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Studio Projects

Making a Color Wheel
Contour Drawing
Collage of a Family Gathering
Creating a Clay Portrait
Creating a Room in Outer Space
Creating an "Etching" of a Strange Place
Making a Glue-Line Print
Painting a Mural About School Life

MAKING A COLOR WHEEL

Are you amazed at a rainbow's colors every time you see one? It might have been such an experience that inspired the colorful paintings of a twentieth-century style of painting known as Hard-Edge painting. Works of this style use simple shapes and vivid colors.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

You will create a one-of-a-kind color wheel. Rather than use simple geometric shapes, as the Hard-Edge artists often did, you will choose a basic free-form shape. This will represent a real or imaginary plant, animal, or other object. You will repeat the same shape. You will arrange your shapes in a circle on construction paper, placing the shapes in their correct order on the color wheel.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Sketch paper and pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sheets of construction paper in primary, secondary, and intermediate hues, 6 x 9 inches (15 x 23 cm)
  • Black construction paper, 18 x 24 inches (46 x 60 cm)
  • White glue or glue stick
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. With classmates, brainstorm a list of plants, animals, people, or objects that would be good subjects for a color wheel. Discuss which shapes might be the most interesting for this artwork.
  2. Working by yourself, make several sketches of one of the shapes discussed. Choose your best sketch, and cut out the shape. This shape is to be a template, or stencil.
  3. Place the template on a sheet of construction paper in one of the primary hues-blue, red, or yellow. Carefully trace around the shape using pencil. Place sheets of construction paper in the remaining two hues beneath the first. Line the sheets up. Carefully cut out the shape penciled on the first sheet. You will now have three copies of your template, one for each of the primary hues. Repeat this step, once for the secondary hues and again for the intermediate hues.
  4. Note the arrangement of hues on the color wheel on page 8 of your textbook. Arrange the shapes you have created in a circle in the order shown. Experiment with "flipping," or turning the shapes in different positions, being careful to maintain the color-wheel positions. When you are satisfied with your composition, glue the shapes in place.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe Identify the shape that appears in your color wheel. Tell whether it is a real, imaginary, or stylized shape.
Analyze Identify the sets of primary, secondary, and intermediate hues. Show where you have used the principle of repetition with respect to a single shape.
Interpret Explain why you chose this shape. Tell why it makes an interesting color wheel. What mood does it create?
Judge Decide whether you think your work is successful. Tell what you would do differently to improve the design.

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CONTOUR DRAWING

How can you make a subject look lifelike in a drawing made almost totally of line? A first step toward doing work like this is learning to do contour drawing. Contour drawing is drawing an object as though your drawing tool is moving along all the edges and ridges of the form. This technique helps you become more perceptive. You are concerned with drawing shapes and curves.

In contour drawing, your eye and hand move at the same time. Imagine that the point of your pen is touching the edge of the object as your eye follows the edge. You never pick up your pen. When you move from one area to another, you leave a trail. Look at the model and not at the paper.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

You will make a series of contour drawings with a felt-tipped pen. First, you will draw different objects. Second, you will use your classmates as models. Finally, you will make a contour drawing of a classmate posed in a setting. (See Technique Tip 2, Handbook.)

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Felt-tipped pen with a fine point
  • Sheets of white paper, 12 x 18 inches (30 x 46 cm)
  • Selected objects provided by your teacher
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. Take one of the items from the collection on the display table. Place it on the table in front of you. Trace the lines of the object in the air on an imaginary sheet of glass. As you look at the object, you must concentrate and think. Notice every detail indicated by the direction and curves of the line.
  2. Make a contour drawing of the object on a sheet of paper using a felt-tipped pen. Do several more drawings on the same sheet of paper. Turn the object so you are looking at it from a different angle. Make another contour drawing. Keep working until your drawings begin to look like the object.
  3. Next, exchange objects with your classmates. Do a contour drawing of your new object. Work large, letting the drawing fill the page. Do not worry if your efforts look awkward. Complete several drawings of different objects.
  4. Work with a partner. Take turns posing for each other. Each model should sit in a comfortable pose. The first contour will look distorted. Remember, you are drawing the pose. Work large and let the drawing fill the page.
  5. Finally, make a contour drawing of one person sitting in a setting. Include background details. You may stop and peek at the drawing. When you do, do not pick up the pencil. Do not take your eyes off the model while drawing.
  6. Display the final drawing. Discuss how contour drawing has improved your perception.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe Show the different kinds of contour drawings you did. Identify the media you used.
Analyze Compare your first contour drawing to your last. Explain how using contour drawing has changed your perception skills.
Judge Evaluate your final contour drawing. Tell whether you feel your work succeeds. Explain your answer.

