20 December 2011

Mixed Media

In Pre-IB Art 1 students learned to mix media while creating pictures of the bicycle.  The students had to make choices about color and composition while mixing tempera and soft pastel, combining drawing with repeated patterns.







27 October 2011

Guest Post: Leah

Artist: Kay Sage
Style: Surrealism

Danger, Construction Ahead is one of Sage’s earlier pieces. The piece focuses largely on perspective, using line in the drawing to create movement toward the back corner of the page, establishing a focal point. The painting uses a monochromatic scheme; using these colors, Sage creates a balance between the darker foreground of the left side of the piece and the lighter background on the same side. This same technique is reversed on the other side of the page, further contributing to the balance. The painting is reflective of Sage’s emphasis on line and lone figures in a desolate background.

Le Passage was painted in 1956, less than ten years before Sage ended her own life. Once again, the painting depicts a barren landscape with a monochromatic scheme. Unlike the previous work, Le Passage includes a human form. The slumped posture and dark shadows that surround her depict an air of loneliness, a common element in Sage’s work. Perspective continues to be an important element of the piece, as the landscape becomes less defined as the lines fade into the background of the work. Both works depict a world that is removed from reality, an idea common to the surrealist movement.

Guest Post: Angie

      Jason Mecier is a very unique artist who creates elaborate portraits of celebrities using “junk”.  Mecier’s technique is very captivating because of the false sense of dept he gives his viewer, accurate physical traits, and the intricate detail he accomplishes by using simple everyday objects. When looking at his pieces you are able to immediately recognize the celebrity Mecier has chosen to portray. Viewing his pieces is similar to a visual illusion, first you see the person and then you begin to focus on the microscopic elements, like what materials make up the celebrity’s hair and what was used in the background, how did Mecier achieve his sense of shading in the portrait? What is the significance of the materials used and how do they relate to the overall idea.  The photo to the right is a prime example of the how initially the viewer sees the piece and recognizes the person portrayed. Because of the intricate details the viewer is able to immediately recognize that this work is a representation of Tina Fey.

The photo to above demonstrates Mecier’s shading technique. All of the objects chosen are largely selected upon their shade. When Mecier selects his materials he does not see them as everyday objects but features of his work contributing to aesthetics of his piece. These aspects of the piece are important because they allow us to see how the everyday objects are transformed, and what we once saw as a piece of rubber is now seen as the shaded region above the characters eye. If we look carefully below the chin, we can see that what we know to be a tire is now seen as a highly shaded region of the neck. The fact that we have to strain to put an everyday name to the materials used is proof of how our sense perception of the objects has been altered by Mecier’s technique.

Guest Post: April

Clifford Still- Abstract Expressionist
 Clifford Still was one of the first artists to embrace Abstract Expressionism, but he is not one of the most famous. He paints large canvases with thick textured paint. This piece in particular (1957-D No.1) may show a struggle between modern industrious life and the natural world with regard to humans or the struggle between life and death. I think this work shows how Still uses vast areas of color to represent the monotonous life of an industry worker, but breaks up the monotony with bright flames of color.
 This piece is entitled 1947-J. This style of Abstract Expressionism is reffered to "gesture". Still was not as concerned with creating an asthetically pleasing piece as he was with the actual creation of the piece. This creates an entergetic work which helps the viewer to connect on a more personal level.

Guest Post: Chris

Roberto Caputo


This is an image of a crucifix with an oil refinery in the background.  Having the crucifix off center and going off the page enables the viewer to see a bigger picture with a background.  This is an interesting composure because of the two main focal points.  One is a traditional world with religion at the center and the other is the modern world with modernization at the center. 


This is an image of alligator eggs that were collected by wildlife biologists in Rockefeller Refuge shortly after hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.  The radial symmetry makes it appear as if the alligator eggs are in a nest rather than on the ground.  This is very deceitful to the view. 

