Creating Hard Edge Paintings
Submitted by: Bunki Kramer
UNIT: Abstract Art - Art with Text
Grade Level: Middle school
Present a variety of fonts/type faces - discuss lettering
Present a number of abstract works of art with hard edge technique
Present works of art with text
Robert Indiana | Sister Corita Kent | Frank Stella | Ellsworth Kelly | Al Held
1 inch (2.5 cm) viewfinders (card stock)
Masking Tape (removable kind)
Tempera Paint or latex
Brushes - Mixing Trays - water dishes
Optional - computer photo software (Photoshop can be bought at the Adobe Software Page)
Lorser Feitelson and the Invention of Hard Edge Painting - This book covers the beginnings of hard edge painting.
Robert Indiana: Hard Edge - This volume is published in honor of the artist's eightieth birthday and provides a look at his canonical large-scale art. In addition to Love, such well-known works as the Electric Eat, Art and the autobiographical Numbers series are reproduced.
Frank Stella 1958 - Presenting the entire series of paintings in color for the first time, this handsome book details the course of Stella’s career in 1958.
Vocabulary: Hard Edge
U.S., late 1950s - The term Hard-edge painting was coined in 1959 by art historian Jules Langsner to characterize the nonfigurative work of four artists from California in an exhibition called Four Abstract Classicists. The term then gained broader currency after British critic Lawrence Alloway used it to describe contemporary American geometric abstract painting featuring an "economy of form," "fullness of color," "neatness of surface," and the non-relational, allover arrangement of forms on the canvas. This style of geometric abstraction refers back to the work of Josef Albers and Piet Mondrian. Artists associated with Hard-edge painting include Al Held, Ellsworth Kelly, Alexander Liberman, Brice Marden, Kenneth Noland, Ad Reinhardt, and Jack Youngerman.
Optional - Color field painters (some of these also did hard edge):
Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman, Morris Louis, Gene Davis, Kenneth Noland, Thomas Downing, Howard Mehring
Using note cards, cut out a 1" square in the middle for a viewfinder.
In magazines, find a section of an ad lettering that you like
Use view finder to find a nice, balanced arrangement (center of interest, rule of third's, whatever you want to accomplish).
Transfer design by quadrants onto a pre-cut square of large cardboard about 30"x30" (approx).
Plan colors (Optional - use computer software to experiment with different color combinations)
Paint composition - use removable masking tape for straight hard edges.
Bunki recommends you get miss mixed paint cheap from your local hardware/paint stores and some cheap Foam Brush.
Extensions: Digital Manipulation
Create a composition using a digital photograph of finished painting. This example uses one of the images above. Photograph was from a gif so colors were not very sharp.
Photograph finished work
copy and paste - rotate
Enhance hue and saturation - repeat.
Submitted by: Vivian Komando, Pope John Paul II High School
Adaptation for High School
1. 2D - Geometric Movement Painting - Compose an acrylic painting using vertical emphasis and movement using geometric shapes after researching work by the following artists (have examples and comments in your journals along with 1 mini sketch for each one):
A. Al Held
B. Frank Stella
C. Victor Vasserly
D. Ellsworth Kelly - Crockett Johnson
E. Hard-Edge Painting - June Harwood
OR 2D - Organic, Optical, or Fractal Based Painting - Using Watercolor Pencils and / or Colored Pencils
2D - PROJECT 3 (Bunki Kramer) - Magnification / Geometric Abstraction - Find a text design in a magazine. Select a portion of the text. Use the photocopier to enlarge the section. Transfer the design onto scrap mat board section. Paint with tempera or acrylic.
For African American Artist - consider William T. Williams
William T. Williams - "Trane" - hard edge painting:
here is another example of hard edge:
More non-objective work:
shows William T Williams -