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COLLAGE OF A FAMILY GATHERING

Think about a special family gathering. You probably thought about the people and objects that made this event special. The people and objects that make a special event memorable are often used in celebration artworks.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

You will make a collage that celebrates a special family gathering. Your collage will use a variety of objects and materials. These will include items that help recall and identify the gathering, such as photographs and two-dimensional souvenirs. You will use size and color contrast to add variety to your composition.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Photographs and assorted found objects
  • Sheet of sturdy cardboard or tagboard, 18 x 24 inches (46 x 61 cm)
  • White glue
  • Colored felt-tip markers
  • Sheets of white drawing paper
  • Sheets of colored construction paper
  • Scissors
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. Choose a memorable family gathering as the subject of your collage. It may be a birthday celebration or some other event. If you like, you may focus on an event involving your "family" at school, such as a class party.
  2. Collect snapshots and other objects that help to recall the event. These might include a program from a grade-school graduation ceremony or a birthday card.
  3. Arrange the materials you have gathered on a sheet of cardboard or tagboard. As a way of adding variety, try placing larger objects next to smaller ones, brighter-hued pieces next to duller ones. Leave some negative space between objects. When you are pleased with your composition, glue the objects in place.
  4. Think of single words and short phrases that capture the theme of the event. For a graduation or confirmation, the phrase rite of passage might come to mind. Using colored markers, hand-letter at least three such words or phrases on white drawing paper. Experiment with different letter styles. If you prefer, you might want to outline your letters on colored construction paper.
  5. With scissors, cut out the words and phrases you have created. Glue these to your collage. When the glue has dried, display the finished work.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe Identify the materials you used for your collage. Point to hand-lettered words and phrases that you added.
Analyze Did you place objects of contrasting sizes and colors side by side to add variety?
Interpret What is the theme of your collage? Write a paragraph about the event.
Judge Does your collage successfully convey that the event was a family celebration? What would you change?

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CREATING A CLAY PORTRAIT

Style in art, as you have learned, can differ from place to place. It can also change over time in the same place. What factors might explain these changes? What might they reveal about the changing goals of artists?

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In this lesson, you will create a carved portrait. Your work, which will be made from clay, will be a relief sculpture. Your work need not look like any subject in particular, although you should try to make it lifelike. The features in your work will be in correct proportion to the face. Where possible, you will use tactile texture to make your portrait interesting to the eye and to the touch.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Two wood strips to use as guides, each about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) thick
  • Board
  • Clay
  • Rolling pin
  • Modeling tools
  • Newspaper
  • Sheet of plastic
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. Wedge the clay. Place the wood strip guides on the board about 8 inches (20 cm) apart. Flatten the clay between the guide sticks with the palm of your hand. Use the rolling pin to roll out the clay.
  2. With a modeling tool, lightly draw an oval shape in the clay. This is to represent your subject's face.
  3. Add lightly etched guidelines to help you locate the position for each feature of the face. Form the nose by cutting its contour in the clay, then carefully pulling the form outward. Support the feature with a small ball of clay until it hardens enough to support itself. Cut and shape small pieces of clay to serve as pupils, eyelids, eyebrows, and lips. Attach each by crosshatching, adding slip to each piece to be joined.
  4. Use modeling tools to add texture to hair and eyebrows.
  5. Hold your relief with one hand, and with the other gently push the facial area out to form a more three-dimensional look.
  6. Roll up a thick layer of newspaper pages. Cover this with a sheet of plastic. Gently lay your relief on top of this rolled-up bundle to give it a rounded appearance.
  7. When your relief is completely dry, have your teacher help you fire it. Display the finished portrait.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe Are all the features of your relief in correct proportion to the face? Have they been placed in the right locations?
Analyze Did you make use of tactile texture in your relief?
Interpret Do you feel that your portrait is lifelike?
Judge How do you feel about your portrait? Are you satisfied with its appearance? What is its best feature?

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CREATING A ROOM IN OUTER SPACE

During the Age of Exploration, nations established colonies in places where their explorers landed. Someday the citizens of Earth will do the same with planet Mars. To help with this future mission, plans are already under way for an orbiting laboratory where people will work. What will this space station look like?

