Phillips-at-Home Summer Series #2: Sense of Space

Our second project of the Phillips-at-Home Summer Series features the artist Juan Gris and his work Abstraction. For this art activity, you are going to create an abstract monoprint of a room focusing on the objects that make up that room. What is a monoprint? It is a single print made of an image from a printing plate.

Juan Gris, Abstraction, 1915, Oil and oil with sand on cardboard 11 3/8 x 7 3/4 in. Acquired 1930. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Juan Gris, Abstraction, 1915, Oil and oil with sand on cardboard 11 3/8 x 7 3/4 in. Acquired 1930. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Look closely: What do you see when you look at this painting? How do the colors make you feel? What do you like about the composition of this painting?

About the Artist: Juan Gris was born Jose Victoriano Gonzalez on March 23, 1887, in Madrid, Spain. He began college in 1902 at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas to be an engineer but he left the school in 1904 to study painting with artist Jose Maria Carbonero. He started painting in the Art Nouveau style and then moved to Paris because he wanted to meet Pablo Picasso. In 1911, he created his first cubist paintings, which (as you can see above) have a very distinctive grid composition style. The Phillips Collection has two paintings by Gris in its permanent collection.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Here are the items I chose from our art workshop

Here are the items I chose from our art workshop

 

  • Items that represent any room of your choosing

    Supplies needed

    All supplies needed

  • 2 (8.5” x 11”) sheets copy paper
  • 1 (8.5” x 11”) sheet cardstock, or thick paper
  • 1 Styrofoam (4” x 6”) plate
  • Washable markers (permanent markers are not recommended for this project)
  • Tape
  • Scissors

SUGGESTED AGE:

  • Ages 7 and up

TIME FRAME:

  • 3-4 hours
Step 2 example

Step 2 example

 

STEPS:

1. Choose a room in your house or anywhere that gives you a sense of space. Collect objects in that room that symbolize the space for you.

2. Fold your sheet of 8.5” x 11” copy paper in half and then in half again so you have 4 rectangles on each side.

  • Tip: Draw along the folds so you can clearly see the boxes.

 

 

 

 

3. Sketch one object from your space in each rectangle of your sheet as a symbol. What is a symbol? A symbol is something that represents something else. It becomes simplified.

Step 3 example

Step 3 example

Step 3 example

Step 3 example

Step 3 example

Step 3 example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fold another piece of copy paper into quarters. Draw one of your symbols in a rectangle, then move your paper around and draw another symbol on top of it. Rotate your paper while drawing your symbols until you can’t quite tell what they are. By doing this, you are creating an abstraction. What is an abstraction? Abstract is something that is real, but it does not quite look like it. Repeat this same process in the 4 rectangles on your paper, creating 4 different compositions.

Step 4 example

Step 4 example

Step 4 example

Step 4 example

Step 4 example

Step 4 example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Choose your favorite composition. Get your styrofoam plate and a pencil.  Apply medium pressure as your draw your symbols from your favorite composition onto the styrofoam plate.

Step 5 example

Step 5 example

Step 5 example

Step 5 example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Fold the piece of Cardstock in half (hamburger-style), make a tape bubble (loop your tape to create a circle) to place on the back of your styrofoam plate and center it on one side of the inside of your fold (resembling a card).

Step 6 example

Step 6 example

Step 6 example

Step 6 example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Time to get out your markers! Choose a shape to color in, put down the marker and quickly close the card. Gently rub the area where you applied the marker on the opposite side. Open the card to see how it looks. Depending on the color, you might have to apply marker onto your shape several times. As long as you begin to rub your paper immediately, you should not have to worry about the saturation.

Step 7 example

Step 7 example

Step 7 example

Step 7 example

Step 7 example

Step 7 example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Continue applying colors to the different shapes that you created in your abstract composition.

Step 8 example

Step 8 example

Step 8 example

Step 8 example

Step 8 example

Step 8 example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Once you have filled your styrofoam plate and transferred the colors, cut the cardstock along the fold. Now it’s time to label your monoprint. On the lower left side give your print a title; it could be something about the room or maybe something that you would like the viewer to focus on in your print. In the center below your print, write “1/1″ because you only have one print. On the right side, sign your name because you are the artist!

Step 9 example

Step 9 example

My Art Room Monoprint, Print: Julia Kron

My Art Room Monoprint, Print: Julia Kron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. You have successfully completed your first print! Feel free to get a damp paper towel and wipe off the colors if you would like to create another monoprint on a new piece of cardstock paper.

Tune in regularly for another great art activity inspired by The Phillips Collection!

Julia Kron, K12 Education Intern

Deconstructing Lawrence’s Struggle Series: Panel 24

This spring, former Phillips curator Beth Turner taught an undergraduate practicum at the University of Virginia focusing on Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle series. In this multi-part blog series, responses from Turner’s students in reference to individual works from the series will be posted each week.

Struggle_Panel 24

Jacob Lawrence, Struggle … From the History of the American People, no. 24: Of the Senate House, the President’s Palace, the barracks, the dockyard…nothing could be seen except heaps of smoking ruins…—A British Officer at Washington, 1814 (Burning of Washington DC August 24, 1814), 1956. Egg tempera on hardboard, 16 x 12 in. Private Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. © 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Of the Senate House, the President’s Palace, the barracks, the dockyard… nothing could be seen except heaps of smoking ruins– A British officer at Washington, 1814 (1956)

The War of 1812 moved to the capital when British troops arrived in Washington on August 24, 1814, without encountering much resistance. That evening, they began the systematic destruction of all public buildings, including the White House and the Capitol. It was said that the city was swallowed in flames that could be seen miles away.

