Thursday, August 24, 2017

Questions to Ask a Work of Art

How many prototypes were made?
What was the creative process?
Was it human made or machine made?
IS it one of a kind or common?

Formal qualities
How does it use design elements?
What is the color, specifically?
What is the texture? Does the texture have a function? A meaning?
Why this shape?
What is the pattern?
 How big is it?
Is it in parts?
What type of pattern does it have?
what areas are emphasized? 
Describe the lines

Materials /materials science
How long will it last?
What material is it made out of? (x5)
Does it have a smell?
How does it feel?
What is its melting point?
Can I scratch the surface if I did, would it be a different color?
Why use these materials?

What is its purpose? (x5)
Is it functional? How is it used? How does it work?
What is the primary function?
Is it decoration?
Is it practical, decorative, or both? Is it functional, or art?
Ca it be used by everybody?
What type of place would find this object useful?
Was it expensive?
Does it work?
Is there anything inside? What? What would have been?

What is its story?
Whose idea was it?
Who was it made for?
Who created it? Who made it? Who invented it?(x4)
When was it made? (x3)
What period is it from? What are the traits of that period? The
What’s its country of origin? (x2)
Where was it made? (x2)
Where were the materials sourced?
What social class would use it?
What type of person would use this object?
Why would someone want it?
What climate did it come from?

Clues to origin
When did fishermen invent shiny fishing bait?
How did it end up in its current location? What is its origin story? (provenance)
Where was it found?
Where was it made? How was it acquired?
Did it travel different places with its owner?has it been out f the country?
What race/religion/ethnicity did it come from?
Were the people who made it: violent? Peaceful? Wealthy? Poor? Busy? Specialized? Playful? Serious? Religious? Monogamous?

What is it?
Is this meant to be displayed?
What mood is it? What creates that mood?
Is it supposed to be funny?
What inspired it?
Why was it created? (x2)
Is it made to be used, sold, given away?
Does it have significance beyond the obvious?
How important is/was it to its maker/owner?
What does the text mean?
Is it idealized? True to visible reality?
Was ___________done by choice, mistake, carelessness…
Why use these materials?

What does it represent?  
What is it trying to portray?
what is going on? 

Emotional response: 
First Reaction? 
Does response change over time? 

Ornate? High contrast? Serious? Outline? Illusionistic? Idealized?

Why use this in place of something similar?

Timeline and Map Concept Ideas for August 24

Each of you will create and keep a timeline as part of your journal this term.... though, if it needs more space, make it in your room, or in the hallway here at the classroom, or in a virtual space, or....

 Feel free to team up if you want to collaborate to create something extraordinary...

a roll of paper could give you lots of room to hand draw and write your own. and cut and paste as desired:


Christopher Nolan's Inception, 2010, timeline
or consider a formal history-style timeline
a Class created art history timeline, "to show that the artwork and architecture created during the Italian Renaissance did not happen in a vacuum.." Source: here
or an out-of control info-graphic

amazing resource @ visual language of timelines!

interactive magic, anyone??? google created this interactive timeline of the internet.

Halloween history...source

ask yourself: how, how well, and what do we learn from timelines? how much can you learn from making one?
how could I MAXIMIZE the learning for me and viewers from my timeline? 

How to Create a Timeline Infographic in 6 Easy Steps
you might be interested in "how to create a timeline infographic in 6 easy steps"

A search for Map Folding Techniques will turn up lots of great tutorials and plenty of info. 

so a regular paper map is a GREAT option. I recommend that you make it large so you can add lots of images & text
other alternatives: 
National Geographic or National Park Style Maps-- typically 2 sided affairs with lots of content visual and interpretive. 

The stuff of my childhood: National Geographic Maps source
More memory lane for your teacher source
Map Infographics (what do you want to convey???)

startlingly simple power source
event map style

make a mindblowing interactive informational map
create a google maps layer?
come to CDI for a GIS workshop on stolen artifacts?

stARTer Kit, part 2: The Principles of Design Class Blog 8/24/2017

The Elements Principles of Art/Design
Homework due today  August 24 Thursday

Overview of Elements and Principles of Art; Art History Methods 

·       read and understand the syllabus: send me an email with your phone #
·       Make sure you’re enrolled in the course in Canvas
-          Read: Stoksdad, xxvi-xxix, 1-9 15-19 

Key Terms: line, shape, form, composition, hue, value, saturation, style, naturalism, representational/non-representational, abstract, ideal, iconography, formal qualities, balance, rhythm, pattern, contrast, variety, unity, etc!

