Home Art Project

Home Art Project

Always available and always free, enjoy our Home Art Project in your own time and from the comfort of home. Just for fun, or to be taken more seriously if you like, we hope this content inspires you to create.

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Description


Born from a desire to help motivate beginner and experienced artists alike to keep creating during lockdowns, we bring you our new initiative to help inspire and educate. A great starting point to get the ball rolling at home, to keep the kids entertained during school holidays, or to get the creative juices flowing if you are experiencing a block, come back anytime and work your way through the different projects. Just for fun, or to be taken more seriously if you like, we hope this content inspires you to create.

We encourage you to share your work on facebook or instagram and tag Melbourne Art Class and / or use the hashtag #MACartproject so that we, and others in the art community, can enjoy and support your work. (Not social network inclined? Email your work to us at hub@melbourneartclass.com)

 

Project 1: Mondrian’s tree

Piet Mondrian’s “Evening; Red Tree” takes as its starting point the form of the tree. With its arching trunk, dense twisting branches, brisk application of paint and vibrant colours the work imbues the tree with a sublime energy, growth and vitality

The work follows in an ongoing investigation of colour, form and composition within the European art tradition which began with Impressionist painting. The rhythmic forms of the trunk and branches break up the blue background. A rhythm is also present in the application of paint with the juxtaposing of warm and cool colours across the trunk and branches.

The tree is placed in the centre of the composition. The strong curves of the tree trunk carry the eye through the sweeping arch of the trunk and then into multiple smaller curves and twirls in the branches. This placement within the picture plain sets up a strong, imposing composition.

The colours chosen are used for their expressive qualities. The warm red and orange vibrate against the cooler blue background. The yellow, pink and orange dabs also form a rhythm in the description of the ground at the base of the tree. Orange sits on opposite side of blue on the colour wheel (three primary colour).

Your project this week is to find a tree you can draw or paint from and use some of the elements present in Mondrian’s tree.

Think about:

Where to place the tree on the page or canvas and how does that effect the composition.

Do you detect a subtle rhythm in the tree you are observing, through the repetition of certain elements such as lines, forms or shapes? Is there a way in which you can describe a rhythm or lack of rhythm in your work using lines, shapes or marks?

If you are using colour, which colours best describe tree that you are describing?

Piet Mondrian, 1908-10, Evening; Red Tree (Avond; De rode boom), oil on canvas, 70 x 99 cm, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Children’s Text

In the painting by artist Piet Mondrian called “Evening; Red Tree”, we can see a tree with a bent trunk and twisting branches against a blue background. The trunk is painted in red, orange and blue.

The tree is placed in the centre. We can follow the curve of the tree trunk through the sweeping arch of the trunk and then into multiple smaller curves and twirls in the branches.

The warm red and orange stand out against the cooler blue background. Orange sits on the opposite side of the colour wheel to blue.

Your project this week is to find a tree you can draw or paint from and use some of the elements present in Mondrian’s tree.

Think about:

Where to place the tree on the page or canvas. Which position do you think might look best?

Do you see any repetition of lines or shapes in the tree? Is there a way in which you can use those lines, shapes or in your drawing or painting?

If you are using colour, which colours best describe tree that you are describing?

 

Project 2: The ambiguous space

Giorgio de Chirico, Gare Montparnasse (The Melancholy of Departure) Paris early 1914 https://www.moma.org/collection/works/80538

Painted in 1914, Giorgio de Chirico’s Gare Montparnasse (The Melancholy of Departure) describes the public space around the Parisian station, Gare Montparnasse. At first glance, the painting is compositionally and spatially convincing yet closer inspection reveals many inconstancies which bring into question any reality that may at first be apparent. De Chirico was to go on to establish the movement called Metaphysical painting. Metaphysical painting used representational elements that are incongruous to produce a perplexing image.

