Masterpiece Distortions with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan
Up for a challenge? In this version of Van Gogh's chair, everything in its complementary color. The chair in the original painting is orange. Therefore, in this version it blue.
Learner Outcomes:
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Understand relationship between light and color
Understand shadows are influenced by direct light service
Understand that colors can be opaque and transparent
Appreciate line is used to represent the world around us
Appreciate that texture is used to enhance realism
Appreciate that texture is used to enhance aesthetics
Reinforce concept of distortion in art (enlargements)
25 pencils
25 rulers
25 erasers
25 sheets of 12" x 18" drawing paper
assorted water colors, markers, colored pencils, or colored paper (and glue or brushes if needed)
Opaque, Transparent, Line, Texture, Distortion

Students begin by selecting a masterpiece to be replicated. I stress that not all great artists are from Europe and encourage work from Africa, Australia, Latin America, and North America. They can find samples in the library, at home, or over the Internet. A photocopy or printout is required.

I have a Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain handout with an apple and worm. There is a grid over the drawing. I suggest that older students also make an "X" in each box. This creates four triangles in each box. Now, in the larger grid, create more triangles. Students are going to replicate the cartoon one triangle at a time. It is truly easier if they do it with the drawing upside down. It helps them to focus on the triangles instead of the larger picture.

After a bit of practice with the grid and the cartoon, students will create a grid over their masterpiece printout. It works best if the narrow side of the masterpiece is separated into fourths and then the longer side is divided into units of equal length to the shorter side.

Helpful hint: Be sure to check students on this. Some students may divide the short side into fourths and the long side into fourths. This may create rectangles. You want a grid of squares on the printout.

Next, on the drawing paper, students created a distorted grid with the same proportions found on the masterpiece. It may be stretched, slanted, or twisted according to personal taste. However, if the masterpiece is four boxes by six boxes, the twisted version must also be four by six. Then, the process of replicating the masterpiece, triangle by triangle, takes place.

Color and technique is up to the students on this project. I recommend colored pencils but they may also use watercolor or markers. Some kind of matching border could be made.

Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.