21 October 2011

Guest Post: Haley

Keith Harring

Keith Haring was a New York City street artist throughout the 1980’s and ’90s who served to legitimize and popularize graffiti and street art. Originally creating his works on subway walls, his pieces are composed of bold lines and colors to attract attention and convey a sense of movement The vivid images resemble hieroglyphics, and express feelings of unity and vitality in society. The lack of detail, especially in his earlier pieces, can also be attributed to the fact that graffiti was not as accepted in society as it is now, and Haring would try and create his pieces quickly in order to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

Later in his career, Haring’s work veered towards more socio-political themes, particularly towards AIDS awareness and the crack/cocaine epidemic of the time period. This piece is displayed in a children’s playground, and continues to convey unity in society through rhythm and bold lines. Haring himself died in 1990 of AIDS, and his legacy and causes are carried on through his foundation, which serves to help underprivileged children and provide research about HIV and AIDS.


Guest Post: Leena

Andy Warhol

In this piece, Andy Warhol utilizes the technique of silk-screening. The hand-stenciled silk allows the silk to compose multiple patterns. By adding layers of the colored silk, the image of the final product begins to appear. These silk screens can be used multiple times, which explains Andy Warhol’s huge collection of Marilyn Monroe portraits. These pieces worked best if the subject were staring at the viewers with a distant touch to them. Andy Warhol was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. He is famously known as the “Pope of Pop”. Warhol used “striking colors” to attract his audience to his work. These complementary colors influenced many other pop artists.


Guest Post: Veronica

Artist: Shinichi Maruyama

Shinichi Maruyama, born in Nagano, Japan, pursues the art of “Kusho”, or shooting ink and water into the air, and capturing the images with a high-speed camera. Focusing in on small areas of each photograph, he creates images full of motion and contrast. In this piece, Maruyama captures a circular images of the ink and water rushing into and looping around each other. Texture is created by the microscopic water and ink droplets mixing; this also creates a range of values, the clear water being the lightest and the pure ink being the darkest. The swirling technique bring the eye around the page, and creates the sense of constant motion.

In this second piece, Maruyama captures the ink and water at their time of collision. The smooth, calm streams contrast with their chaotic meeting-point, drawing focus to that area. He utilizes an asymmetrical balance, the left side being much heavier with the thick ink stream. Water and ink ripples again provide texture, and give the image a 3D-feel.

This technique is significant to the world of art; it exposes artistic beauty that cannot be seem by the naked eye.

Marayuma’s website can be accessed here, as well as a video of his technique:

Guest Post: Esther

Frederic Edwin Church

Aurora Borealis
Artist Frederic Church is most known for his natural landscape pieces.  To give dept to his pieces, he paints in a panoramic view, capturing the sight not just from a front perspective but including the surrounding as well.  Unlike other painters, Church takes a “scientific approach” when painting nature, using sketches he has accumulated of the area.  His pieces are usually done with oil on canvas and are paintings of mostly the North American and South American landscapes.  In this piece, Church uses oil on canvas to capture the colors of the northern lights in contrast to the land, and water, below it, adding to the piece a bit of a sepia tint.  The darkened night is painted with naturalistic browns to show the solidity of the mountains, and against that, the vivid colors of the Aurora Borealis shine natural light on the distant mountains and rippling waves below.  The ocean includes several shades of blues, greys, and browns, adding to the translucence of the water and showing the effect of natural light on the foreground and middleground.  These features prove to make an aesthetically pleasing piece that causes the eyes to focus on contrasting points of the artwork.

Niagara Falls, From the American Side
Church also uses oil on canvas to create a panoramic landscape of the Niagara Falls from the American viewpoint.  He utilizes different shades of blues, greens, and greys to capture the flow and movement of the fall as well as its force.  From this view the mist of the fall disappears into an abyss of mist, creating a forceful yet serene appearance.  Church then adds to his naturalistic landscape natural occurrences, such as the formation of a faint rainbow where the rocks meet the water in the lower corner, to create a scenery that could be compared to the detail and realism of a photograph.


Guest Post: Stephanie

Georges Seurat 
A Sunday on La Grande Jette (1884)                                               Through the application of newly discovered optical and color theories, Georges Seurat transposed his images by placing tiny brush strokes (points) of different colors close to one another so that form a single hue in the viewer’s eye, also known as Pointillism. The composition of the piece is composed of various subjects that create a harmonious sum of parts. Although there is no dominant focal point, the piece moves from the foreground to background, allowing the piece to have a unique perspective of looking into the horizon. Most importantly is Seurat’s application of the dots and how he incorporates contrasting or complimentary colors to highlight certain areas.

