Reflected Landscape

Inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Lake George, 1922

Georgia O'Keeffe, Lake George [formerly Reflection Seascape], 1922; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Charlotte Mack; photo: Ben Blackwell

Key Concepts

  • Color
  • Symmetry
  • Mood

Materials

  • 9” x 12” sheets of paper in white, blue, and purple
  • 1/4” strips of light blue and lavender paper
  • 1” strips of dark blue paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Introduction

  • Look at this painting for a moment. What colors do you see here? Are they warm or cool colors? [In general, shades of red, yellow, and orange are considered warm colors. They have the longest wavelengths on the color spectrum and advance toward your eyes. Cool colors, including green, blue and violet, have shorter wavelengths and recede.]
  • This painting is titled Lake George. How does knowing the title affect how you see and understand this painting? If this is a picture of a place, what are we looking at?
  • This work is symmetrical. That means the work is divided in half and looks pretty much the same on either half.
  • If you were to stand in this landscape, what would you hear? How would it feel? What would you smell? What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What is the mood of this work? How do the colors convey that mood?

Instructions

  1. You are going to be making your own symmetrical landscape using cool colors. Position your 9” x 12” piece of white construction paper horizontally.
  2. Select a cool color (like blue or purple) of9” x 12” paper and fold it in half hot-dog style, so it measures 4.5” x 12”.
  3. Hold your paper on the fold, and cut from one edge to the other to make your mountain and its reflection.
  4. Glue your mountain and reflection in the center of the white paper so the shapes mirror each other.
  5. Glue a thin strip of light blue paper (12” long) to the top edge of the page, and a thin strip of lavender paper (12” long) to the bottom, or use markers, colored pencils, or crayons to make these strips along the top and bottom edges.
  6. Cut a dark blue strip of 1”x 12” paper into two pieces down the center on the long edge. It doesn’t have to be perfectly straight! Glue these strips (straight edges facing each other) along the horizon line of your landscape, between the base of your mountains and the reflection.

Relevant Information

Georgia O’Keeffe’s subjects often came from her immediate environment. O’Keeffe spent summers at Lake George in upstate New York, where she painted the landscape. O’Keeffe once said: “I found that I could say things with colors that I couldn’t say in any other way—things that I had no words for.”

Discussion

  • How would your work feel different if you used other colors?
  • How is this landscape similar or different to other landscapes you’ve seen before?
  • What mood or emotion does your work convey? How do the colors convey that mood/emotion?

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