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Chapter 3 Summary—English

The Media and Processes of Art

Lesson 1: Two-Dimensional Media
Artists use many different materials, or media, to create art. In two-dimensional artworks, such as drawing and painting, artists use media such as crayons, paints, pastels, and pencils. Drawing is often the first step in making an artwork. The most popular drawing media are graphite pencils, colored pencils, crayons, colored markers, pens, pastels, and chalk. Painting is the process of applying color to a surface such as canvas, paper, or wood, using tools such as a brush, a painting knife, a roller, or even your fingers. All paints are made up of pigments (colored powders), binder (a material that holds the grains of pigments together), and solvent (a liquid that controls the thickness of the paint). In printmaking, an artist repeatedly transfers an original image from one prepared surface to another. There are three basic steps in printmaking. (1) The artist creates the printing plate, a mirror image of the final print. A print is the impression created on a surface by the printing plate. (2) He or she applies ink to the plate, and (3) presses paper against the plate to transfer the ink to it. Together, all the prints made from the same plate, or set of plates, form an edition. In addition, there are four main printmaking techniques: relief printing, intaglio, lithography, and screen printing. It is important to take into account these different media and techniques when looking at works of art.

Lesson 2: Three-Dimensional Media
In three-dimensional artworks, artists use media, like clay and plastic, to make solid forms that have height, width, and depth. Sculpture is a three-dimensional work of art, which sculptors can use clay, glass, plastics, wood, stone, or metal. There is sculpture in the round and relief sculpture. The first type—sculpture in the round, or freestanding sculpture—is surrounded on all sides by space. The second type, relief sculpture, projects into space from a flat background and is viewed from only one side. There are four basic sculpting techniques. (1) In modeling, a soft material—such as clay, wax, and plaster—is built up and shaped. (2) In carving, the sculptor cuts, chips, or drills from a solid mass made of wood or stone. (3) In casting, molten metal or another substance is poured into a mold and allowed to harden. (4) In assembling or constructing, various materials are gathered and joined together to make a sculpture. Crafts, works of art created by hand, are often three-dimensional. These objects are functional as well as decorative. The different categories of functional crafts are weavings, quilts, baskets, pottery, handmade glass objects, and jewelry. Architecture is another three-dimensional art form. It is the planning and creation of buildings. Architects must study engineering, as well as the visual arts, to create buildings that are functional and pleasing to the eye. They must consider the environment in which a structure will be placed as well as the strengths of the media they will use.

Lesson 3: Technological Media
Artists constantly seek out new media, leading to many new forms of art, such as photography, film, video, and computer art. Many artists use photography to express their artistic vision. Photography is the technique of capturing optical images on light-sensitive surfaces. Today, film is the main photographic medium. Unlike still cameras, motion picture cameras have the ability to move the film through the camera. Today, cinematographers, artists who use movie cameras, can use many different film media and production processes to create exciting, artistic films. A newer way to record moving events is video technology, which imprints both sound and pictures onto a tape. Many artists use video since it does not require any special processing—they can record an event and watch it immediately. Artists also increasingly use computers with special software programs such as paint and draw programs. In paint programs, images are made by filling in the tiny dots, called pixels, where the images are stored. These dots are filled in by using a variety of brush tools. In draw programs, each line or curve drawn is stored as a separate object. This allows for more crisp, sharp edges, and images can be resized without distortion. Artists also use tools such as digital cameras and scanners. With all of these options available, artists can create multimedia art, using computer software to combine text, graphics, video, and sound into a single artwork. Multimedia art expands the boundaries of art by including more sensory experiences.


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