Category Archives: Honors Art

Geometric Deconstruction: an approach to composition

I introduced our current investigation to you at the end of last week with a short PowerPoint presentation and a couple of exercises. As usual I opened with a few prompt questions: What might be implied by “geometric deconstruction”?  How might composition be influenced and/or enhanced by geometric deconstruction? How might origami and Cubism be used as compositional tools? What is meant by the term “Old Masters”?

Geometric deconstruction introWe talked about the advent of Cubism along with the notions of interrelated facets and planes. I compared cubistic imagery to origami and I introduced you to the artist Ken Kewley. We analyzed his approach to constructing compositions when he is working from cardboard installations, models and landscapes as with the middle image above.

We then explored this approach after viewing and compositionally deconstructing 3 paintings: Watson and the Shark (John Singleton Copley), An American Favorite (Ralph Goings) and Bacchus and Ariadne (Titian). You did a series of timed drawings that were very successful. We observed the difference between contour line drawings and Ken Kewley’s sketches. We observed that contour line drawings are typically outlined edges with connected shapes whereas Kewley’s drawings were not made of continuous lines and there were many overlapping “corners” that accented facets and planes.

quick demo sketches

quick demo sketches

Some key terms/ideas/people we addressed: Cubism, Photorealism, Old Masters, Dutch still life painting, the Guerrilla Girls, Linda Nochlin and her essay, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

Your assignment:

  • Select 3 paintings from the internet or a book (Heaven forbid) by “Old Masters” to deconstruct geometrically through drawing. You are to select a landscape, still life and a portrait. You are to stress the use of facets or planes as the original compositions are reconstructed.
  • Incorporate color after creating all 3 drawings.
  • Photograph work, edit and post to the Art Work page of your WordPress sites.

Note: I am not requiring you to post a typed response to the prompt questions or to post a typed reflection for this investigation.

My Pet Personified

Personification and hybridization have been popular themes throughout the history of storytelling. Minotaurs, centaurs, satyrs, mermaids, chimeras, sirens, sphinxes, Pegasuses etc. have contributed to many tales, epic and otherwise. Pets, on the other hand, have probably accompanied humans since the beginning of time. I have often imagined human qualities for pets I have lived with throughout my life. A partial list of hybrid creatures in mythology can be found here.

In literature we have the word portmanteau, which in addition to being a traveling case for clothes and belongings is a device for blending two concepts such as breakfast and lunch (brunch) or education and entertainment (edutainment). More examples of portmanteau in art and entertainment may be found at Literary Devices: Definition and Examples of Literary Terms.

Prompt: Please post a response at the top of the WRITING page of your WordPress site addressing the following question: What human characteristics and/or powers would you imagine your pet having and what worldly or other worldly environment would they inhabit? What is it about your pet that influences your response? Due: Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Artifact: Create a creature that is a hybrid of your pet and a human being. Place your creature in its preferred habitat. This should be no smaller than 18” x 24” and should include color. Strive for a dynamic composition and AVOID PLOPPING YOUR CREATURE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SPACE AT ALL COSTS!

Honors Art Due Date Update

Due to the 2 snow days and musical your due dates have been changed to Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Youth Art Month

Follow Wissahickon HS Art dept. daily posts for March. Celebrate YOUTH ART MONTH at

Chill, Zen, Funk & Twang

I have had the honor & pleasure of curating a show on a web-based gallery called Curating Contemporary. I have 30 artists from the United States and Europe that were kind enough to participate. The web master, artist Brian Edmonds, told me on the “opening” day, within hours, the exhibit had well over 300 visitors from 30 some states and 20 countries. I was very surprised and pleased. I want to share this with students because you all now have WordPress sites with your work that can be viewed by people from all over the world. This provides an insightful perspective on the value of your efforts. Note: you might have to view this from outside school because, as with many sites I try to share with you, it could be blocked by the Barracuda filter.