Experiment with wet and dry papers. How do
you make a soft blurry edge? A firm crisp edge?
Try dropping a bit of dark paint into a wet area
Experiment with your brushes. Practice making lines that are extra thin, extra wide, straight,
curved, and zigzagged as well as dots, dashes, spatters, and other experimental strokes. After you
have filled a whole practice sheet, cut it up and use
the pieces to make a collage.
Visit a website such as www.watercolorpainting.
com or consult illustrated books on watercolor
technique for tutorials and demonstrations of basic
Write a story or poem about
first learned to ride a bike.
Plan a variety show. Sketch the performers,
then develop one of your ideas as a watercolor that
makes use of: ( 1) wet paper, ( 2) mottled textures, ( 3)
blotted and unpainted white paper.
of light colored paint. Practice removing color by
blotting with a facial tissue. Create a mottled texture by sprinkling kosher salt onto a field of dark
paint at full strength. When dry, brush the salt
away and see what kind of texture remains.
Demuth started this painting by sketching
very faint pencil lines that serve as guides for
challenge was to make us
feel as if we were teetering on this bicycle along
with the stuntman. The
strong diagonal line of
his body implies that his stability is hardly a sure
thing. Even the sprawling wavy line that suggests
rows of spectators seems to wobble. However, the
cyclist appears in control. His pedaling leg is like a
vertical post that keeps him steady. With his outstretched vertical arm and bent wrist, the cyclist
appears to brace himself in thin air to keep from
falling over. Even his necktie is a vertical accent
that reinforces his upright position.
and a few fingertips gripping the handlebar. How
long did it take him to master this stunt? There
were probably many practice sessions and numerous falls. But now he performs his routine day
after day in city after city as he travels from one
vaudeville stage to
Would it be smart or safe to try this stunt yourself?
produced a grainy quality while salt sprinkled over
wet paint absorbed the water, leaving a mottled
texture. Blotting paper removed unwanted color,
creating subtle variations in the surface.
Describe the cyclist’s pose. How is he leaning?
What is the position of each leg and foot? How is
he holding his wrist? Is this pose realistic or exaggerated?
Instead of imitating the dark somber
style taught by his instructors, he
was drawn to the bright, highly
unconventional paintings that were
causing a tremendous fuss in Europe.
darker bolder lines later on. Instead of using many
small, careful brushstrokes, the artist laid down
his watercolors freely on wet paper so that the
colors blended into each other. Soft areas of yel-
low, gold, and orange create the dazzling spotlight,
giving way to a range of
blue shadows cast by the
cyclist’s body. The art-
ist probably created the
texture on the cyclist’s
trousers, necktie, and
hair with chalk, salt, and
blotting paper. Chalk
Do research on vaudeville and view film clips of
vaudeville shows. Who were the stars? What were
their acts? Where did they perform? Why were they
popular? How did they advertize? How were they
scheduled? Compare touring vaudeville companies
to touring bands today.
Explain and demonstrate
learning a new sport.
Linda Andre is manager of teacher programs and
resources and holds the Sylvia Friedberg Nachlas
Endowed Chair for Museum Education at the Baltimore
Museum of Art. Landre@artbma.org
What twentieth-century inventions caused
vaudeville’s popularity to decline after the 1920s?
What kinds of lighthearted entertainment have
replaced vaudeville today?
Explore Demuth’s watercolor technique. Find
traces of pencil underdrawing, blurry edges from
painting on wet paper, firm edges from painting
on dry paper, mottled texture, white paper left
unpainted, and areas that have been blotted to