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Choose any artist - from any time period.

  • Gather articles and color pictures of your
    featured artist's work.
  • Study his/her life's story
  • Were they married
  • Did he/she have children
  • Did the children paint, sculpt
  • Were the parents artistic, etc.
  • Know all you can about that artist.
  • Make her/him a living, flesh and blood
    person to your student.

Select a painting of the featured artist.
  • Provide photocopied line drawings that you
    have made of the artist's work, to the student.
  • They will be of great benefit, in that it will
    provide something to look at
  • Thus relieve the anxiety they feel in seeing
    that blank piece of drawing paper and knowing
    they must put something on it!
  • Also have color pictures of those same paintings.


Identify the color scheme

  • Ask your students to identify the color scheme
    of your artist's art work, ie.
    1. Complementary
    2. Analogous
    3. Monochromatic
    4. High key (light values)
    5. Low key (dark values).
    This will teach them to think a little more
    in-depth about paintings and the making of art.

    Use a limited palette

  • Try using only the primary colors plus white
    and black.
    1. Red
    2. Yellow
    3. Blue
    4. White
    5. Black
    This will teach students to mix colors and avoid the confusion from having to
    choose from so many different colors.
    (Relieves even more anxiety-this is good!)

It isn't wrong to copy

We learn by copying and imitating, so allow students to copy that artists work, either using
the photocopied line drawing or their own drawing. Then, as close as they can, to paint just like the
color reproduction.

This will teach the student the methods used in that artist's work.


Encourage students to invent their own subject or design, then, using the same colors and
techniques and imitating that artist, to make their own original art work.


To help the artist really come alive to your
students try the following:

Artists to Study:

Henri Matisse=1869-1954- French-Great colorist,
who used pure strong, color without regard to the
actual color of his subject. Also study his paper
cutouts, these were done in his later years when his
eyesight began to fail.


Pablo Picasso-1881-1973 Spanish
Pablo was a child prodigy, a masterful draftsman,
and a creative genius. Picasso's art went through
many phases,i.e., his blue period, his pink period,
his classical period, he was influenced
by other art types and forms. In his later years,
his work took on a more light and happy feeling,
even getting into ceramics and doing them
by the thousands.

Pollack Jackson-1912-1956 American
He was made famous by his unique method
of applying paint. By throwing, dripping, and
spattering paint on canvas that was laid on the
floor or tacked to the wall, Jackson created
paintings that were soooo different and
never before seen at that time. He claimed
that his technique allowed him to be much
more intimate and connected to his art. For
the simple fact that this had not been done
before made Jackson's work very unique,
different and much sought after.

Mary Cassatt 1845-1926 American

This Pennsylvania born artist, is considered
to be America's most famous woman artist.
She spent most of her life in Europe and
was greatly influenced by the impressionists.
Light was deemed more important than space
or form. Her subjects were mothers and their
babies, grand ladies at tea and the opera.

Georgia O'Keefe 1887- 1986 American

This woman artist started her art career
doing abstracts. Her marriage to Alfred Stieglitz
introduced her to the likes of Cezanne, Rodin
and Matisse. Her art took on more of a
Cubist-Realist, stylized form.

It was a step away from the abstract to more of a
semi-representational look.

We remember her for those monumental close-ups,
of flowers and cow skulls, in rich vibrant color.

She is considered America's second most
important woman painter.

Author : Kay Milam
Copyright -2003
All Rights Reserved
Kay Milam is an artist/teacher, lecturer and painting demonstrator.
For art lessons go to Milam


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