When I am beginning a painting I shuffle my collection of photographs, just looking at them over and over again. I take them on trips, especially long flights, from California to New York, from San Francisco to Beijing. A lot of the time I also bring a sketchbook. I just quickly sketch, thinking, what if I were to do this painting eight feet tall? These assignments ask you to look closely at the world around you and use drawing and photography to visualize new perspectives.
Drawing and photography
Paper, pencils, pens, erasers, smart phones, acrylic or tempera paint, ink, paintbrushes, everyday objects
Designed by practicing artists, the Open Studio classroom activities aim to connect high school teachers and students with key ideas and issues in contemporary art. See all of the Open Studio activities.
Take a five-minute walk outside of your classroom. Pick up an object that you find to be of interest, such as a twig, a rock, a leaf, or even a piece of trash. Draw the object.
Team up with a partner and draw each other’s profiles using only your shadows. Now change the distance of the light source and draw the shadows again.
Outline one of your hands on a piece of paper. Next, add as many details as possible to the hand.
Outline one of your feet on a piece of paper. Next, add as many details as possible to the foot.
Make a drawing of one of your shoes. Next, choose a partner and trade your shoe with one of his or her shoes. Make drawings of each other’s shoes and compare the final results.
Make three self-portraits using the following source material:
Make a drawing of a jacket or shirt on a hanger. Next, make a drawing of the same jacket or shirt being worn by someone.
Draw an object from an unconventional angle or perspective. Here are some examples: keys, cell phone, bicycle, computer, book.
Create an Action Painting. Think of different ways to move your body to create unique patterns and forms with paint. Next, create a group Action Painting with a few partners. Compare the different paintings.
“Outside & Inside.” Draw a piece of food or another object from the outside. Next, cut the object in half and draw a cross-section of the object.
“Zoom In / Zoom Out.” Using a smart phone, take several pictures of an object or space. Using the zoom feature on the phone, take some pictures zoomed all the way “in” and some zoomed all the way “out.” Use these features to render things in an alternative or abstract way.