To Start – Log on. Create Word document. Type title ‘ Expressive Essay – Portraiture’



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  • S3/4 Portrait Essay
  • To Start –
  • Log on.
  • Create Word document.
  • Type title - ‘ Expressive Essay – Portraiture’ and your full name.
  • Save Essay – File > Save As > name your essay ‘Expressive Essay’
  • How to use the slides
  • Slide 2 - follow each of the 10 steps to make sure you have written about every area you need to.
  • Slide 3 - Look at how to write a good thought you have in a clear sentence.
  • Slides 4,5,6 - Questions to ask yourself when looking at the portraits you have chosen.
  • There is a different section for each of the visual elements. For a successful essay you must write about each of the visual elements. Go through each question and if you have not answered the question in you essay already then answer it.
  • Slides 7,8,9 - Here are lots of describing words and Artist’s vocabulary. Put these words in your sentences.
  • There is a different word bank of each of the visual elements.
  • Look at the workbank for ‘Line’ when thinking about the questions for ‘Line’, for example.
  • Slide 10 - Here’s a writing frame to start you off when writing about the artwork.
  • How to write an Expressive Essay in 10 steps
  • 1.Write an introduction stating what you will write about. Include Artist’s names and specific titles of artwork.
  • 2. State which artist and artwork you will write about first.
  • 3. Describe first artwork in detail.
  • 4. Describe everything you see.
  • 5. Say what you see and what it tells the viewer specifically about the subject.
  • 6. Use the question sheets. Ask yourself each question and use work bank to add lots of describing words.
  • 7. Find another piece of artwork by the same artist. Compare and contrast both artworks.
  • 8. Repeat steps 2-7.
  • 9. Compare and contrast both artists’ styles, subject matter and how they use the visual elements.
  • 10. Say which artist or artwork you prefer and why.
  • Due Date – 23rd December 2010
  • The use of Visual Elements/
  • Write about each of the visual elements; Line, Form, Texture, Colour, Tone, Shape, Pattern.
  • Describe a specific part of the artwork.
  • Describe which visual element you will be writing about.
  • Use lots of describing words (see word banks).
  • Describe effect of visual element on –
  • Another visual element.
  • The person in the portrait and what it tells us about them.
  • The composition and how it makes an area stand out.
  • Is contrast created?
  • For example..
  • ‘The artist’s use of colour is important. The cold, pale blues, greys and silvers used create a sad mood. ‘
  • Visual Element
  • Describing Words
  • Effect of visual element
  • Expressive Essay/How to start
  • State the Artist and title of the portrait you will be writing about.
  • Describe the portrait in full; say what you see as if describing it to someone who can’t see it.
  • Describe the Fore-ground, Mid-ground and background.
  • Describe the subject. If you met the person in portrait describe what you think their personality would be like.
  • The artist will use the Visual elements and composition to make the most interesting picture they can.
  • For the best marks you must write about –
  • The person in the portrait and how the artist tells us about their personality.
  • How the visual elements have been used and how they affect each other, the composition and the subject.
  • Your opinion on the artwork and reasons why you like and don’t like specific parts of it.
  • Composition
  • This is where the artist has positioned everything in the artwork to –
  • Make you look at it; draw the viewer’s eye around the painting and to the focal point.
  • Create balance and harmony to the whole space of the artwork.
  • Imagine you had to draw out the artwork in the simplest shapes and lines.
  • To do..
  • Identify the basic shapes which make up the painting.
  • Look for things which are lined up like a cross, a triangle or circle.
  • Does the shape make any area stand out or bring different parts together or point to anything?
  • Imagine the painting is a see-saw. Has the artist balanced the painting with different things in different areas?
  • People have been shown to like things split into thirds. Has the artist split up the artwork into thirds? Say what you see in each third.
  • The use of Visual Elements/
  • Questions to ask yourself.
  • Use word bank to help you with each visual element
  • Line
  • Describe what lines can be seen in the portrait.
  • How have the lines been created?
  • Have a lot of lines been used?
  • Do the lines create basic shapes?
  • Do the lines point to anything or make something stand out?
  • Do the lines make basic shapes or make the composition stronger?
  • How does the use of line affect the composition of the portrait?
  • How does the use of line affect the balance of the portrait?
