... with Sharpened Perception

By Herberholz, Barbara | Arts & Activities, October 2009 | Go to article overview

... with Sharpened Perception


Herberholz, Barbara, Arts & Activities


"Learn to see," advised 19th-century physician William Osler who, without the aid of advanced medical technology such as MRI, could diagnose a disease simply by seeing subtle signs.

Unlike humans and animals, the objects in a still life don't move, making it easier to observe, draw and paint them. So, let's give our students the advantage of being able to take a careful look at subject matter for their artworks. Providing your students experiences in seeing is an important skill and the foundation of discovery in many endeavors.

A little historical background concerning still life, as well as an explanation of the term, is helpful. A few still-life reproductions by artists such as Matisse, van Huysum, Cezanne, Harnett, Braque and Picasso will provide a variety of examples, since still life has been a popular subject for artists for many years.

The term "still life" appeared in about 1650 in Holland, where artists used vivid accuracy and presented symbolic values in their works, reminding the viewer to remember death and the passage of time, but to also celebrate life. Dutch citizens at this time delighted in hanging beautiful still-life paintings in their homes, paintings that reflected their own possessions.

Later, in the 19th century, a group of artists used still life to "trick the eye" (trompe l'oeil) and make the viewer believe the objects in the composition were actually there--and not on the two-dimensional surface of the painting. In the 19th century, Paul Cezanne used still life in his search for ways to show solid forms. Then, the Cubists took still life apart and reconstructed it in the form of geometric shapes. When 20th-century artists used common, popular objects for their subject matter, Pop art was born.

So when you are ready to introduce still life to your class, you will need to gather a variety of "props." A resource box of items already collected will make it quick and easy to arrange several still-life setups, since every student needs to be sitting close to a frontal view of an arrangement.

WHAT TO COLLECT?

* Fruit and vegetables (real or artificial, whole or cut)

* Flowers, plants, leaves, cacti

* Containers: bowls, bottles, baskets, teapots, pitchers, bottles

* Tools: implements, utensils, hammers, pliers, wrenches

* Other items: toys, dolls, hats, shoes, musical instruments, large feathers, plastic butterflies, bones, shells, driftwood, mounted birds and animals.

A backdrop is important. It may be plain or patterned, and may extend from the wall behind the arrangement and cover the tabletop. A drawing board provides a good support for draping the backdrop.

It is advisable to select fairly simple objects for a still-life setup, choosing one object for the arrangement that is quite tall and two or three other smaller objects grouped near it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

... with Sharpened Perception
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.