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In this activity, you will imagine what life is like in a space station. You will construct a three-dimensional room in your family's imaginary space home, including furniture and other objects for work and play. Use a soothing color scheme for your room design and add patterns for variety. The success of your design will be measured in terms of both its usefulness and how well it pleases the eye.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Pencil and sketch paper
  • Ruler
  • Shoe box or other larger box
  • Sheets of colored construction paper, 12 x 18 inches (30 x 46 cm)
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Scraps of thick cardboard
  • Colored markers
  • Fabric scraps
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. Sketch ideas for your space room. What kind of furniture would you include? Remember that there is no gravity in space. Every surface has the potential to be a floor or wall.
  2. With the ruler, measure the height, length, and depth of your shoe box. Note these measurements on scrap paper. With the ruler, measure and draw rectangles of corresponding size on construction paper. These are to be the walls and floor of your room. Choose a soothing color. Cut out the rectangles. Attach these to the sides and bottom of the shoe box with white glue.
  3. Design chairs, tables, and other furniture. Cut these out as two-dimensional shapes from cardboard scraps. Arrange these over the inside space of the room. For variety, you might place some furniture on the "walls." Add color and detail to the objects using markers. Paste the furniture in place.
  4. Choose fabric scraps with interesting patterns or designs. The colors should blend with those of your walls and floor. Glue these down to the walls and floor as "throw rugs."
  5. Place your room alongside those of classmates to make a space neighborhood.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe What furniture and other objects have you included in your space room?
Analyze What colors did you use for the walls and floor? What patterns did you add?
Interpret Is the color scheme of your space room soothing? Do the patterns you chose lend variety to the setting?
Judge Is your work successful? In what way is it useful as well as pleasing to the eye?

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CREATING AN "ETCHING" OF A STRANGE PLACE

Have you ever created a strange place in your mind such as an exaggerated building? Can you see all the objects in this place? Think about how you would visually display your strange place.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In this lesson, you will create your own vision of a strange place. You will use your imagination to picture such a place. Create sketches of what your "mind's eye" sees. Use your best sketch as the basis of a crayon drawing. This drawing will be covered in turn with black ink. Finally, you will use a bamboo skewer or other pointed object to scratch a pattern of lines into the inked surface.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Pencil and sketch paper
  • Sheet of tagboard or white drawing paper, 9 x 12 inches (23 x 30 cm)
  • Crayons in assorted colors
  • Brush, india ink
  • Ruler or other straight edge
  • Round toothpick or bamboo skewer
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. With classmates, brainstorm images of imaginary places. The images need not be gruesome. You may, for example, picture a bizarre setting in which ridiculous creatures roam wild. Make notes about the possibilities raised.
  2. Choose a location for the subject of an artwork. Let your imagination run away with you. Using pencil, complete several sketches of the images that come to mind.
  3. Choose colors that fit the mood of the place you picture in your mind. Fill the entire page of tagboard or paper with a thick layer of crayon. The etching technique you will be using requires a heavy application of this medium.
  4. With a brush, paint over your crayon drawing using black india ink, or black tempera paint, with a few drops of detergent added. While the ink or paint is drying, design several different patterns. These should be made up of closely spaced lines.
  5. Transfer your best sketch, with pencil, to the india-inked surface. With a pointed object, etch patterns onto the inked surface of your drawing. By carefully scratching through the ink, you will bring out the crayon colors underneath. Using closely spaced lines in your pattern will make it easier to see the crayon images. This will also add visual interest to your picture.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe Does your picture depict a strange location? What details have you included?
Analyze Did you use closely spaced lines to create an interesting pattern? Do these lines reveal the crayon colors beneath?
Interpret Does your subject communicate a "not-of-this-world" look? Will viewers immediately identify the mood of your picture?
Judge Are you pleased with your picture? If you were to do it again, what would you do to improve it?

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DRAWING A MAGICAL FOREST

Nearly everyone has read a story or seen a cartoon in which non-human objects—houses, trees, or animals—were given a magical feeling. Think of an example of a non-human object that was given a magical feeling. What characteristics make this object seem magical?

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
In this lesson you will learn how, with imagination, ordinary objects can be presented in exciting new ways. You will use colored markers to create a magical forest of colorful trees and shrubs. Your forest will contain no less than five trees. These will overlap to create a sense of space. The trunks and leaves of the trees will be filled with rich patterns of shapes and lines. These will be drawn with warm colors. Larger shapes in cool colors will be used for the background.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED
  • Pencils and sketch paper
  • White drawing paper, 9 x 12 inches (23 x 30 cm) or larger
  • Colored markers
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. Bring to class a small branch. This is to serve as a model for your tree drawing. Make sketches of the branch in several different positions. Each sketch is to represent a different tree in your forest. Include at least five different trees. One of these must lean to the side. Another must extend off the top edge of the paper. Overlap the trees and place them to suggest depth.
  2. When you are satisfied with your forest, transfer your sketch to the drawing paper in light pencil. Then go over each of the pencil lines with a black marker.
  3. Use the colored markers to fill in the trunks and leaves of the trees with a pattern of shapes and lines. These are to be drawn in bright, warm hues.
  4. Divide the background space into large shapes. Color in these areas with dark, cool colors.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe Does your picture include at least five different trees?
Analyze Are your trees placed to suggest depth? Were bright warm hues used to create a pattern of shapes and lines in the trees and shrubs? Do these contrast with the cooler colors of the background?
Interpret Does your colorful version of a forest create a magical feeling?
Judge Would you like others to judge your picture on the basis of subject, composition, or content? Why?