  • Form
  • Has the artist made things look 3-D or flat?
  • Describe how the artist has made something look 3-D or flat; refer to using tone (light and dark).
  • Are the forms realistic?
  • How are the forms different from real life?
  • Describe how the forms are positioned; refer to composition
  • How do the forms fill the space?
  • Texture
  • Write about how different things in the artwork feel.
  • Look for contrasts of texture and describe them.
  • Describe how you think the surface of the artwork would feel.
  • How has the paint or materials been applied to the surface?
  • The use of Visual Elements/
  • Questions to ask yourself.
  • Use word bank to help you with each visual element -
  • Colour
  • Use describing words to say what sort of colours you see.
  • Are there colours which go well together? Give reasons.
  • Are there contrasting colours?
  • Are there warm or cool colours?
  • How do the colours create a mood or feeling to the artwork?
  • How do the colours link to what is in the artwork and it’s theme.
  • Tone
  • What sort of light is in the artwork (natural, Man-Made, low light, bright)?
  • Where is the light coming from?
  • What is lit up and emphasised?
  • What is dark, in shadow and hidden?
  • How does the use of light and dark tell us about the subject and their personality?
  • Shape
  • Describe the sort of shapes you see.
  • Are there a lot of one sort of shape in different parts of the artwork?
  • Are there contrasting shapes?
  • How do the shapes fit together?
  • How does the position of the shapes affect the composition?
  • Critical/Art Studies/Word Bank Circle the works you use when responding to an artwork
  • Art Studies Vocabulary
  • The Artist Artwork Title Materials The Viewer The Subject The Subject Matter Still-Life
  • Portrait Self-Portrait Landscape Figure Composition Theme(s) Focal Point Technique Processes Influence Important Represents Transform Study Symbol Perspective Style Background Middle-ground Foreground Composition Influenced
  • Space Communicates Perspective Viewpoint Stand out Emphasize Story Personality Narrative Contrast Contrasting Gaze Parts Object Two Dimensional Three Dimensional Surrounding Interior Exterior Weather Atmosphere Engaged Experimented
  • add other words you use..
  • Image
  • Realistic Simplified Detailed Layered Hidden
  • Flat Monumental Small Intimate Life-size Powerful Stark
  • Decorative Real Unreal Dreamlike Classic Romantic Modern Abstract Contemporary Challenging Extreme Skilful Skill Artificial Scientific Accurate Tilted Slanted
  • add other words you use..
  • Composition
  • Focal Point Balanced Balance Horizontal Vertical
  • Order Ordered Depth Basic Harmony Unity Vanishing Point
  • Chaotic Strong Symmetrical Asymmetric Cluttered Busy Close Distant
  • Arrangement Diagonal Clear Upward Downward Noisy
  • Cross Line Shape ‘Drawing the viewer/the eye in’ Angle Direction
  • add other words you use..
  • Mood
  • Feeling Feelings Emotion Energy Force Serene Relaxed Personalities Relationship
  • Happy Sad Funny Scary Mysterious Friendly Moody
  • Chaotic Dramatic Quiet Tense Tension Turbulent Exciting Quiet Tense
  • Tranquil Powerful Energetic Busy Sinister Dark Sunny Melancholic
  • Distressing Angry Upset Worried
  • add other words you use..
  • Name/Class
  • Critical/Art Studies/Word Bank Circle the works you use when responding to an artwork
  • The Visual Elements are used by artists to create eye-catching artwork. They may use all the visual elements in an artwork or focus on using a few or even one.
  • The 7 Visual Elements are – Line, Form, Tone, Colour, Texture, Shape, Pattern
  • Colour
  • Palette Primary Secondary Tertiary Warm Cold Bright Bold Explosion
  • Wild Exotic Unconventional Strong Sombre Muted Plain Vivid Quiet Muddy Vibrant Volume Expressive Mixed Spontaneous Lush Intense
  • Harmonious Contrasting Translucent Opaque Washes Complimentary Limited
  • Clashing Luminous Natural Unnatural Eye-catching Earthy
  • Rich Subtle Happy Angry Sad Solid Blocks Monochrome Splash add other words you use..