The buildings and the road use conflicting perspective with conflicting vanishing points. The flags fluttering furiously in the distance are driven by wind which seems to not be acting at all on the smoke emerging from the steam train. The shadows, inconsistent and at varying angles, are long, as if it is the late afternoon, yet the time on the tower reads, 1:30 pm. The space is populated only by two figures and a bunch of green bananas which sit in the foreground. There seems to be no apparent reason for the bananas but they do add significantly to the composition, breaking up an otherwise geometric layout with an organic pattern.

The ambiguous space and the ambiguous elements gives the painting a sense of mystery and poignancy. It can leave the viewer suspecting that there is something more to the scene that is alluding them. The painting distorts the logic that underpins our understanding the physical world around us and includes subjects that create possibilities for a narrative but no clear resolution.

Your project this week is to find a space you inhabit or photos of a public space. Think about what the space has been like during lockdownUse one area of the space such as a corner, to make a drawing.

Has the space been occupied or unoccupied? What has that felt like?

Can you draw the space in a way which includes natural elements such as light.

Can you draw the space in a way which includes some elements that are contradictory?

Children’s Text

Giorgio de Chirico’s painting, Gare Montparnasse (The Melancholy of Departure) describes the space around the station in Paris which is called Gare Montparnasse. We can see two people in the distance and a bunch of green bananas close to us. We are not quite sure why the bananas are there? The painting looks like it is showing something real but when we look closer we can see that not everything makes sense.

The buildings and the road seem to be going in their own strange directions. The flags fluttering in the distance are driven by wind which seems to not be acting at all on the smoke emerging from the steam train. The shadows are long, as if it is the late afternoon, yet the time on the tower reads as 1:30 pm. There seems to be different times being described, all at once. The painting seems to be a little like a dream where things can change in a moment.

Does the painting have a feeling to it and how would you describe it?

Your project this week is to find a room in your house or photos of an outside space. Think about what the space has been like during lockdown. Use one area of the space such as a corner, to make a drawing.

Has been occupied or unoccupied? What has that felt like?

Can you draw the space in a way which includes light?

Can you draw the space in a way which includes some things that don’t quite make sense?

Giorgio de Chirico, Gare Montparnasse (The Melancholy of Departure) Paris early 1914 https://www.moma.org/collection/works/80538

 

Project 3: Composition and colour, Matisse’s Cut-Outs

Henri Matisse, The Codomas (Les Codomas) 1943, MOMA

From the 1940’s, Henri Matisse began cutting directly into coloured paper. He describe this as “cutting directly into vivid colour” or “drawing with scissors”. The works came to be known as Cut-Outs and form a significant body of late work by the one of the 20th centuries most extraordinary artists.

The process of making these works began as a means of laying out the designs for book covers and for the stage. Matisse later scaled up and began pinning shapes directly the wall. Studio assistants would use large brushes to paint the paper in the colours that Matisse required for the cut-outs. Matisse who was by then confined to a wheelchair, would have an assistant pin and unpin the cut-outs while Matisse played with the composition. Matisse frequently used colours for their harmonies and their contrasts.

Henri Matisse, The Parakeet and the Mermaid 1952, MOMA

Matisse would sometimes use both the positive cut out shape and negative left over shape in the same composition as you can see in the image below.

Henri Matisse, Composition, Black and Red (Composition, noir et rouge). 1947, MOMA

This project is the making of your own cut-out while exploring composition and colour relationships.

Find scrap paper or wrapping paper and a thicker cartridge paper you can stick the cut-outs onto. You can use the pattern or colour already on your paper or you can colour your paper with pastel or pencil.

Find some leaves and flowers, and use them to draw shapes onto the reverse side of the paper and then cut the shapes out. Keep the leftover cut paper which can be used as the a negative shape in your composition.

You can move the paper cut outs about until you settle upon a pleasing composition. Consider the space around the cut outs and the colour harmonies. Look for unusual but attractive combinations.

