Thursday, February 20, 2014

Studying Chuck Close Portraits - CLASS co-op art class, Session 1

For the first project of our spring semester in art class, we're working on self portraits in the style of Chuck Close. Chuck Close is a portrait painter whose style has changed over the course of his career.

Vocabulary for this week:
  • portrait
  • value
  • tint
  • shade
  • tone
  • hue
In order to start talking about color, we need to speak the same language. This week's vocabulary terms are related to color. This website is a great primer for getting to know the vocabulary: There are also printable color wheels, if you'd like to practice mixing colors at home. If you've got some paints at home, then this practice will help you in getting to know your paints!

I'd like it if you could read the first two pages of Painting Color Class: Tones or Values = What is Tone and Why is it Important to Painting, Perhaps Even More than Color? AND Practice Tone by Painting a Gray Scale or Value Scale. You will recognize this exercise from this week and perhaps start to understand why we are creating our value maps.

Here's a short video that gives an overview of Chuck Close's life and his painting technique:

In the first session of class for this project, we started to create value maps by mixing white with black, and then with blue.
The tonal value maps that we made in the first session of our Unit on Chuck Close.

 In our next session, we will continue to work on our value maps by mixing white with yellow and with red.

After we've created our value maps, we'll begin to work on our self-portraits. The value maps will help us in choosing the right values and colors that we want to fill our portraits with. Next week's homework will be editing a photograph of yourself to use as a guide in creating your portrait. We will be creating a grid on the photo and our canvases.

In this video from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chuck Close explains why he follows a grid when creating his portraits.

After watching these videos, go to Google and perform an image search for Chuck Close. If you need help on how to do this, email me or leave a comment in the blog post.

While looking at the images, take note of the things that the portraits have in common. Look at the subject matter, the styles, and the backgrounds.  Begin thinking about how you want your portrait to look. Next week, your homework will include taking a "selfie" to transform into a greyscale value map image.

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