  • Line
  • Drawing Sketching Expressive Controlled Simplified Fast Detailed Moving Flowing Linear Broad Hard Soft Outline Defining Defined Broken Organic Geometric Curved Gentle Wandering Slow Strong Restrained Three Dimensional Flat Sinuous Sweeping Elongated Fluid Chaotic Order Jagged Slashed Crude Dancing Heavy Light Subtle Restrained Sensitive
  • add other words you use..
  • Form (3-D Shape)
  • Tonal Light source Direction Depth Solid Structure Forms Bold Moulded
  • Plain Heavy Light Delicate Shadow Emphasised Jutting Quiet Fore-shortening Shapeless Hazy Formless Formlessness Carved Cast add other words you use..
  • Tone
  • Light Source Light Dark Shades Rendering Rendered Natural Electric Silhouette
  • Harsh Happy Sad Funny Scary Mysterious Friendly Moody
  • Chaotic Dramatic Quiet Reflective Tint Reflecting Golden Evening Morning
  • Exciting Quiet Tense Summer Day Night Powerful Energetic
  • Busy Sinister Dark Sunny Shiny Flat Flash Hint add other words you use..
  • Texture
  • Materials Textured Brushstrokes Surface Layered Layer Uneven Built Up Action
  • Impasto Touch Movement Expression Jagged Mixed Expressive Painterly
  • Exposed ‘Worked into’ Scumbled Rough Smooth Dry Wet Brittle Reflective
  • Melted Flakey Cracked Distressed Scraped Sensation Wavy Warped Runny Trickled
  • add other words you use..
  • Critical/Art Studies/Word Bank Circle the works you use when responding to an artwork
  • The Visual Elements are used by artists to create eye-catching artwork. They may use all the visual elements in an artwork or focus on using a few or even one.
  • The 7 Visual Elements are – Line, Form, Tone, Colour, Texture, Shape, Pattern
  • Pattern
  • Repetition Decoration Detail Beauty Style Light
  • Heavy Embellished Symmetry Eye-catching Stripes Lines Ornate
  • Rhythm Sequence Expressive Dabs Swirling Explosion Hypnotic Dazzling
  • Dotted Brushed Splattered Fine Elaborate add other words you use..
  • Shape Figure Geometric Basic Organic Sharp Smooth Cluttered Abstract Cubist
  • Curved Rounded Jagged Distorted Pronounced Detailed Jutting Hollow
  • add other words you use..
  • Scale/Size
  • Proportions Proportioned Life-Size Across Monumental Immense
  • Natural Focus Minute Huge Massive Minimal Overwhelming Spreading
  • Powerful Fat Bulky Slim
  • add other words you use..
  • Critical/Art Studies/Writing Frame
  • Use these phrases to start sentences or clearly say what you mean.
  • The painting shows..
  • In the painting..
  • We can see..
  • This reflects..
  • The use of..
  • The artist has focused on..
  • This affects..
  • This emphasises..
  • That makes….stand out.
  • The eye is drawn to..
  • There is a contrast between..
  • This influences..
  • This creates..
  • This creates a sense of.
  • I feel..
  • In my opinion..
  • In conclusion..
  • Tone (light and Dark)
  • Colour
  • Texture
  • Form (3-D Shape)/Shape
  • Lines
  • Composition
  • Mood
  • Pose/Gaze
  • Expression
  • Personality
  • Subject
  • Clothes/Costume/Symbols
  • ‘Self Portrait With Stetson’
  • By John Byrne (Scottish, born 1940)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 1989
  • 90 x 70cm
  • Use of Visual elements
  • What the portrait tells us
  • Tone (light and Dark)
  • Colour
  • Texture
  • Form (3-D Shape)
  • Lines
  • Shapes
  • Mood
  • Pose/Gaze
  • Expression
  • Personality
  • Subject
  • Clothes/Costume/Symbols
  • Use of Visual elements
  • What the portrait tells us
  • Responding to a Portrait
  • Title -
  • Artist -
  • Materials -
  • Date
  • Dimensions -
  • Composition
  • Where everything is positioned in the portrait to direct the viewer’s eye around the space.
  • Background –
  • Middle-ground –
  • Foreground –
  • Focal Point -
  • Mood
  • Pose/Gaze
  • Expression
  • Personality
  • Subject
  • Clothes/Costume/Symbols
  • What the portrait tells us..
