Lesson Two - Priscilla S.


I enjoyed one long full day of pulling out all my art books andear marking thosethat looked interesting.

In general, I found myself choosing art work which touched me at a deeper emotional level, although the one piece I chose because of its wit.  Based on the kind of art themes I focus on, I also tried to find art which would give me ideas for my own work.

And Itried to choose pieces which weredifferent from each other in order to get the practice of analyzing each for CONTRAST AND RELATIONSHIP.   

I was also surprised that many of the pieces I chose, used several of the elementsin the same piece.


   (On the way out of her visit to her psychiatrist, the patient drops her father’s disembodied head into a small circular well, and as a result is able to drop one layer of her veil.  The basket she carries holds “more psychological waste”, so other layers of veil still remain, covering her mouth and leaving her mute.)

Varo is one of my favorite artists...surrealist.....focuses on women freeing themselves from.....almost everything.....  Even though the subject matter is serious, I smile every time I look at this piece and “root” for her.


**COLOR schemeis interesting to determine as at first I thought complementary, but then I wondered about analogous (depending on how far around the color wheel one extends, yellow orange and yellow green).) 

** SHAPES (rectangles; arches; circles; curlicues; triangles)

** VALUE. 


***  FACE is repeated to build on theme.

**TRIANGULAR SHAPE is repeated in the hair; clothing; andfather’s head.  

** THEMATIC RELATIONSHIPSinclude sign on the psychiatrist’s door (Dr. freud, Jung, Adler);  facial imagery; several doors to go through; the deep well.

Thus,  several elements were used to create both CONTRAST and RELATIONSHIP.


(This piece brought up in me deep feelings of tragedy and shame.  Many recent comments by some one politician currently running for President have reminded me of a very sad blot on this country’s history when we interred well more than 100,000Japanese American citizens in 1942 for several years.  This piece was painted by a well known artist who with his family was interned at a camp in Utah.  This piece captures the brutal winters and misery of the camps).


** COLOR neutrals; greyed violets and jeweled greens. Subtle but contrast in value.   

** SHAPE Building size and people due to perspective.  Also rectangular buildings and smaller rectangular windows; the triangular mountain peaks.

** TEXTUREIs subtle but I can almost feel the cold snow and small bit of heat coming from the buildings.

***THEMATICALLY. Loneliness of few people about; the many buildings filled with misery;  stark isolationof. buildings with no where to escape

Many of the same elements used to build CONTRAST AND RELATIONSHIP. 

THE SCREAM, (The Scream of Nature), Munch

(The work shows a figure with an agonized expression against a landscape with a tumultuous orange sky.  Munch wrote a poem about his walking in the early evening and saw a setting sun which turned blood red with fires in the sky and he sensed a scream passing through nature.)


**COLOR Complementary, orange red and blue.

**SIZELarger screamer andtwo smaller men. 

**SHAPE Curving lines and shapes in water and sky contrasted withstraight lines and shapes infence and road. 

** TEXTUREStrong with flowing curves. 

** THEMATIC Contrast with distorted figure inforeground andnon-distortion intwo males walking away.

Again, elements making for CONTRAST also make for UNITY. 

UNTITLED, Basquiat 

(This piece appeals because of the artist, whose work I like.  Basquiat's art focuses on social commentary anddichotomies..... wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, etc. His paintings are often covered with text and codes.  Basquiatdoodled oftenwith a loose, spontaneous, andchildlike creative process.)


*** COLOR. complementary blue and orange

*** SIZE/SHAPES Circles and rectangles; arches

*** LINE Shapes and text.

*** THEMATIC On one hand, simplistic and childlike.  On other hand, I sense a depth in wondering about the blank facial form and whether the hard scribbles are covering over something the artist was saying“no” to.   I’m actually finding it a challenge to put into words why this is so appealing to me on an emotional level.

FEAR, Hisako HibiI 

(This piece again is about the aftermath of the tragedy of the WWII internment camps as just being released from the camps atwar’s end did not mean a return to normalcy.  These people lost every thing including careers.  This piece was painted by the wife of the artist who painted the internment camps above in #3.  Her husband died a few years after they were released; she had two small children; and worked in garment factories in New York the remainder of her life.)


*** COLOR complementary blue and orange

***SHAPE Triangular; swirls; circles and SIZE of shapes

*** TEXTURE Matte versus small bubbles of clouds

***THEMATIC Large triangular New York buildings overpowering a tiny mother and child with black swirling clouds.  And stars and sun can’t reach through to the family under the black clouds.

 Again, the ideas of RELATIONSHIP are the same elements used for CONTRAST. 



PROCESS:   I began by brushing some thickened greyed violet dye onto a piece of white cotton velvet starting at the bottom with the dark value and working toward the top lightening the dye as I went.  I next used black thickened dye and one of my silkscreens for the next layer.  I dont usually work in abstract, but as I looked at what I had I was intrigued to see what appeared to be the tops of buildings at the skyline with perhaps tree formsand a body of water????  I then played around with adding various shapes and placementof violet’s complement, yellow orange .  I was debating between where the 3 yellow shapes were to be placed, i.e., where they are ORon the left side as the right upper side was already fairly busy and the left side a place to rest your eye.  I decided to add the yellow to the right side and leave the resting place on the left.  The orange yellow images are hand stitched with a texturish silk thread.


COLOR :  Violet and Yellow-Orange

VALUE:  Shades of Violet

SHAPES AND SIZE;   Squares?;  Long thin vertical lines; Wider Horizontal Line with Triangular Forms Extending

TEXTURE: Yellow-orange hand stitch; cotton velvet background.


VALUE repetition:  3 different value layers of violet 

COLOR:  Bright dose of complement to pop it.

SHAPE:  Different sizes of vertical lines; different sizes of triangles extending from central line

STYLE:  Similarity in abstraction of images

Thus, Contrasting and Relationship elements similar.


PROCESS:  This piece was quickly developed (good luck sometimes).  I took a piece of black felt and abstractly painted on it intentionally trying to use primarily complementary colors of blue-green and red-orange.  Then I fused 4 pieces of a foil type of product.  And then using my hair dryer, burned the piece achieving the “holey” effect.


COLOR:  Complements:  Blue-green and Red-orange

SHAPE:  Rectangular foil pieces with irregular burn out pieces

SIZE:  Different size burn out pieces

TEXTURE:  YES.  Burned out paint.  Shiny Foil

I also see BALANCE with the darker right side balancing the brighter left side.


PROCESS: Again, another fairly quick composition.  I took a piece of gray felt and laid out several different threads and ribbons on it with the intention of a primarily Blue-Green and Red-Orange Color Scheme.  Then, Ineedle felted them onto the felt. At that point, it looked a little boring , so I added a yellow thread splash in the lower left corner.


COLOR:  yes

VALUE:  If I squint and dont pay attention to color, I do have light, medium and dark values.  And again, the dark values on the right seem to balance the bright yellow on the left.

TEXTURE:  yes, that’s what it’s about