Marco Corsini, 2021

Children’s Text

Henri Matisse began cutting into coloured paper to make shapes. He then pinned them on a wall or glued them on paper to find new ways of creating beautiful images.

When making these works, Matisse frequently used colours that looked good together. You can see some of the works he did above. Can you see the bird shape hidden in the picture below?

This project is the making of your own cut-out picture.

Find scrap paper or wrapping paper and a thicker cartridge paper you can stick the cut-outs onto. You can use the pattern or colour already on your paper or you can colour your paper with pastel or pencil.

Find some leaves and flowers, and use them to draw shapes onto the reverse side of the paper and then cut the shapes out. Keep the leftover cut paper which can also be used as the a shape in your picture.

You can move the paper cut outs about until you find an image you like. Think about how your picture looks with space between the cut outs. Also think about how different colours and patterns look together. You can move everything around until you are happy with the composition and then you can glue them down on your cartridge paper.

Henri Matisse, The Parakeet and the Mermaid 1952, MOMA

 

Project 4: Morandi’s Still Life

Giorgio Morandi Natura Morta (1946), https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/morandi-still-life-n05782

Italian artist Giorgio Morandi dedicated himself to painting still life compositions. He focused upon objects arranged in such way as to emphasise the relationship of objects to each other and their place in the space. Also upon the subtle gradations of hue, and tone.

Although Morandi also painted landscapes and a few self-portraits, it was the through still life that he could explore tone, colour, and compositional balance through a collection of familiar bottles and vases. The paintings are executed economically, resisting detail in favour of broader areas of desaturated tone. This approach describes the objects while maintaining an acute awareness of the abstract relationships in the composition.

The composition’s quivering edges and coarsely brushed application of paint, combined with a sense of the mass of the objects (derived from the heavy opaque paint, subtle tone and description of the light on the subject) gives them a lively, timeless, stillness.

Giorgio Morandi Natura Morta (1953), Wikiart
Giorgio Morandi Natura Morta, Wikiart

This project is the making of your own still life inspired by Morandi.

Choose a collection of bottles vases and perhaps a smaller box. Morandi’s colour tends to be desaturated, emphasising the subtle tonal relationships. In my examples below, I have briskly painted the bottles with acrylic titanium white paint which is tinted with yellow ochre in places. I found a Lego building board to create a shift in tone in the background.

Note that in many of Morandi’s compositions there is considerable space around the objects, so you will need to think about the whole composition and the space around the objects. Also think about how the objects relate to each other. Are they touching each other or is there a slither of light between them, or are they apart?

When you have created your still life, make a few sketches thinking about all the elements mentioned above. When you are ready, make a final drawing or painting, continuing to refine the tonal and colour relationships, thinking about how the marks you make effect the work.

Example of a still life in the style of Morandi

Children’s text

Giorgio Morandi focused on painting simple every day objects like bottles vases and boxes. He focused upon tone (light and dark), colour which was often very soft and how the objects sat next to each other. He also thought a lot about the space around the objects.

For this project, find a few objects you like and experiment with placing them together until you find a way in which they look good together. Think about the background also, in my example above I found a Lego building board to create a shift in tone in the background.

Using pencil or pastel, make a drawing of the objects.

 

Project 5: The (Un) Still Life

Still life has been the representation of objects such as flowers, fruit, vegetables, wine and game. Still life can be a celebration of the subject being represented or it can be a warning of the transience of our lives and of all things such as in the works of memento mori, which often includes a skull or decaying subjects.

In comparison to other genres such as History painting and Portraiture, Still life was considered of low rank by the Seventeenth century French Academy. Within modern art, Still life was used as a basis for experiments. Most notably, the way in which Cezanne used multiple points of view to manipulate the space being viewed, tilting objects towards the viewer.