  • Responding to a Portrait
  • Title -
  • Artist -
  • Materials -
  • Date
  • Dimensions -
  • Draw portrait, shapes and lines as simply as you can.
  • Expressive Unit/Art Studies
  • You should have written about ONE Portrait Artist and compared and contrasted at least two of their portraits.
  • If you have done this and your essay has been checked by Mr. Hogarth..
  • Choose another portrait artist from the list below -
  • Francis Bacon Pablo Picasso Mary Cassatt Henri Matisse Alison Watt Vincent Van Gogh James Guthrie
  • Henri Toulouse-Lautrec Paul Gauguin Chaim Soutine Andy Warhol Peter Howson William McCance
  • Frida Kahlo Chuck Close Peter Blake William Strang Jules Bastien-Lepage
  • These are just suggestions, if you have a portrait or Artist you would like to write about let Mr. Hogarth know.
  • To Do -
  • Go on to the internet.
  • Keyword search one artist’s name you have chosen
  • Find a high quality picture of a portrait by the artist. Write Title and any other information about Portrait.
  • Copy and Paste portrait into a document and print it out. Or, complete task by hand and make a small sketch of portrait.
  • Write 10 points about the specific portrait using the help sheets form your yellow folder.
  • You must write about –
  • The subject in the portrait.
  • How the Artist uses the visual elements to tell the viewer about the subject.
  • How the Visual Elements have been used to make a successful portrait.
  • Title – ‘The Scream’
  • Artist – Edvard Munch (Norwegian, born 1863)
  • Type of Artwork – Portrait/Figure Composition
  • Materials – Oil on Canvas
  • Date – 1893
  • Dimensions – 91 x 73.5 cm
  • Write 10 points about this portrait using the helpsheets from your folder;
  • Think about what clues you see which tell us about the personality of this person.
  • Describe how the visual elements have been used to make this painting interesting to look out.
  • ‘Portrait of the journalist Sylvia von Harden’
  • Otto Dix
  • 1926
  • Oil on Canvas
  • 120 x 88 cm
  • Write 10 points about this portrait using the helpsheets from your folder;
  • Think about what clues you see which tell us about the personality of this person.
  • Describe how the visual elements have been used to make this painting interesting to look out.
  • Title - ‘Self Portrait With Stetson’
  • Artist - John Byrne (Scottish, born 1940)
  • Materials - Oil on canvas
  • Date - 1989
  • Dimensions - 90 x 70cm
  • Write 10 points about this portrait using the helpsheets from your folder;
  • Think about what clues you see which tell us about the personality of this person.
  • Describe how the visual elements have been used to make this painting interesting to look out.
  • Write 10 points about this portrait using the helpsheets from your folder;
  • Think about what clues you see which tell us about the personality of this person.
  • Describe how the visual elements have been used to make this painting interesting to look out.
  • Title - ‘Portrait of Dora Maar Seated’
  • Artist – Pablo Picasso (Spanish, born. Malaga 1881)
  • Materials - Oil on canvas
  • Date - 1941
  • Dimensions - 90 x 70cm
  • Title - ‘The Little Pastry Chef’
  • Artist – Chaim Soutine (Russian, born 1893)
  • Type of artwork – Portrait
  • Materials - Oil on canvas
  • Date - 1922
  • Dimensions – 153 x 66 cm
  • Title - ‘Old Willie – The village worthy’’
  • Artist – Sir James Guthrie (Scottish, born 1859), part of a group of artists called ‘The Glasgow Boys’
  • Type of artwork – Portrait
  • Materials - Oil on canvas
  • Date - 1886
  • Dimensions – 60.8 x 50.8cm
  • Title - Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X’
  • Artist – Francis Bacon (English born in Ireland, born 1909)
  • Type of artwork – Portrait
  • Materials - Oil on canvas
  • Date - 1953
  • Dimensions – 153 cm × 118 cm (60 in × 46 in)
  • Title - Portrait of Pope Innocent X’
  • Artist – Diego Velázquez (Spanish, born 1599)
  • Type of artwork – Portrait
  • Materials - Oil on canvas
  • Date – 1650
  • Dimensions – 114 cm × 119 cm (45 in × 47 in)


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