Monday, March 31, 2008

Easy-Does-It Art

For those of you who attended my workshop on Saturday, and for those who were not able to come, here's a book you might want to pick up. It contains more than a hundred ideas for classroom teachers who want to teach art, but who have little time and few materials. Many of the ideas can inspire adult artists, too.

Poems to Inspire Paintings

During the Saturday workshop (see previous post), members of our group made quick sketches inspired by poetry. The poems I read were from "Talking to the Sun" (see the picture link on the right for more information, or to purchase), but the internet is a wonderful source for poetry, too.

Try it! Read the following poem. Without referring to the text, do a sketch based on any impressions that "catch" in your mind. Develop the drawing into a painting. It will not be an illustration of the poem. It will be like the perfume of an orchard in bloom--not at all the same as the flowering trees.

For hundreds of additional poems online, click the title of this post.

Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry. 1919

Pear Tree

lifted from the earth,
higher than my arms reach,
you have mounted.
O silver,
higher than my arms reach
you front us with great mass;
no flower ever opened
so staunch a white leaf,
no flower ever parted silver
from such rare silver;
O white pear,
your flower-tufts,
thick on the branch,
bring summer and ripe fruits
in their purple hearts.

by H. D.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Out of a Rut and Into Your Groove!

Are you stuck? Here is the first in a series of posts based on activities I tried out on a bunch of great sports, and terrific artists at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts yesterday.

Our first activity, very loosely inspired by Japanese Calligraphic paintings and the exciting works of Franz Kline, was string painting. We used black tempera and jute package twine, but you can also try black ink with yarn, string, or even rope.

1. Pour the paint or ink into a cup.
2. Dip the string into it.
3. Quiet your mind. Close your eyes. Loosen your shoulders and let tensions go.
4. Open your eyes. Pick up the string and draw it across the paper once, or several times.
5. Put the finished work aside and repeat on another piece of paper.
6. Let the works dry and keep them in a folder for a week or two.
7. Spread them out on a table and pretend someone else did them. What do they have in common?
8. Assume they are all expressing different aspects of the same thing. What is that thing and how does it relate to your work?