Zoey Frank’s recent artwork often uses everyday settings for her Still lifes. She will chose a bathroom cabinet or sink area, the corner of a room, a picnic rug or a lunch in its wrapper. Working from observation, she will often choose subjects that will be moved by somebody at some point, forcing her to accommodate for the changes as she progresses through the painting. This causes her to make new decisions which relate to all the elements present in a painting such as compositional structure, space, and colour.

Frank’s work is therefore an engagement with the real world, in real time with her work having to be a resolution of that process. It means that sometimes shapes and forms will partially appear or disappear, be well described or left out. It also means that how a work is composed is not necessarily tied to what is being observed.

Zoey Frank, Lemon Blue Tiles, Oil on linen on panel, 17 x 19″, 2016
https://zoeyfrank.com/still-life-spaces/2017/1/3/huf3gnqejpxwnwzvycep3ogdcxyvew
Zoey Frank, Lemons #2 Oil on panel, 14 x 13”, 2018
Still Life/Spaces — Zoey Frank
Zoe Frank, Bathroom sink, oil on panel, 36″ x 36″, 2017
https://zoeyfrank.com/still-life-spaces/2017/8/1/bathroom-sink

This project is the drawing or painting of a Still life with some of the objects being moved during the process.

Choose a group of objects that you can arrange or an area in your home or studio which may be changed over time.

Draw or paint the scene as some of the objects are moved or replaced.

Every time an object is moved, think about which part of the composition you want to keep and which you would like to change. Think about compositional structure, space, colour and tone. How do shapes, or partial shapes fit together into a a new composition?

Children’s text

An artwork described as a Still life often has objects such as flowers, fruit and vegetables.

Artist, Zoey Frank’s recent artwork often uses everyday settings for her Still lifes. She will chose a bathroom cabinet or sink area, the corner of a room, a picnic rug or a lunch in its wrapper. Working while looking at these things, she will often choose objects that will be moved by somebody at some point, forcing her to make changes as she to the painting. This causes her to make new decisions which relate about how everything sits together in her work.

This project is the drawing or painting of a Still life with some of the objects being moved during the work.

Choose a group of objects that you can arrange or an area in your home which may be change over time.

Draw or paint the scene as some of the objects are moved or replaced.

Every time an object is moved, think about which part of your work you want to keep and which you would like to change. Think about compositional structure, space, colour and tone. How do shapes, or partial shapes fit together into a a new composition?

 

Project 6: David Hockney’s Plants

David Hockney Jade Plant, 1988 Oil on canvas 121.92 x 91.44 cm (https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Jade-Plant/DBAE6DC87448AD81)

David Hockney frequently paints or draws from his immediate environment with his works being imbued with a celebration of form and colour. Hockney’s work often explores the perception of space, colour and composition.

In Hockney’s “Jade Plant” above, we can see the influence of cubism in the strange distortion of what appeared to be a table that the pot is sitting on, and in the floor below. We can also see the influence of Vincent van Gogh, both in the boldness of colour combinations and in the way the lines are rendered around the plant stems in those curved stroke that describes form. The strong pinks of those stems stand out against the cerulean blue of the background. These colours sit opposite on the RGB, Red/Green/Blue colour wheel as complementary colours. Note that artists most often use the RYB Red/Yellow./Blue colour wheel for mixing paint.

The graphic power of Hockney’s work comes from:

clever placement and composition within the picture plain,

limiting of unnecessary detail,

broad use of marks used to describe form and texture,

the use of bold colours in clever combinations,

and a constant experimentation without over working.

David Hockney, Two vases of cut flower and Liriope plant, Lithograph, 1979, signed in red pencil, dated and numbered 14/98
(https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2019/important-prints-and-multiples-day-sale/david-hockney-two-vases-of-cut-flowers-and-liriope)
David Hockney, Plant on Yellow Cloth, 1995, Oil on canvas, 66 × 45.7 cm
(https://www.artsy.net/artwork/david-hockney-plant-on-yellow-cloth)

This project is the drawing or painting of a plant while being mindful of the powerful graphic qualities that Hockney uses.

