Phillips-at-Home Summer Series #3: Nature as Beauty

Our third project of the Phillips-at-Home Summer Series features the artist Franz Marc and his work Deer in the Forest I. For this art activity, you are going to create an animal sculpture. What is a sculpture? A sculpture is a piece of artwork that can be viewed from any angle.

Franz Marc, Deer in Forest 1, 1913, Oil on canvas, Framed: 43 in x 44 1/2 in x 2 3/4 in, Gift from the estate of Katherine S. Dreier 1953, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Franz Marc, Deer in Forest I, 1913, Oil on canvas, Framed: 43 in x 44 1/2 in x 2 3/4 in, Gift from the estate of Katherine S. Dreier 1953, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Look closely: What do you notice in this painting? Franz Marc believed that colors could stir deep emotions. How do the colors make you feel? Is this a place you would like to visit? Why or why not?

About the Artist:

Franz Marc was born in Munich, Germany on February 8,1880. At the age of 20, he abandoned his studies in theology and philosophy to pursue a career in art at the Munich Academy (1900 to 1903). He travelled around Europe for several years until he settled in Sindelsdorf, Upper Bavaria (modern day Munich, Germany), in 1909. Two years later, Marc joined his friend and fellow artist Wassily Kandinsky as a member of the Neue Künstlervereinigung München, (New Artists’ Association, Munich). However, both artists resigned that same year and began planning the 1911 Blaue Reiter exhibition. During this planning period, Marc created his own personal color symbolism in which “Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color to be opposed and overcome by the other two.” How does knowing this information change your understanding of the painting? Marc’s promising career ended abruptly when he volunteered for military service at the beginning of World War 1. The Phillips Collection has one painting by Franz Marc.

Materials needed

Materials needed

WHAT YOU NEED:

SUGGESTED AGE:

  • Ages 4 and up

TIME FRAME:

  • 1-2 hours to make; 2 days for your Model Magic to harden

STEPS:

1. Choose an animal that you would like to make into a sculpture. It can be anything from the forest animals that Franz Marc paints, to your favorite creature, to an imaginary creature.

2. Take the Model Magic out of the wrapper and break off a third of it. This piece will become the head of your creature. Put this smaller piece aside for later.

Step 2

Step 2

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3. Begin molding the body of your creature with your hands; think about what your animal looks like. If you need help, refer to an image of your animal in a book or on the internet. Keep in mind: Does your animal have legs? Fins? A tail? Mold all of the features of your animal’s body.

Step 3

Step 3

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4. Set the body aside and begin to mold the head. Does your animal have eyes? Ears? A big nose or a little nose? Once you have molded the head to your liking, gently apply pressure and attach it to the body of your animal. Does your animal have a neck? Smooth out the edges while thinking about how long your animal’s neck is.

Step 4

Step 4

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5. You can either wait a day and a half or so for your Model Magic to harden in order to color it, or you can gently use your markers immediately. What color would you like your animal to be? Use those colored markers and begin applying it to your animal. As you are coloring your sculpture, think about details your animal might have, such as fur or stripes. Remember to color your entire animal since you can see a sculpture from all angles; you may have to allow the marker to dry for a couple of minutes before you pick up your animal.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 5

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6. Once you have colored your animal, set it aside. A great next step is creating your animal’s environment. Looking at Franz Marc’s approach, choose a piece of construction paper. You can begin creating organic shapes with your markers. What are organic shapes? They are shapes that look natural and maybe contain a variety of curvy and straight lines. Fill your paper with any environment you wish to have for your animal. If you have extra Model Magic, feel free to apply it to your environment on the paper and color it as well.

Step 6

Step 6

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Step 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. When you have finished your animal and its environment, place your animal in its new home!

Step 7

Step 7, The Final Piece

New Creature, New Home, Artwork: Julia Kron

New Creature, New Home, Artwork: Julia Kron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nice complement to this art project is Eric Carle’s The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse.

 

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

Julia Kron, K12 Education Intern

Spotlight on Intersections@5: Lee Boroson

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.

