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Studio Activities

Making a Viewer
Painting a Still Life with Emphasis
Experimenting with Assembling
Analyzing an Illustration
Creating an Impressionist Painting
Experimenting with Point of View
Making a Fish Collage
Creating a Figure Study
Making an Architectural Design
Viewing Objects Up Close
Composing a Photograph
Sketching a Mythical Beast
Dance Gesture Drawing
Creating an Impossible City

Making a Viewer

To learn how a clock works, you might take it apart and study the pieces. The same is true of a work of art. By studying the elements, or "pieces," you learn what makes the work "tick." One tool that can help you sharpen your awareness of the elements of art is a viewfinder. You can easily make a viewfinder by following the directions in Technique Tip 8, Handbook. Make a viewfinder and use it to focus on familiar objects in your community, such as a tree or a building. Keep a sketchbook in which you record your findings.

PORTFOLIO

Select your best sketch, and date and sign it. Write a short evaluation on the back of the sketch and put it in your portfolio.

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Painting a Still Life with Emphasis

Arrange several everyday objects on a table or other flat surface. Plan a painting in which you give emphasis to one of the objects. You will do this by using one or more of the elements of art. Use acrylic paints to complete your picture. Share your still life with classmates, challenging them to identify the way or ways you achieved emphasis.

PORTFOLIO

Sign, date, and title your artwork. Put it in your portfolio.

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Experimenting with Assembling

One way in which artists join the pieces of an assembled sculpture is through slotting. This is cutting slits in cardboard or similar media and then fitting the pieces together. Gather sheets of scrap cardboard. These may come from a discarded carton or box. Cut the sheets into rectangles of varying sizes. Experiment with fitting together the pieces by slotting. Slot together at least ten rectangles. When you have created an interesting design, paint your sculpture. Use a large brush and school tempera. Title your work and display it along with those of classmates.

PORTFOLIO

Take a photograph of your sculpture. In self-reflection, write what you learned about the slotting process and how it might be used in another project.

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Analyzing an Illustration

Browse through old unwanted magazines. Clip out illustrations for advertisements and action photographs that you find interesting. Avoid ordinary head shots and the like. Paste one clipping to the top of a large sheet of paper. Divide the area beneath into three columns. Head one column Subject, one Composition, and one Content. List details and properties of the image in each column.

PORTFOLIO

Select one of the artworks in your portfolio. Write a critique of it using all three of the aesthetic views. Put your critique in your portfolio.

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Creating an Impressionist Painting

Select an outdoor scene in your community. Complete a rough line drawing of your scene on a sheet of 9 x 12-inch (23 x 30-cm) white drawing paper. Load a fine-tipped brush with tempera paint. Apply color in quick dabs of the brush. Blur contours and details to re-create the appearance of sunlight on the subject. Use colors that will indicate a certain time of day. Select a color scheme that will convey a particular mood.

PORTFOLIO

For your portfolio, write a short paragraph explaining whether you were successful at communicating a mood with the blurred images.

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Experimenting with Point of View

As noted in Chapter 4, point of view is the angle from which the viewer sees the scene in an artwork. Choose a familiar object, such as a chair in your home or classroom. Using pencil, sketch this object from an unfamiliar point of view. You may want to lie on the floor and draw the object looking up at it. Use shading and other techniques you have learned about to make your subject look three-dimensional.

PORTFOLIO

Write a description of a problem you had in drawing your object from an unusual point of view. Tell how you solved it. Attach this evaluation to your work and put it in your portfolio.

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Making a Fish Collage

An art technique closely related to appliqué is collage. Using brightly colored construction paper, make a fish collage. Begin by locating pictures of fish in books or sporting magazines. Study the outlines of shellfish, such as lobsters, and finned fish. Practice drawing the outlines of these sea creatures on sketch paper. When you are satisfied with your results, try making cutouts from the construction paper. You may need two or three tries to get your work right. Glue your completed shapes on a background of white paper. If you wish, use colored pencils or markers and add lines to give texture and variety to the gills, fins, scales, and tails.

PORTFOLIO

Write an evaluation of your work to keep in your portfolio along with your finished collage.

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Creating a Figure Study

You and a partner are to take turns serving as model and artist. Each of you is to concentrate on capturing the other in action. Begin by posing your model as if he or she were frozen in an act of some kind. Possibilities include throwing a ball, sweeping the floor, or lifting an object off the floor. Moisten a 9 x l2-inch (23 x 30-cm) sheet of white drawing paper with water. Tint the paper with one or more colors of watercolor. While the paint is still wet, quickly draw the model using a black marker. Concentrate on capturing the major action lines of the body. Do not worry that the ink spreads and blurs. Complete several such drawings. Arrange the works in order.

PORTFOLIO

On a piece of paper, note whether your efforts at capturing action improved with practice.

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Making an Architectural Design

Collect a number of boxes of various sizes. Stack these to create a dwelling for a single family or many families. On a sheet of paper, draw the dwelling you have created. Your point of view should be from the front of the house. Add windows, doors, and other details. Share your architectural design with classmates.

PORTFOLIO

Evaluate your drawing after discussing your design and those of other students. Write a brief evaluation, attach it to your drawing, and put your evaluation and design in your portfolio.

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Viewing Objects Up Close

With a magnifying glass, study a common object. Choose something so ordinary and familiar that you never take the time to look at it closely. Possibilities include a shell, a leaf, or your thumbprint. Draw the object large enough to fill a sheet of 9 x 12-inch (23 x 30-cm) white drawing paper. Include every detail, every change of value, every line, and every texture.

PORTFOLIO

Write a paragraph describing the experience of perceiving an everyday object. Explore your feelings as you discovered the special nature of the object. Put the paragraph in your portfolio with your artwork.

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Composing a Photograph

Like other works of art, photographs can be judged in terms of composition-the way the parts are arranged. Practice composing and shooting still lifes. Gather three or four objects with different forms, shapes, and textures. Experiment arranging these in various ways on a table or other flat surface. Study each arrangement through your camera's viewfinder. This is the hole you peer through to see your subject. When you feel the objects are arranged to your satisfaction, click the shutter.

PORTFOLIO

Put your photographs in your portfolio along with a self-assessment.

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Sketching a Mythical Beast

Create sketches for a mythical beast of your own invention. Decide what trait or quality your beast will represent. Decide whether it will have legs, wings, horns, a tail, scales, or feathers. Set your sketches aside in a safe place for use in the following lesson.

PORTFOLIO

Make a list of other characteristics you might like to consider for your mythical beast. Put them with your sketches.

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Dance Gesture Drawing

Work with a group of about six classmates to learn and perform a popular dance step. The group is to repeat the same movements over and over. While they perform, the remainder of the class is to make individual gesture drawings of the event. Sketching rapidly in pencil, the students should try to capture the sense of movement, paying close attention to the angles of arms and legs. After completing their sketches, a second group of volunteers should perform the same step to allow the dancers to do their own gesture drawings.

PORTFOLIO Write an evaluation of your gesture drawings. Did they capture movement? Were they in proportion? Put your critique in your portfolio with your drawings.

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Creating an Impossible City

Browse through a magazine for photographs of unusual buildings. Look for images that show these structures in different sizes and scales. Carefully cut around the contours of each building. Prepare a background for your cityscape by painting a sky at the top of the sheet of white paper. Arrange the images on your background. When you are satisfied with the composition of your portrait, paste the pictures in place with white glue. Paint in trees, cars, or other details if you desire.

PORTFOLIO

Write an explanation of your results for your portfolio. Tell how your cityscape is "impossible."

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