Lawrence’s depiction of the Burning of Washington focuses on the violence and destruction with the canons firing against a dark, smoke-filled sky. A dash of red dripping from one of the cannons adds to the destructive nature of the scene. Off to the left corner of the panel is the corpse of a small bird, still bleeding. The only indication of what this panel is about comes from the title and the caption, which is a quote from a British soldier’s eyewitness account. This panel was completed in 1956, when the Montgomery bus boycott ended successfully. Prior to this successful conclusion, in February 1956, Martin Luther King’s house was bombed. An analogy can be made between the bombing of King’s house and the destruction of Washington in 1814. King was one of the central figures of the boycott; the bombing of his house with the intention of killing him was a certain attempt to cut off the source of inspirations and support of the African American communities to continue fighting for their rights.

Phuong Nguyen

Phillips-at-Home Summer Series #1: Community

With students out of school, some families may have more time to slow down, reconnect, and enjoy their long summer days. We hope to see you around the Phillips this summer (check out upcoming events), but you can always bring The Phillips Collection into your home through creative art-making activities for artists of all ages. Tune in to the blog over the next several weeks for the Phillips-at-Home Summer Series to learn more about artists in our collection and discover new ways to make their artworks come to life.

Our first project of the series features the artist Heinrich Campendonk. Campendonk’s painting Village Street currently hangs in the Phillips’s family’s former dining room.  For this art activity, you will create a collage-style painting inspired by your environment and your community—just like Heinrich Campendonk.

Village Street, Oil on canvas

Heinrich Campendonk, Village Street, 1919, Oil on canvas, 19 3/4 x 26 3/4 in. Gift from the estate of Katherine S. Dreier, 1953. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Look closely: What do you see in this painting? What colors do you see and how do they make you feel? Do you think this painting looks realistic? Why or why not?  How does Campendonk create a collage-like effect in this painting?

About the artist: Heinrich Campendonk was born in Krefeld, Germany on November 3, 1889. While he was working on this painting (1916-1922), Campendonk was living in Seeshaupt, Bavaria. (Bavaria is a state in southeastern Germany bordering Liechtenstein, Austria and the Czech Republic.)

Campendonk used many Bavarian elements in this painting, such as a church, spotted cows, lean-to sheds, spruce trees and wooden fences. All of these elements represent Campendonk’s community to the viewer.  He used luminous colors such as red, blue, brown—can you see how these colors appear to rise out from the dark background? In keeping with Campendonk’s technique, our first project encourages you to get outside, explore your neighborhood, and create a picture that artistically shows your observations.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Materials needed

Materials needed

  • Plain white paper
  • Graphite pencils
  • 12” x 20” paper for final project (larger than 8.5 x 11’’ encouraged. Canvas is optional)
  • Red, yellow, blue (Primary colors) and black & white tempera paint (has a faster dry time)
  • Paper plate palette for paint
  • A couple of paint brushes (markers optional)
  • Scissors 

SUGGESTED AGE:

  • Ages 10 and up

*See optional project modification for younger age groups*

TIME FRAME: 

  • Full-day activity (6-8 hours)

 

STEPS:

1. Go on a walk in your neighborhood. Bring a sketchpad to record your observations. What makes your neighborhood special? What are some of its identifying characteristics?

A look into my adventures around the Phillips Collection and Dupont Circle

Exploring around the Phillips Collection and Dupont Circle, Photo: Julia Kron

2. Do at least one sketch of each of the following:

  • Your house
  • Your street
  • One building in your area
  • An animal or plant
  • A detail that you consider important to your neighborhood

Once you are happy with your observations, return back to an art-making space to begin the final project.

 

3. Look through your sketches and select at least 5 observations for your final painting. Cut them out.

Step 3 Example, Drawing: Hayley Prihoda

Step 3 Example, Drawing: Hayley Prihoda

 

 

4. Arrange the cut-outs on your larger piece of paper, move them around like a puzzle, thinking about a background, middleground and foreground in your composition. Campendonk’s composition is arranged like a collage; feel free to overlap your sketches, use geometric shapes and lines, and play around with the scale and arrangement of your objects.

Step 4 Example, Drawing: Hayley Prihoda

Step 4 Example, Drawing: Hayley Prihoda

 

 

 

 

 

5. If you would like to alter the scale of your sketches, you may choose to re-draw them on your larger paper. Otherwise, go ahead and glue down your sketches onto the paper. Heinrich Campendonk frequently used geometric shapes and symbols to represent his surroundings and you can do the same!

6. When you are ready to begin painting, select a few colors that encapsulate your experience in your neighborhood. As a member of the Blaue Reiter group, Heinrich Campendonk was highly impacted by color and used color to represent his emotions and sensations, rather than the reality of his surroundings. Because of this, his paintings often have a dream-like appearance.

7. Start painting your background layer first and work your way to the foreground.  Make sure to take your time painting, allowing each layer to dry to maintain your colors.

8. You have created a beautiful painting!  Please leave a comment or share a picture of your creation with the Phillips on Twitter (@PhillipsMuseum).

Final Example #1

Final Example #1 for 10 and up audience, done with tempera paint, Painting: Hayley Prihoda

Final Example #2

Final Example #2 for 10 and up audience, done with tempera paint, Painting: Julia Kron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*For younger audiences, focus on shapes, colors, and symbols during your walk. Sketch five different objects around the community (your house, a building, a plant or animal, your street, and other details). Use markers to color the sketches and then cut them out. Paste sketches onto larger paper using a glue stick. Add additional colors as desired. 

Final Example for younger audience, done with markers

Final Example for younger audience, done with markers, Drawing: Julia Kron

Tune in regularly for more great art activities inspired by The Phillips Collection!

Hayley Prihoda and Julia Kron, K12 Education Interns