Boroson_Fixed Haze

Lee Boroson, Fixed Haze, 2014. 32” diameter, acrylic, acetate, polypropylene, aluminum, stainless steel.

Fixed Haze is a sculpture inspired by the formlessness of fog or mist. In studying this material and perceptual phenomenon I looked for a way of building a modular sculpture that could be both solid and ethereal simultaneously. As one moves around the work, the clear plastic materials manipulate light in a way that allows the sculpture to react to changing conditions and viewpoints.

Lee Boroson

A Sculptor’s Drawings: Jae Ko in 2-Dimensions

Jae Ko_three JKD works_Modern Vision

Jae Ko, Untitled (JKD#4), 2011; Untitled (JKD#10), 2014; Untitled (JKD#11), 2014. Promised gift of Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan, 2014. Image courtesy of Marsha Mateyka Gallery, Washington, DC

DC-based artist Jae Ko works in a studio eighty miles outside of the city in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. It is fitting that she works away from the hustle and bustle of the city; when she needs inspiration, she and her partner Jim Sanborn, also an artist, drive around exploring quiet backroads. They seek places of solitude, free of other people. Ko says she does not bring any sketchbooks or supplies with her, and does not take photographs. She simply sits outside and absorbs her surroundings, observing and feeling the sky, the air, and the atmosphere. These moments in nature inspire her work.

Jae Ko_three Black_Intersections at 5

Jae Ko, Black #22, 2014; Black #23, 2014; Black #24, 2014

Ko’s oeuvre consists mostly of abstract, organic forms made from simple, ephemeral materials. Natural forms she observes in nature return in her art. For example, looking over a cliff onto a winding river below may stick in her memory, and later become evident in the twisting form of a sculptural piece. Her giant sculptural work Force of Nature was featured in an Intersections show at the Phillips in 2011. She views her works as living, and therefore always changing. Ko intentionally works with materials that are subject to deterioration and transformation. She does not strive for perfection, and enjoys watching the effect of time on her art. Sometimes the random “accidents” that happen during her process are what inspire new ideas. Two groups of Ko’s works are now on view at the museum: Untitled (JKD #4), 2011; Untitled (JKD #10), 2014; Untitled (JKD #11), 2014 and Black #22; Black #23; and Black #24, 2014. These works give viewers the chance to see another side of the sculptor, working with flatter, 2-dimensional concepts.

Untitled (JKD #4), 2011; Untitled (JKD #10), 2014; and Untitled (JKD #11), 2014 are currently featured in the exhibition Modern Vision: American Sculptors’ Drawings from the Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan Collection. Lined up horizontally, these three works are composed of calligraphic ink and glue. Ko started these particular drawings in 1998, but only worked on them periodically, unhappy with the result until recently. She started with ink drawings in a spiral shape, and began to apply layers of ink mixed with glue. The build up of the glue-ink mixture added an element of fluidity to the work; as temperature fluctuates, the glue starts to melt or slightly change over time.

Similar in their circular and spiral shapes, Black #22; Black #23; and Black #24, 2014 are now on view as part of Intersections @ 5: Contemporary Art Projects at the Phillips. She had a sketch for this work in her sketchbook for over 20 years before making these drawings. Ko doesn’t think that drawings necessarily need to be pencil to be classified as such, and she considers this work one of her drawings. Made from vinyl cord that Ko ordered online, each one of these series took the artist about a week of intense work to complete. She foregoes the traditional artist supply stores, looking instead for materials that come pre-rolled. The vinyl cord was a local craft store find. Vinyl is very difficult to work with, since it is impossible to make the cord lay flat, but Ko did not want the circular and spiral forms of the work to be perfect anyway. The plastic vinyl is flexible, fluctuating with temperature, and therefore constantly changing with time, like her other pieces.

All of Ko’s work is related. Her drawings maintain the same changing, organic forms that define her sculpture. I’ll be interested to see what becomes of these works in 20 years, when time has taken more of a toll. But for now, I’ll just have to enjoy the drawings on view.

Emily Conforto, Marketing & Communications Intern