Art Themes: Choices in Art Learning and Making

Art Themes: Choices in Art Learning and Making

Art Themes: Choices in Art Learning and Making

Art Themes: Choices in Art Learning and Making


Flexible in approach and full of colorful examples, this textbook provides a basic introduction to what art is and can be in the lives of people who do not necessarily think of themselves as "artists." You will be taught about a variety of art themes, genres, materials, and processes that appeal to novice art makers. The lessons are organized by themes of general subject matter or media. Options are available for work in mixed media, crafts, photography and digital media, as well as in traditional drawing or painting media. After picking a theme of particular interest to you, look next at the four strands of lessons presented in that thematic unit. Moving from left to right, select one lesson from each consecutive strand and complete that lesson. Because each lesson builds upon previously presented knowledge and developed skill, as you progress through four lessons, one from each strand, you should grow in your understanding of art concepts, meanings, and processes, while also improving your art making skills. Completing this course will help you develop a new appreciation for the power and possibilities of art learning, by understanding better the art others create, as well as making it yourself.


Very young children typically are free and open about the process of art making. For these young artists, art making is an act of gestural play, an exploration of media, and an expression of immediate emotions and ideas. There is little concern for or attempt at realism; a child’s art making is expressive, idiosyncratic, individually and socially symbolic.

When adolescents or adults return to art making, much of the playfulness has been forgotten. Older would-be artists have been conditioned to experience visually realistic representations as art. Therefore, older students who return to art making after a hiatus of several years may want to learn basic rules of creating realistic art in order to develop or re-awaken confidence in their artistic abilities. the lessons in this section offer choices of subject matter, techniques, and traditional media for realistic drawing. Students are introduced to ways of observing real objects in space and are provided instructions on how to translate what they see into competent visual images or artifacts. Through the stimulation of ideas that spark emotional expression and invite experimentation with traditional approaches, the lessons in this section will encourage students to rediscover art making as a playful adventure.

Featured ARTIST: brian changrai cho

Brian Cho’s interest in art making, which evolved from
early childhood experiences of doodling on paper, was
honed by art classes in elementary school while living
in South Korea, then through high school art classes
in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eventually he received
a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) degree from the School
of Visual Arts in New York and both a Master in Fine
Arts (MFA) degree and a K–12 Visual Art teaching cer
tificate from Indiana University, Bloomington. Several
works by his students are included in this text.

In his work, Cho attempts to create a visual reflec
tion of a narrative situation or context. Once an idea or
story comes to mind, he begins to transfer the concep
tual imagery in his mind to canvas.

When I am painting, I ask myself two questions. First,
I ask, “Is my image effectively representing the idea
intended?” Since my paintings are visual narratives,
it’s important that viewers are able to determine what
the painting is about. I would like viewers to read the
dialogue of my paintings from studying the imagery
without relying on any verbal or textual explanations.
Second, I ask, “Is my painting aesthetically appealing?”
Creating a visually appealing artwork is just as impor
tant for me as creating a conceptually interesting work.

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