Abstract Architecture Painting
Submitted by: Ken Schwab, Leigh High School, San Jose CA
Unit: Design - Painting - Architecture Study
Lesson Plan: Non-objective design using architecture.
Grade Level: High School - Suitable for grades 7 through 12
Objectives: Students will
Study architectural elements
Develop a strong composition from an interior photographs.
Explore color planning - develop a painting with a variety of values -experiment with sponge paint technique
Exhibit craftsmanship in hard edged style painting
Scrap paper for viewfinders -
Assorted photographs of interiors (own school might be nice to try) 12 x 18 (30.5 x 46 cm) Newsprint for planning (cut down to size needed)- Illustration Board cut to size (Poster Board may be used). Tempera Paint, Brushes, small plastic dishes, paint Palettes (Mixing Trays), Removable Mounting Tabs, Sponges
Click on the images for full size.
Richard Diebenkorn (American Abstract Painter, 1922-1993) - Artchive - Art & Culture
Many abstract interiors online - poster images Ocean Park are more hard edged.
Building Views: Architectural constructions - Architectural abstractions - photographs by Laura Joy Lustig
Photocopies of architectural interiors
The Art of Richard Diebenkorn - This comprehensive catalog, which accompanies the first retrospective exhibition of Diebenkorn's works since his death, is intended to enhance understanding of his devotion to modernism and the influences upon his accomplishments.
Richard Diebenkorn: Revised and Expanded - Nordland's descriptions and analyses of the paintings, based on 40 years' study of Diebenkorn's life and work, guide the reader to a deeper understanding of the painter's intentions and achievements.
Present the work of Richard Diebenkorn (or abstract hard edge painter of choice).
Review use of view finder to find an interesting composition - review principles of design
Review color planning.
Demonstrate painting techniques.
This is a project that uses a finder to see a composition using architectural design and resource.
Make a finder that is a ratio of 2 x 3, 4 x 5, 3 x 4, etc. and pass it over the picture looking for the principles of design and for an interesting composition.
After looking at the work of Richard Diebenkorn use his sense of interpreting the shapes and angle of the room to the simplest lines and shapes.
Enlarge this finder idea to a larger rectangle of the same proportion.
On the smaller picture create a value pattern for the design using at least 4 values.
Transfer (with graphite) the image to illustration board.
Select a color scheme from the 4 given to you;
Double Complimentary pair.
Work on a color scheme worksheet to choose 10 colors that range in value from very dark to almost white.
Mix these colors and put them into small containers with lids.
By using the value pattern you did previously, start to paint the shapes keeping the edges hard by using removable tape. You can make gradations or use sponging for different textures.
Remember the principles of design and establish a focal point, balance of colors and values, lead the eye through the format with directional movement and rhythm.
Non objective painting with color schemes
Removable Mounting Tabs
We are going to make nonobjective designs using color schemes based on the idea that we can find design and composition while looking at realistic scenes. To do this we need to begin with finders¡¦
1. First thing is to create a finder with some scrap paper. Use the patterns of some small rectangles that will be labeled 2x3, 4x5, 3x4 etc. These are ratios of the length to the width. Later we will be enlarging our designs and this will be a necessary thing to remember so write it down. Trace out the rectangle leaving a space between them to cut them out and cut the center out leaving a hole. Save these and make at least 6.
2. Find some of the architectural Digest magazines or any magazine for that matter that has pictures of buildings, both exterior and interior. Place the finder over the pictures and look for the principle of design. (See demo)
a. Area of Emphasis- a special area that is special, has lines edges and shapes that seem to meet in an area, or looks like the angles of the shapes lead your eye to that area. Lay the finder down and locate this area in one of the aesthetic centers of interest (division of thirds).
b. Rhythm and Directional movement- Use the finder to direct the lines edges of shapes etc to lead the eye of the format as well as lead you eyes to the center of interest. The rhythm is achieved by using a good flow of angles that lead nicely from one to another without having a shape seem to break the movement between shapes.
c. Balance- Look for a balance that is not symmetrical but more of a counter balance to the shapes you are using. Such as circles, make sure there are circles in all quadrants of the format but there can be more in one area over another. Color, values and that will be decided later and you are not looking for them in here yet. However if the value pattern is good tin your finder you can use it.
d. Variety of size- Now when you start to select the shapes and lines you like leave out some and add others to create an interesting design that has large and small areas. Make sure there are big differences in their sizes.
e. Unity- a unity of elements is important that the whole composition is achieving a look of complete Harmony. Areas that don¡¯t seem to belong will tend to make it look choppy and not interesting.