Most Basically, the Elements of Design, or Elements of Art, are the bits and pieces with which you compose a work of two or three dimensional art. Most of these building blocks apply directly or indirectly to other visual art media like digital art, performance art, and video... and can add nuance to interpretation of happenings and sound art as well. On the surface, you'll find these terms elementary... see what degrees of sophistication you can find in close looking at images with regards to their use of these basic elements.

nota bene: you will find that different sources list different elements and principles, some more than I have, some fewer. Read a couple different sources (I give a list at the bottom) and write your own list carefully!

The visible path of a point moving through space or the edge where two shapes meet
We think of line as having direction, weight, and even speed. Horizontal lines generally indicate stability, rest, tranquility; vertical lines indicate formality, alertness, and significantly affect our understanding of balance in the image; diagonal or oblique lines dramatically direct our gaze, and suggest movement, energy, action.

Brice Marden
Vine. 1991-93. Oil on linen, 96 x 102 1/2" (243.8 x 260.3 cm)
image credit MOMA
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970, Great Salt Lake, photographer unknown

Vilhelm Hammershoi,Gentoft Lake, 1905, oil, photocredit

Most literally, a shape is a geometric or organic self-contained area. Usually, we perceive shape as two dimensional. As you consider paintings, consider positive and negative shapes. When we talk about sculpture, we generally consider them through photographs, which can flatten forms to create shapes that allow us to see the sculptures differently. 

Paul Cézanne, Mont Saint Victoire, 1895. photocredit wiki paintings. 
"Treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere, and the cone, the whole put into perspective so that each side of an object, or of a plane, leads towards a central point. Lines parallel to the horizon give breadth, whether a sections of nature, or, if you prefer, of the spectacle which Pater omnipotens aeterne Deus unfolds before your eyes. Lines perpendicular to this horizon give depth.. ..Everything I am telling you ] about - the sphere, the cone, cylinder, concave shadow – on mornings when I’m tired these notions of mine get me going, they stimulate me, I soon forget them once I start using my eyes. (from wikiquotes,  quoted from Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 pp. 163-164)

Paul Klee, Castle and Sun, 1928, image source

Joan Miró, Toward the Rainbow, 1941, gouache and oil on paper  imagecredit

Many see form as a subset of shape or the same, even, and they can prove hard to tease apart. We speak of form as having depth as well as length and width, and perceive it as three dimensional even in a flat work of art. 

File:Paul Cezanne Apples and Oranges.jpg
Paul Cézanne, Apples and Oranges, 1895-1900

Click to see more of Leonardo's drawings
Leonardo da Vinci, Study of Arms and Hands, 1474, pen and ink on paper
Pablo Picasso, Self Portrait at 15, 1896
also called hue. Whatever the hue, colors come from black, white, and the three primaries and vary in intensity and value. Valuable primers on color here and far more in depth and quite valuable resource from the ever-dependable OWL at Purdue, here. Color VALUE refers to how light or dark a color appears and color INTENSITY refers to how pure the saturation of the HUE. So, for example, a blue with absolutely no yellow or red added has a high intensity, a blue diluted with yellow that makes it head close to green has low intensity. 

File:Vincent Willem van Gogh 002.jpg
Vincent Van Gogh, Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity's Gate) 1890
"It seems to me that a painter has a duty to try to put an idea into his work. I was trying to say this in this print — but I can’t say it as beautifully, as strikingly as reality, of which this is only a dim reflection seen in a dark mirror — that it seems to me that one of the strongest pieces of evidence for the existence of 'something on high' in which Millet believed, namely in the existence of a God and an eternity, is the unutterably moving quality that there can be in the expression of an old man like that, without his being aware of it perhaps, as he sits so quietly in the corner of his hearth. At the same time something precious, something noble, that can’t be meant for the worms. ... This is far from all theology — simply the fact that the poorest woodcutter, heath farmer or miner can have moments of emotion and mood that give him a sense of an eternal home that he is close to." image and quotation wikipedia
We call an object's surface qualities its texture. Ask yourself is it matte, shiny, smooth, rough, jagged etc. Texture can be tactile (physical) like a Van Gogh painting seen in person, where Van Gogh's use of impasto (thick, pasty paint) gives the painting roughness that you could feel with your hand (if the museum guard stepped out) or visual, like the photograph of the Van Gogh painting, with its highly obvious brushmarks even on the smooth photopaper. 

