This lesson asked students to reduce 'realistic' representations to simple basic shapes in 6 steps. They were given an example (similar to below). This is an exercise taken, somewhat, from both Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian, who demonstrated the process.
I expected the results to be triangles, squares, ovals, lines. I hadn't considered color. As they finished their sketches, students wanted to paint and made color choices. The variety of results by students proved to be the most powerful lesson about abstraction and understanding of the artistic process and the history of Art.
During the power point discussion showing well known abstractions, such as Mondrian's Tree (above), one student spoke up saying, Abstraction is not Art. You can see where the discussion can go from this response.
Below are 2 of the original 4 paintings they chose from.
|Edouard Manet, The Balcony, Oil on canvas. 1868.|
|Jacques Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784.|
|Grant Wood, American Gothic, Oil on board, 1930|
Simplify lines, flatten shapes, and pay attention to value and texture.