art masterpiece: wyeth

Art Masterpiece is an art appreciation program offered to elementary children by parent volunteer guides. The goal is to help students look, think and talk about great masterpieces of art. I'm a volunteer guide and I am sharing my art discussions with you in this weekly post. Hope you enjoy it! 

Shed Lantern by Andrew Wyeth

About the Artist: Andrew Wyeth was born in Pennsylvania in 1917. Andrew was the youngest of 5 kids He was home tutored and learned art from his father. His father was a famous artist. Andrew’s father took his kids on walks and picnics in the woods to notice birds, nests, leaves and mushrooms. He took drives at night, turned off the lights and exclaimed "look at it!" to help them use their imaginations. He reads books out loud to his children and used all different voices. Andrew said "It was the most imaginative rich childhood you could ever want. That's why I have so much inside of me that I want to paint."

Andrew Wyeth is one of the great American painters. He paints what he knows best, the people and countryside of Pennsylvania and Maine where he spent his summers. His son is also a famous painter.

Andrew painted with egg tempera paint (which uses egg yolks as a medium). His father didn't think he would be able to sell them. Today his paintings sell for more then 1 million dollars. Although famed for his tempera technique, which he was fond of, but which took up to six months to dry, Andrew discovered dry brush painting, a method that enabled him to work much faster.

Not far from the Wyeth family home in Pennsylvania, stood a shed. One day in 1954, he entered the shed, and upon noticing a hanging red lantern, decided to paint the object in dry brush watercolor on paper; hence, Shed Lantern was born.

Below are the questions we discussed.

A. Subject
  • What do you see?
  • Is the lantern lit?
  • Where is this?
  • What kind of shed do you think it is?
  • Where would a person be?
  • Is this day or night?
B. Form
  • Do you remember what colors are warm colors and what colors are cool colors?
    • Warm = Red, Orange, Yellow Brown
    • Cool = Blue, Green, Purple, Black
  • What colors did he use?
  • Vertical or Horizontal lines?
  • Do you see a shadow?
  • Look at his brushstrokes. How do you think he created texture with his lines? Scratched lines into wet paint with back if brush.
  • Do you think he painted fast or slow? Why do you think that?
C. Content
  • Is anything moving?
  • Is it windy or still?

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