3. After the finder has been moved around and you like what is in there. We are going to take a piece of newsprint and draw out our design. Choose a newsprint size that conforms to the ratio of your finder. 2x3= 12" x18", 3x4= 12"x 16", 4x5= 12"x 15" (5x8 cm = 30x48 cm, 8x10 cm = 32x40 cm, 10x13 cm = 30x39 cm). On the newsprint with rulers compasses etc. choose the shapes and lines for your composition. Remember how Richard Diebenkorn saw shapes and design in the landscapes, we are looking for the design in the buildings. You can choose the areas you want to draw from and not use all of the areas in the finder. Simplicity is best at first developing the area of emphasis and leading your attention to that area. Then re- emphasize the area of interest with more shapes and balance that with a variety of size d shapes leading off the format. Remember the demonstration I made and try this a couple of times even with the same subject.
4. Now that we have the design we are going to shade in a value pattern. A value pattern is the way an artist selects dark and light areas to direct the attention through a piece of art. Whether or not it is nonobjective or realistic the value pattern is very important. We will use 5 distinct values black, dark gray, middle gray, light gray and white. Look at your design and pick a large area that you can make black that will move the attention to your area of emphasis, then use another one to lead you through it and back to the other side of the format. You have created a directional movement that has use d values as well as shapes. Continue this until you have dark areas leading off the format in at least 3 of the four sides of the rectangle. Follow this with a dark gray areas that do a similar movement that complements the first direction and so on through the other values. The white areas will be the lightest colors and will be important to have a contrast between them and the darks to make the area of emphasis important. Work this out and shade in the newsprint.
5. Color Schemes- Color schemes are recipes for mixing a group of colors that will look good together. These schemes can have a lot of contrast or very little contrast in the colors used. Each time you use a color scheme you can mix any combination of the group together with themselves and by using black and white produce tints, shades, and tones of gray with all the colors. We are going to learn the color schemes and use one of them for this painting.
6. When you have mixed colors within the color scheme on the color worksheets making sure you have a strong dark color and very light color choose 8-10 colors that will gradually change form dark to light. Do this by cutting the squares out of the worksheets and laying them on the table. When this is done mix a small quantity of the color in the little plastic containers with lids.
7. By using the value pattern and seeing the demonstration of using the Removable tape, sponges, gradations, brush painting (painterly), and flat covering, choose the colors that resemble the value pattern and finish the project. The design should be transferred with graphite to Illustration board or chipboard.
Notes on Painting for High School Students- from Ken Schwab:
I use Tempera Paint and Acrylic Paint. The tempera mixes very well and the colors can be applied flat better than some acrylics. I use tempera in my art 1, 2 and even three's for color scheme projects and because of cost this allows me to do more of these. Waste is a factor as well. Since tempera is water soluble, I use cheap plastic cups and lids to mix quantities of colors and keep them for weeks (check Solo cups - available from restaurant supply stores)
I use an eight color scheme handout to explain my color schemes. These are Monochromatic, Compliment, Double Compliment, Split Compliment, Analogous, Triad, related Palette, and Three Analogous and a comp.
Depending on the project I select several color schemes and they use the Color Wheels to choose the colors and then with that group start mixing and experimenting with the colors that can be made in that scheme. They then cut out little squares of colors and arrange them from lightest to darkest and pick 8 to 10 to use in the project. They must have at least one that is almost white and on that is almost black.
Mixing these colors again into the little cups and saving them allows them to keep the painting organized and they use the same colors each day.
Turn this lesson into a Math Skills lesson - using distorted grid
This could be turned into a math lesson using a grid. Select photograph of architecture (your ow school interior would be nice) - Focus down on an interesting part. Draw grid on photocopy (OR place a grid transparency over photograph). Draw a distorted grid on Drawing Paper (See lesson plan for distorted grid). Enlarge the portion of the photograph using the distorted grid. Lines of grid can be stretched out - made wavy - whatever your choice may be.
Math Concepts: Scale - proportion - percentage of increase.