Art Project

Fields of Color

Inspired by Helen Frankenthaler’s Interior Landscape

Helen Frankenthaler, Interior Landscape, 1964; collection SFMOMA, gift of the Women's Board; © Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Key Concepts:

  • Color and shape
  • Composition
  • Mood


  • White or cream piece of 9 x 12” construction paper
  • Four sheets of construction paper in analogous colors
  • Glue


  • Describe the colors in this work.
  • Describe the shapes that you see in this work.
  • How would you describe the mood of this work? What do you see that makes you say that?
  • Take a look at the title of this work. Does knowing the title change your understanding or
    appreciation of this work of art? If so, how?



  1. Select four pieces of paper in analogous colors. Analogous colors are a grouping of related
    colors that are near each other on the color wheel. The grouping of red, red-orange, orange,
    and yellow is an example of analogous color grouping.
  2. Take one of your pieces of construction paper and, holding it vertically, tear the bottom
    third of the paper off, tearing from left to right. Place this piece on top of your white paper
    so that the untorn edges align.
  3. Take the next piece of colored construction paper and tear all four edges to make a square
    that is approximately 7 x 7”. Place this piece somewhat centered on your page.
  4. Take your third piece of colored construction paper and tear all four edges to make a
    rectangle that is approximately 8 x 5”. Layer this piece on top of the others.
  5. Tear your last piece of colored construction paper to make a strip that is 1.5 x 8” long.
    Position this piece horizontally across your composition so that it overlaps with all three of
    the other analogous colors.
  6. Make adjustments to your composition by moving the colored piece of paper until you are
    satisfied with your arrangement.
  7. Secure all pieces of paper in place with glue.

Variation: Use paint in analogous colors to create your composition. Pour the paint on the
paper and let it soak in. Don’t worry if the colors bleed into one another and blend!

Relevant Information

When Helen Frankenthaler was a young child, her family spent time in the countryside.
Frankenthaler loved nature. After college, Frankenthaler met the artist Jackson Pollock,
who created paintings by dripping and pouring paint directly onto the canvas. She also
started experimenting with making paintings in new ways, and developed a technique of
staining her canvases with diluted color so that the pigments soaked into the fabric of the
canvas. Though her works are nonspecific, the colors and shapes bring to mind different
moods and associations, often tied to nature.


  • What colors did you choose for your artwork? Why did you choose the colors you did?
  • Describe the mood of your artwork. Is it happy, calm, quiet, excited, or something else?
    How do the colors and shapes convey the mood of your work?
  • If you gave your work a title, what did you call it? Why did you choose that title?

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