vassily Kandinsky Composition VII 1913

“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” -Kandinsky