Meret Oppenheim. <i>Object.</i> 1936. Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon, cup 4 3/8" (10.9 cm) in diameter; saucer 9 3/8" (23.7 cm) in diameter; spoon 8" (20.2 cm) long, overall height 2 7/8" (7.3 cm). Purchase. © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/Pro Litteris, Zurich
Meret Oppenheim, Object (luncheon in Fur), 1936, photo MOMA
Janine Antoni. (Bahamian, born 1964). Butterfly Kisses. 1996–99. Cover Girl Thick Lash mascara on paper. 29 3/4" x 30" (75.6 x 76.2 cm).. Purchase, 2001.
Jan Davidsz de Heem, Still Life: Breakfast with Champaign Glass and Pipe, 1642, Dutch.

well, now that's a long conversation. For now, artists use the elements to make their works. Consciously and subconsciously, the principles guide their decisions about how to use the elements to make pleasing or otherwise affecting  works. 

The Principles of Art/Design
Balance refers to the appearance of equilibrium in a two or three dimensional artwork. Artists balance their work symmetrically (rarely), asymmetrically, or radially, by including elements of varying visual or conceptual weight. Relying on the laws of physics can help you to balance a work; a small object at the edge of the work can balance a large object at the center, a small dark object appears heavier, and will balance a larger light object. Artists use balance to create feelings of anxiety, peace, tension, etc. 

Katsushika Hokusai, Sudden Gust of Wind, 1832

Jeff Wall, Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) 1993
When I was making A Sudden Gust of Wind I knew I wanted to show how the air could carry the papers. Hokusai had already solved some of these problems. If you analyse his composition, you realise that many of the little pieces of paper coincided with very important points of the rectangle. He composed something that had a feel of the accidental. It was not accidental, but he knew how to make it look that way. I thought that the only way to achieve that was to first create chance situations, to create a lot of movement and then just have a lot of materials to edit. So we created a way a lot of paper could be moved in the air and then tried to think of both the rectangle and the invisible air current in three dimensions. As the papers move in depth, they move away from us and get smaller. I just worked hard on it and tried to compose. There is no guide, its just a feeling, a sense of real, how things are really are or would be . _Jeff Wall
Jan Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, 1665 photo wikipaintings
valuable resource on this painting at the national gallery. here.
We call the repetition of an element in an image a pattern. Artists create exact or varied patterns, to different effect. 

Julie Heffernan, Self Portrait in Need of Perpetual Help, 2009

Wasily Kandinsky, Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913
Artists give certain elements or areas of their images more power than others, drawing the viewers gaze to a specific space, action, or concept. They use various tools (lines of particular direction, the gaze of persons pictured, contrast, scale, etc) to achieve the emphasis

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Night Watch, or The Shooting Company of Franz Banning Cocq, 1642, photo wikipedia
Michelangelo da Caravaggio, The Incredulity of St. Thomas, 1601

Artists use repetition to create unity in their works. Repetition without VARIETY tends to generate static images, repetition combined with Variety tends to create harmonious ones. 

Michelangelo Buonarotti, Sistine Chapel Ceiling, 1508-1512


The Combination of similar or related elements-- colors, shapes, lines,objects, often via a degree of repetition, often creates a visually pleasing affect. Unity and Harmony give a sense of intentionality and completeness.
Henri Rousseau, The Dream, 1914
Limbourg Brothers, Trés Riches Heures du Duc De Barry, Juillet, ~1414

Contrast in Color, Direction, Value, Content etc all create interest in a work of art and prevent it from becoming dull or lifeless. Artists seek to balance Repetition, Unity, and Harmony with Contrast to enliven their images. 
Barnett Newman, Stations of the Cross, 1958-1966 image source here

File:Fighting Forms.jpg
Franz Marc Fighting Forms, 1914, image source wikipedia

Dorothea Tanning, Eine Kleine Nachtmusic, 1943

my favorite word: COMPOSITION