Choose a a plant or object. Draw or paint it. Hockney sometimes uses an iPad, you may choose to also.

Look at the form or shape of the plant and consider how it sits against a background. How can you place the plant shape on your page or canvas to get a good balance between the plant and its surroundings. If you are unsure, you can use the examples in Hockney’s work on this page as a guide.

Looking at the colours you see, experiment on a piece of scrap paper to find colour combinations that work well. You can invent colours if you want to.

How can the surroundings be simplified into effective plains or patterns?

Are there patterns present or textures present that can be used in the composition?

David Hockney, iPad Drawing No. 281 23rd JULY 2010,
(https://rhodescontemporaryart.com/artists/54-david-hockney/works/4218-david-hockney-ipad-drawing-no.-281-23rd-july-2010-2020/ )

Children’s text

David Hockney often paints or draws from what he sees around him. He paints in bright colours and with strong simple shapes.

Hockney’s is good at:

clever placement and composition,

limiting of unnecessary detail,

broad use of marks used to describe form and texture,

the use of bold colours in clever combinations,

and a constant experimentation without over working.

This project is the drawing or painting of a plant in the style of David Hockney’s work.

Choose a a plant or object. Draw or paint it. Hockney sometimes uses an iPad, you may choose to also.

Look at the form or shape of the plant and consider how it sits against a background. How can you place the plant shape on your page or canvas to get a good balance between the plant and its surroundings. If you are unsure, you can use the examples in Hockney’s work on this page as a guide.

Looking at the colours you see, experiment on a piece of scrap paper to find colour combinations that work well. You can invent colours if you want to.

How can the surroundings be simplified?

Are there patterns present or textures present that can be used in the composition?

 

Project 7: Cezanne’s rhythms and shifts

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples, Oil on canvas, 1895 – 1898. MOMA

A change occurred in Paul Cézanne’s approach to painting and drawing which had a significant impact upon artists and how they made art. Cézanne was dedicated to painting from observation but rather than seeing drawing and painting as a copying of reality, he saw it as a way of recording the “sensations” he obtained through observation. He did not see painting as the making of an illusion which represents reality, so he maintained our consciousness of the tools of paint and the canvas used in his recording. In his work, we can see that brush marks are evident as is the canvas which is sometimes left bare.

Cézanne’s also broke with rules of perspective by painting slightly different viewpoints. In Still Life with Apples we can see the right side of the front edge of the table is not aligned with the left. Objects or planes such as the front right edge of the table tilt towards us. Some parts of the canvas are also left uncovered and the work appears unfinished. Even the edges might sometimes have a double edge, or a shifting or dissolving edge like in the watercolour below.

The use of brush marks and the way in which Cézanne worked with each mark, shape and form, knitting them together, enabled him to create wonderfully rhythmic images where the elements seems to harmonise with each other. Space and forms emerge also maintain a very considered relationship to each other. They also sometimes emerge and withdraw, adding an additional dynamic to the work.

Paul Cézanne. Still Life with Carafe, Bottle, and Fruit (La Bouteille de cognac), Watercolour and pencil, 1906, MOMA

This project is the drawing or painting of a Still Life, thinking of it as a recording of how you see rather than a copy of that you are observing.

Set up a simple Still life on a table. Draw some parts of the Still life from a closer angle. Move slightly and continue with the drawing your Still lIfe. In a similar way to how you resolved shifting objects in the Zoe Frank project several weeks ago, you will need to resolve how drawing from different viewpoints integrate together. Think of the marks you are making and how they build together while each maintaining their own character.

