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17 Channeling The Masters

Dog Napping On a Patterned Rug  (top) is based on the style of Joan Miro. Miro saw shapes in blank spaces. His style changed throughout his lifetime. During the period when he painted the two pieces below, he flattened shapes and broke them down to a simple minimum. He sparingly used bright, flat colors, sometimes with areas of subtle background color. Often people describe his work as looking that of a child's because they are so whimsical.

miro 1.jpg

Materials you will need: Paper, any combination of markers, crayons, craypas, pastels, colored pencils, or collage materials, one or more photos to look at of paintings done by a great master.


Choose an artist whose distinctive style you like. Some examples of artists with really distinctive styles are Van Gogh’s swirly paint strokes, Mondrian’s geometrics and primary colors, or Seurat’s points of individual colors that blend when seen from a distance. What is specific to your chosen artist’s style? What kind of lines and forms does s/he employ? Is the work realistic or abstract, or somewhere in between? Are the colors the soft tones of Impressionism, or the vibrant hues of Expressionism? Are there flat areas of color or shading to create dimension? Does s/he outline forms with black or colored lines, or not at all?


Once you’ve observed these elements in the artist’s work, start a drawing, painting, collage or mixed media piece of your own. Employ some of what you’ve learned about your artist’s style, but do not copy his or her work. Make it fully your own, but in the stylistic manner of the artist you chose. It’s a great way to understand a great artist, and to practice being one yourself!

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