SchoolArts Magazine

February 2016

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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CONNECT Provide students with basic information about magical realism and Philip Curtis. Make resource materials avail- able for students to research world events that occurred during Curtis's lifetime. Which other artists were working at the same time? What art styles were popular? RESPOND Display Confrontation. Tell students that Curtis's work often shows characters that look as if they are in theatri- cal productions, and that they usually wear costumes from long ago. Encourage students to use the vocabulary of art (art elements) to describe and elaborate upon what they see. Can they describe the unnaturally straight horizon line, the sky, and the desert? Who are the main charac- ters? After describing the artwork, ask, "What is the most important part of the painting?" Prompt students to apply the principles of design to support responses about empha- sis. Why would Curtis emphasize this part of the painting? Extension: Ask students to create a dialogue between the two main characters. (One interpretation suggests that the two men represent the same per- son at different ages.) For advanced and older students, compare litera- ture written in the magical realism style to magical realism artworks. CREATE Remind students about the char- acteristics of magical realism and that Curtis typically created a stage-like setting with a "cur - tained" background and stage-like foreground. Tell students that they will be creating a mysterious land - scape. Provide a 9 x 12" (23 x 30 cm) sheet of white construction paper. Demonstrate how to draw a hori - zon line from one edge of the paper to the other. Paint one section to represent sky and the other to rep - resent land. Do not add detail. While the paintings are drying, ask students to consider the location RESOURCES www.phxart.org/collection/philipccurtis www.philipccurtis.org L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G and time period of their mysterious landscapes. Brainstorm nouns, action verbs, and prepositional phrases. When a sufficient list of words has been generated, ask students to choose two nouns, one action verb, and a prepositional phrase. For example, dogs playing guitars in a forest. Ask students to sketch their ideas. Offer construction paper and collage materials. Have students create the scene that their chosen words suggest. Older students might wish to fold paper at the horizon line to create a 3D scene. Ask how the mysterious landscapes show real objects in an improbable scene. PRESENT Explain that artists should consider why an artwork is displayed. Ask students to reflect upon the characteristics of quality artwork. How are these characteristics shown in their own works? Written by Pam Stephens, professor of art education at Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, and member of the SchoolArts edi- torial board. Pamela.Stephens@ nau.edu Characteristics of magical realism include highl etailed, realistic images and environments combined to create scenes that are not necessaril ogical to the waking mind. 26 FEBRUARY 2016 SchoolArts James Todd, Philip Curtis, 1985. Wood engraving, 11 7 /8 x 15 7 /8" (30 x 40 cm). Permanent collection of Philip C. Curtis. Image courtesy Northern Arizona University Art Museum.

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