SchoolArts Magazine

January 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Pull-out Resource Looking & Learning Observe What d ou see whe ou examine a work of art? D o you see an image created by the interac - tion of materi- als, color, techniques, a nd form? Or do you see something more? Does the image communicate an emotion, story, or message? Does your reaction to the artwork change the longer you examine it? Which fac - tors are the most essential t o understanding a work of art? Artists, critics, and art historians have debated these issues for many years. Some believe that an artist's technique and use of materials are the most important; others believe that an artist's intentions and concepts are the most important. Regardless of opinion, observation is a fundamental part of the artis - tic process. Whether a finished artwork is a landscape, a s tudy of the human form, or a commentary on people's About the Artists/Artworks Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai's interest in land- scapes started while he was in training at the studio of ukiyo-e artist, Katsukawa Shunsho. Impatient at having to produce courtesan and Kabuki actor prints, Hokusai began studying the great tradition of Japanese landscape paint- ing. He is credited with being responsible for the ultimate importance of landscape and bird-and-flower prints in ukiyo-e. H okusai is thought to have first learned drawing and painting from his father, who painted designs around mir- rors. Although he produced thousands of drawings and prints of landscapes in his younger years, he felt he had not produced his best work until he was seventy. During this period, he produced a lasting contribution to Japanese art with the introduction of his series of woodblock prints, including his most famous one, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Plate 16, a typical view of the revered mountain, is relieved with humor, as three men try to measure the cir- cumference of the large pine tree by joining hands. Josephine Halvorson (b. 1981) Josephine Halvorson grew up on Cape Cod in Massachu- setts, the daughter of two artists. Growing up, she felt the pull of painting in a part of the country that has been home to many artist colonies since the early 1900s. Halvorson's subjects are emblematic of post-industrial America: doors, window frames, foundations, and long- neglected interior and exterior surfaces. While these sub- jects reference regionalist content as seen in the work of Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, and Andrew Wyeth, Halvorson's subjects are by far more personal and intimate, as many of them are surfaces that she sees on a daily basis. Halvorson is interested in the idea of interaction with the surfaces she paints, which she thinks of as coun- tenances (faces). She paints the subjects often at arm's length, depicting every nuance in the colors and textures of the surface. Her works are at once monumental and inti- mate and express a lasting appreciation for subjects that may be overlooked by most artists. Katsushika Hokusai, Mishima Pass in Kai Province. Plate 16 from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, 1830 –1833. Color woodcut on paper, 10¼ x 15 1 /8" (26 x 38 cm). ©Davis Art Images. behavior and social interactions, it began with some form of observation. Looking closely and examining the world are key attributes of an artist. schoolartsonline.com 21

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