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MAKING A GLUE-LINE PRINT

What do you think of when you hear the word tuna? If you are like most people, you think of flakes of fish that come packed in a can. There is more to tuna than this, however. This sea creature is a member of the yellow-fin family. It swims in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In this studio lesson, you will create another type of print. This type, a glue-line print, uses ordinary white glue. Your print will be of a fish. It will make heavy use of the element of line. You will ad an undersea environment such as seaweed to your design.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • White glue
  • Scrap paper
  • Toothpick
  • Pencil and sketch paper
  • Sheet of medium-weight cardboard, 8 ½ x 11 inches (22 x 28 cm)
  • Water based printing inks
  • Inking plate and soft brayer
  • Sheets of kraft paper, 9 x 12 inches (23 x 30 cm)
  • Oil pastels or colored pencils
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. Squeezing the white glue directly from its container, practicing drawing lines on scrap paper. Use a large amount of glue to make a thick line. If it forms dots, use a toothpick to pull them together.
  2. Make several fish sketches. Using pencil, transfer one of the sketches onto the cardboard. This is to be your printing plate.
  3. Sketch and then transfer an undersea environment to your plate.
  4. Using the glue in Step 1, "draw" over the lines of your printing plate with glue.
  5. When the glue looks clear, it is completely dry and the plate is ready to print. Squeeze a small amount of ink onto the inking plate. Roll your brayer into the ink, first in one direction, then in the other. Be sure that the brayer is well coated and sticky with ink. Transfer the ink to your printing plate by rolling the brayer across your fish design in all directions.
  6. Lay a piece of kraft paper on top of the printing plate. Using the palm of your hand, gently press the paper onto the plate.
  7. Pull the kraft paper carefully off the plate. Put it in a place where it can dry without being disturbed. Make two more prints with fresh paper, re-inking the plate each time.
  8. When the prints are dry, add color with oil pastels or colored pencils.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe What parts of the fish have you shown? What environmental features have you selected?
Analyze Explain how you used lines and patterns in your print. Tell why you chose the colors you used.
Interpret Does your edition of prints convey a feeling or mood? How would you describe this feeling or mood?
Judge Which aesthetic view would you use to judge your work? If you were to redo this project, what, if anything, would you change?

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PAINTING A MURAL ABOUT SCHOOL LIFE

As an art form, murals date back to ancient Egyptian times. They have remained popular ever since for telling stories in a larger-than-life way. Some murals are painted in a trompe l'oeil style. This is a style of painting in which objects are depicted with photographically realistic detail. Furthermore, the subject, building façades, blends in with its surroundings. This is because the mural covers the side of a building!

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

You will work with a group of five or six classmates. Together you will plan and paint a mural for your school or classroom. Emphasize key images in your mural by making them larger and brighter in color. Introduce harmony by repeating shapes.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Sketch paper and pencils
  • Butcher or plain wrapping paper, 36 inches (1 m) wide by 6 feet (2 m) long
  • Masking tape
  • Sheets of newspaper
  • Brushes of various sizes
  • Tempera paints, water
WHAT YOU WILL DO
  1. Brainstorm with group members for a theme for your mural. Jot down ideas for images associated with particular themes.
  2. Plan the creation of the mural so that each group member works on a separate section. Begin by working individually on sketches of background objects and details. Stop from time to time to share and compare your work with that of other group members. Strive for a single, consistent style.
  3. Concentrate next on any images of people that might be pictured. Again, pause and compare your efforts with those of group members. Emphasize important people and images by making them larger.
  4. Lay out all of the sketches on a large work surface. Working as a team, decide which images to include and where to place them.
  5. Complete a finished sketch of your portion of the mural. Use the method outlined in Technique Tip 5, Handbook to impose a grid over your sketch. Still working in pencil, re-create your grid on the butcher or wrapping paper. Transfer the enlarged image to the butcher paper using the grid.
  6. Use the masking tape to connect sheets of newspaper. These are to protect the surface on which you will work during the painting stage.
  7. Using a fairly large brush loaded with tempera paint, begin coloring in background objects, such as sky. Switch to a finer brush for small details. Use bright hues for important images, duller hues for less important ones.
  8. When the mural has dried completely, hang your mural on a wall by affixing loops of tape along the back.

Evaluating Your Work

Describe What images did you include in your mural?
Analyze Did you emphasize important images by making them larger and brighter? Did you add harmony by repeating shapes throughout?
Interpret What theme does your mural express? Which objects help convey this theme?
Judge How effectively did you and your fellow group members work together? Did you succeed in your goal as a group?

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