The Eiffel Tower (1889)
Seurat uses colors that are not typically seen or noticed by the naked eye. Such as “The Eiffel Tower” piece where he uses colors such as red or green as a way to shade in shadow and create dimension. This contrast of colors is pleasing to the eyes as well as creating a greater sense of depth and variety. Seurat altered the direction of modern art by initiating Neo-impressionism, and is one of the icons of 19th century paintings.

20 October 2011

Guest Post: Andrea

Artist: Natalie Irish of Houston, Texas

First Piece: Marylin Monroe

Jackson Pollock's drips have been surpassed by portraits painted with kisses. On a large scale canvas, Irish creates close-up portraits that tend to go no futher than the shoulders. Irish achieves a monochramatic color scheme by selecting only one shade and brand of lipstick per compostiton. The darker values near the right side of the face as well as the shadows under her neck are created through numerous, successive layers of the lipstick. Lighter values are achieved by varying the pressure of her kisses. To begin, Irish concentrates on the eyes and close facial features, then proceeds to build of the contour lines of the head, neck, shoulders, and hair.

Second Piece: Jimi Hendrix

Irish played a video of Hendrix on a TV set beside her canvas reference material. Her method requires her to stand and physically move around the canvas. The thinner or more curved lines are made by puckering out her bottom lip. Irish does not fill in the entire figure, but rather choose to employ thin lines of color to suggest some of the contour lines of the neck and shoulders. On some of her other pieces, Irish paintst the background beforehand. Then, on a small pallet, she mixes tiny amounts of pigment and when she has the right shade, she smears this on her lips and paints. With these type of compositions, she uses up to three colors. Her method also requires her to constantly shift from working close to the canvas to standing futher away to assess her progress.




06 October 2011

Guest Post: Maggie

Jackson Pollock
Number 3
In this piece, Jackson Pollock used the paint-drip method to express a sense of chaos in his many pieces. He would put the canvas on the floor and used a new medium at the time, alkyd enamel; to “drip” the paint, he used stick, hard paint brushes, and sometimes syringes. The lack of focal point allows the eye to be carried across the page and not focus on one specific point; the colors and the lines would carry the eye. Jackson Pollock created a new method of painting, later known as action painting, where the movement of the media and the type of media was important, rather than the “intricate detail.” He also contributed greatly to the abstract expressionist movement in the 20th century. 

Number 7

Jackson Pollock utilizes an asymmetrical balance with intricate detail which causes the painting to appear “heavier” on the right side. On the other hand, the left side is composed of enamel lines and splatters which contrast the chaos on the left side; it creates a dynamic composition.


04 October 2011

Pre IB Art 1 homework

Art 1 students, don't forget to print out a couple of pictures you want to use as reference from

Make sure you have them with you in class on Thursday.

30 September 2011

Extra credit opportunity for IB Juniors and Seniors

Be a guest blogger.


Find an artist.  Choose one or two images by that artist to include in your post.  Analyze the visual qualities of the artist's work.  Consider the function or significance of that artist's work.  Write a short post one or two paragraphs including the pictures and links to your sources or the artist's website.

Choose an artist that is doing something you find interesting and that you would like to share with others.

See me in class about posting it to the blog.

Deadline for this is October 21st.

03 September 2011

Post-it-Note Critique

On Friday in the Art 1 classes we did a post-it-note critique.  Students leave comments for others in response to the prompts I give them.

It's a great critique to do with larger classes because everyone gets to participate, even the quiet students :)

Pre IB Art 1 - Text Design

This is always my first project for the art 1 students.  We focused on lines and shapes creating patterns and using repetition to unify the artwork.












IWB, Media Experimentation, and Reflection

The senior class shows how its done.
All the seniors are continuing their work on their independent investigations.  During class they may be reflecting on their progress in their investigation workbooks.

Before working on their finished piece, students test out and experiment with new art media.

As a result of the nature of the independent investigation students might be working with two dimensional or three dimensional media.

The senior year in IB art is a great time, over the summer the students have found new directions for their investigations and are busy creating inspired work.