Paul Cézanne, Still Life With Cherries And Peaches, Oil on canvas, with a 1885-1887, LACMA

Children’s text

Paul Cézanne liked to work from things he could see. However he wasn’t very concerned with whether his painting looked like what he was seeing. What interested him was that he was making a record of how he saw. So he would leave the drawing or paint marks as he made them, while also getting them to sit happily together. Sometime he would shift how he looked at something, as if he had moved, so that he was looking from a different angle. You can see this with the bowl of cherries above, which looks as though we are looking down upon it while we are also looking across the table

This project is the drawing of a Still Life, thinking of it as a recording of how you see rather than a copy of that you are observing.

Set up a simple Still life on a table. Draw some parts of the Still life from a closer angle. Move slightly and continue with the drawing your Still lIfe. Try to get everything in the drawing to look good together, even though you moved.

 

Project 8: Light, colour and materials, Bang Hai Ja

Bang Hai Ja, Breath of Light, Natural pigment on Korean paper, 2009, Korean Art Museum Association

Light and colour have always been a central element of most art practices. Some art movements such as Impressionism, were heavily impacted by 19th century developments in the theoretical understanding of light and colour.

What does light mean to us? Is it important to us because it supports life, or enables the physical world to be seen, or perhaps because it gives us colour? Does it take on a more significant symbolic meaning for us, because of all these characteristics.

https://www.britannica.com/technology/prism-optics

An artist whose work is deeply entrenched in light and colour is Bang Hai Ja (b. 1937, Korea). Her work bridges the Eastern calligraphic tradition and Western abstraction. She uses Korean paper which is hand made from leaves and plants in a tradition originating from Buddhist nuns. This paper can be shaped and rumpled. Bang Hai Ja also uses an unwoven fabric known as geotextile. She likes this materials for its transparency. She places her fabric on the floor where she will paint both sides of it, allowing the paint to bleed through the material and the colours to mix, leaving subtle colour transitions and variations.

Bang Hai Ja, Light Born of the Light, Natural pigment on Korean paper, 2009, Korean Art Museum Association

This project is the experimentation with various papers and cloths that you find using any mediums you may have. The medium may be markers, water colour paint, gouache or acrylic paint.

Think about the following:

What are the characteristics of the paper or cloth you have. Can this material be rumpled or folded. How does that impacts its acceptance of your medium?

How does your medium flow through the material. If you are using water based paint, can you thin the paint with water and what happens when you apply it?

Can you apply the medium from both sides?

Which colour combinations look good together and how can your colours mix effectively?

Can you add a different medium?

Bang Hai Ja, Silence of the Sea, Natural pigment on geotextile, 2005, Korean Art Museum Association

Children’s text

White light can pass through a glass prism and be split in to all the colours of the rainbow. This shows that white light is made of coloured light. A rainbow is the result of the splitting of white light when it passes through water droplets in the air. The water droplets act like a prism to the white light.

What does light mean to us? Is it important to us because it supports life, or enables the world to be seen or perhaps because it gives us colour?

https://www.britannica.com/technology/prism-optics

An artist whose work is about light and colour is Bang Hai Ja. She was born in Korea but lives in France. She uses Korean paper which is hand made from leaves and plants. This paper can be shaped and rumpled. Bang Hai Ja also uses an unwoven fabric known as geotextile. She likes this materials because it is transparent or partially see-through. She places her fabric on the floor where she will paint both sides of it, allowing the paint to bleed through the material and allowing the colours to mix.

This project is about experimenting with various papers and cloths that you can find. You can use markers, water colour paint, gouache or acrylic paint to put on the cloth or paper.

Think about the following:

Can the paper or cloth be rumpled or folded. How does that impact its acceptance of your medium (paint, markers)?

How does your medium flow through the material. If you are using water based paint, can you thin the paint with water and what happens when you apply it?

Can you apply the medium from both sides?

Which colour combinations look good together and how can your colours mix effectively?

Can you add a different medium?

 

Bonus: How to Draw Flowers: A Step by Step Guide

Bonus: How to Draw Animals: A Step by Step Guide

Bonus: How to Draw Mythical Creatures: A Step by Step Guide

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