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Exploring color and William H Johnson's paintings

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Duration
Two 45m lessons

Objectives

  1. Students will learn about one of the most important American artists of the 20th century.
  2. Students will examine the interaction of colors using two of William H. Johnson’s paintings as reference.
  3. Students will create artwork using the style of one of William H. Johnson’s paintings. While doing so, students will learn the basics of color theory, color mixing, color palette creating, and watercolor application.
  4. In writing, or verbally, students will describe their work and compare and contrast their style and use of colors with that of William H Johnson.

Essential Questions 

  1. How does art help us understand the lives of people of different times, places, and cultures? 
  2. How might an artist choose to use certain colors?
  3. How do artists use colors to lead our eyes from one object to another?

Figure 1 - William H. Johnson, Still Life--Chair and Flowers, ca.1944-1945, oil on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of theHarmon Foundation, 1967.59.583R-V

Figure 2 - William H. Johnson, Portrait with Sunflowers, ca. 1944, oil on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of theHarmon Foundation, 1983.95.50

Figure 3-William H.Johnson, Portrait of Fletcher, 1939, oil on burlap, Smithsonian American ArtMuseum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.1136

Figure 4 - William H.Johnson, Little Sweet, 1944, oil on paperboard, Smithsonian American ArtMuseum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.1076

Figure 5 - Color Theory Quick Reference Guide - This Photo byUnknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Figure 6 - Color Wheel - This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND


California Content Standards

 

7: Perceive and analyze artistic work

11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding

National Core Arts Standards

  • VA:Cr1.2.5a Identify and demonstrate diverse methods of artistic investigation to choose an approach for beginning a work of art.
  • VA:Cr2.1.5a Experiment and develop skills in multiple art-making techniques and approaches through practice.
  • VA:Cr2.2.5a Demonstrate quality craftsmanship through care for and use of materials, tools, and equipment.
  • VA:Cr3.1.3a Elaborate visual information by adding details in an artwork to enhance emerging meaning.
  • VA:Cr3.1.4a Revise artwork in progress on the basis of insights gained through peer discussion.
  • VA:Cr3.1.5a Create artist statements using art vocabulary to describe personal choices in artmaking.
  • VA:Re.7.2.3a Determine messages communicated by an image.
  • VA:Re.7.2.4a Analyze components in visual imagery that convey messages.
  • VA:Re.7.2.5a Identify and analyze cultural associations suggested by visual imagery.

Common Core State Standards

  • ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.3 Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
  • ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.3 Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
  • ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • Pencil
  • A watercolor paint set
  • Two sheets of watercolor paper
  • Four strips of Masking tape (about 12” each)
  • Two soft paintbrushes
  • A cup of water
  • Paper towel or sponge to absorb excess water from brushes

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  • Absorption
  • Background/ Foreground
  • Color Wheel 
  • Color Palette
  • Complementary Colors
  • Hue
  • Primary Hues
  • Secondary Hues
  • Intermediate Hues (Tertiary Hues)
  • Neutral Colors
  • Value
  • Warm/Cool Colors
  • Negative/Positive Space
  • Compare
  • Contrast
  • Style
  • Technique
  • Theme

Preparation

  1. On a flat surface, tape down the four side edges of a full sheet of watercolor paper (this makes a frame)
  2. Next to the full sheet of watercolor paper, tape down a half sheet of watercolor paper that will be used to sample colors
  3. Next to the half sheet of paper, place the watercolor paint set, the brushes, the half cup of water, and a sponge or folded paper towel

Lesson

  1. Show students the images (figure 1 - 4)
  2. Have students discuss their observations. What common themes do they see? What colors would you find on the artist’s palette?
  3. Introduce the artist and share background information
  4. Show Video Elements of Art: Color | KQED Arts
  5. Ask students to think of a chair that’s special to them and ask them to share what makes it special
  6. Introduce materials and the activity

Activity

  1. With a pencil, using faint lines, draw your favorite chair on the watercolor paper
  2. After you finish drawing, cut strips of masking tape to cover each line you drew, pressing firmly to make sure the tape sticks well to the paper
  3. Using one of your brushes put two or three drops of water on the colors you want to use
  4. To make your color palette, start by sampling the colors you mixed on the half piece of paper (be sure to clean your brush after each use by dipping it in the cup of water and pressing it lightly on the sponge)
  5. Start painting the area of your watercolor paper that isn’t covered with tape (don’t worry about paint touching the tape)
  6. Let the paint dry thoroughly then remove the tape covered areas

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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