Monthly Archives: June 2013



Make a political statement – choose a word that affects you passionately and make a collage using newspaper and magazine clippings. Superimpose a symbol of your word on top and glaze over the entire collage using a related color.

Do the same landscape at different times of day and/or in different seasons. You can even try using different media to see which works best.

Use Adobe Photoshop to change colors on an existing photo.  Try for a mood with the colors that result.  When satisfied, print off the photo and paint an abstracted picture using the changed colors. Remember to match values.



Pie Apples

Put together an arrangement of still life items that relate to each other, such as the ingredients for an apple pie, or a few books with reading glasses and a lamp.

Make a list of things you fear (spiders, ghosts, snakes) and think of the strongest images to convey this fear.  Manipulate representational images to make them symbolic.

Incorporate designs from a different culture – American Indian, Islamic, Japanese as a border for an abstracted painting using  typical colors from the selected culture.


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Look for a mundane subject, such as boards laid across a table, sponges, or bull dog clips.   Zoom in on the objects for an interesting composition and paint in arbitrary colors, using a limited color scheme.

Draw or paint a composition depicting an emotion without a figure.  How can you do this through space, light and perspective?  For example, could the space be inside an elevator with one of the buttons lit up and the doors about to close?

Read Wallace Stevens‘ poem “Anecdote of the Jar.”   Stevens believed that art brought order into a chaotic world.   Insert a still life in the middle of a forest or wilderness.  Make it believable.



Take a closeup photo of a plant — allow it to fill up the visual field. Zoom in and notice surface details, observe highlights, textures, gradation of tones.  Be sure to include a center of interest.   Enlarge your drawing or painting to at least double the size, and change the color scheme if you wish.  This drawing/painting becomes an interesting abstraction.

Do your self-portrait as a collage from scraps of old drawings. Work the collage and drawing simultaneously. Fill up the entire page and leave no negative space.  This becomes an account of whom you are.

Draw a still life or reflective and transparent objects — use three different surface qualities. Use a viewfinder to isolate an area of the still life with a wide range of values and elements. Turn this area into a larger drawing either abstract or representational.



Pick your favorite poem and illustrate it in a medium you haven’t tried before.

Try a mouse-eye view with low perspective, low eye level and vanishing points. Also try a bird’s eye view for a different version.

Do contour drawings of small objects such as packing peanuts, erasers, paper clips. Use a viewfinder to locate the best composition, and enlarge it.