C2 Week 4: Abstract Art

First, an announcement!

I will be leading a webinar this weekend to help all my fellow CC tutor and parents learn more about art and how to model it. This webinar can be used with my tutorials, but it doesn’t have to be–the techniques of art can be used in and through many places, subjects (or strands!) and for many reasons, not simply creating a work of “fine art”.

The webinar will be four 1-hour sessions over the weekend, so even those who have already started will be able to receive tips and tricks for the upcoming weeks.

The first webinar will be Friday, August 16, at 8 pm (EDT). It will cover “blocking”, what it is, how to do it, how to do it out of your head, and how to teach various ages. Blocking is a fundamental art skill and therefore, I put it in its own section.

The second will be Saturday, August 17, at 8 pm EDT. It will cover “Mirror Images” (Symmetry), and Upside Down Drawing. I will demonstrate several ways this works, how to demonstrate visual measuring, or encourage different people to work their way through these exercises, and why we do them.

The third is at a DIFFERENT time: Sunday, August 18, at 2 PM (EDT). (My tech support (aka hubby) has an evening event and I am NOT going to run all this on my own!) I’m moving some things around and will tackle PERSPECTIVE on its own. (Week 5). Perspective drawing can be tricky, and comes in many “styles”, so I wanted to put this one in its own lesson.

The final lesson will be Monday, August 19, at 8 pm (EDT). The final lesson will cover Abstract Art, the “Final Project”, and ways you can use art at home to deepen learning. This one is good for both your class and your home-students. Why do we learn to draw? What can drawing be used for? How can we use it to deepen learning while not sacrificing time?

Cost will be $25 USD and the lessons will be recorded so you can view them at a later date if you want a refresher. Attending live means you can interact with me directly and ask questions. Please bring paper (printer paper will do), pencils, and erasers and draw along with me! I promise, you will learn a lot and grow in confidence in your art skills (They are LEARN-ABLE skills after all!)

And now onto Abstract Art!

Why bother with nonsensical art anyway? (Which is how most people, myself once included) view abstract art.)

While this is a Norman Rockwell piece (not known for his abstract art!) this reminded me of how most of us view abstract art! (Rockwell was actually a fan of abstract art, including Expressionism, and painted “museum piece” himself before painting the museum goer. What is he thinking? That’s up to the viewer!)

First of all, Abstract Art is actually useful. It’s open ended art–there is no “realism” to judge against “success”. All you have to do is ask yourself, “does this work for me?” Different Abstract Artist’s works will impact different people. Personally, I love the work of Sonia Delaunay, Mark Rothko, and Paul Klee. Kasimir Malevich is kind of “eh”, and Pollack is…yeah, “Jack the Dripper”, is just about right. (Seriously, how ARE these works selling for millions?!) But there are some people for whom Pollack rings something true deep within them, so…go for it.

Secondly, after weeks of using different techniques to help make our art more “realistic”, it’s a nice mental break to just break loose and try something more open–and that is partially what art is about. But more importantly, in the real world, “solutions” to “problems” don’t come in the flavors “right” and “wrong”. My father, who is an engineer, tells me that most of what he does all day is solve problems and try to develop a solution that works best within the confines of budget, space, time, and reality. (That last one can be a bit of a problem…). Are there “better” solutions? Often, yes, but if something has to be fixed within an hour, or a new line upgraded within the month, or a machine needs to fit within X square feet on the floor, my dad had to figure out how to solve those problems within those confines, which required out-of-the-box thinking. My mom’s a nurse, and will often talk about the “Creativity” within something as scientific as medicine. Given what she knew about the human body, and an accident or emergency (she worked the ER before I came along) how can we fix this and keep the person alive? (Out-of-the-box thinking often happens here.)

And look! Abstract Art! Practically DEFINED by out-of-the-box thinking!

It also gives us a broader idea of what “art” can look like, and a broader way to express ourselves in our art. When we’re facing difficult feelings or problems, being able to use the non-realistic ideas incorporated in abstract art helps us express these complex things. Being able to do so helps steady our emotional and mental health.

Finally, Abstract Art is really, a definitive style of the 20th century. Centuries to come, to understand the history of art will include understanding how this field was born and spread–and WWI, WWII, Communism, spy rings, and marketing will all play their roles in the proliferation of Abstract Art.

Here’s the two scripts, plus an optional Abstract Artist Packets (I may include two more artists in a week or two). I’ll also be uploading some stories behind abstract art (How Facism and Nazism made Abstract Art a “Western” art form, One of the greatest art pranks of the 20th century, Abstract art styles of the ancient world..) These stories aren’t included in the tutorials, but you could have them out in the classroom, or print them to share with your at-home students!

Will upload Perspective soon! Hope to see you in the webinar!

Abstract Artist Packet 2019

C2 W4 Abstract Art, Journeymen and Masters

C2 W4 Abstract Art, Abecedarians and Apprentices