Friday, April 11, 2008

Senior Research Paper: Steps 3 & 4

Step 3:

Spend the next ½ hour or so familiarizing your self with the artist and his or her work. Choose 1-3 paintings on which to turn your focus. By Monday at 3:00 p.m., you will post three pages (1000 words) on these paintings on your blog. See Step 4 for hints and practices for writing on art; how to turn an image, even the most abstract, into written discourse.

Step 4:

Choose 1 – 3 paintings and try to describe them to the best of your ability. Paint a replica of the image with your own words. Can you make your reader “see” what you are seeing. This is an important step in the process of writing this research paper for a few reasons: First, you will need this descriptive writing in your essay to aid your analysis. Second, you will learn things about the piece of art by forcing yourself to stare at it with the attention needed to describe it. Last, what you see may be different from what others do, not just the abstract work, but what are your eyes drawn to first? You will never be able to get this moment back--what your eyes noticed when you were first drawn to the painting / or piece of art. You will also need this writing when you start to compile your formal research paper.

“Helpful Hints” to enhance your descriptive powers:

  • Spend as much time as possible “free writing” about the image prior to doing any research. You can always edit this down if you feel that the writing is stale or redundant. Free writing is best done with fresh eyes as a first response, and can be edited after you know the image well. This can be tedious if you are in the middle of trying to arrange your argument and realize your paper is just not long enough.
  • When describing colors, expand your vocabulary. There is no such thing as pure yellow. Maybe you mean lemon yellow or canary yellow or cadmium yellow or saffron. Check out these colors for ideas, but stick to colors that your audience will be able to visualize. For example, I can’t picture alice blue, but I can picture aqua and royal blue.
  • If the image is particularly abstract, focus on the emotions that the artist is trying to express. Do the lines create a sense of movement? Does the painting seem to speed up time, or slow it down? Ask your self creative questions and answer them.

6 comments:

Angela S5 said...

Adult Female Sexual Organs


Adult Female Sexual Organs by Wangechi Mutu is an interesting collage which addresses the female body, appearance and a female’s overall role in society. When first glancing at this collage the large red lips stick out and seem to be artificial. The woman’s actual face is natural and is looking ahead, but her lips seem to not only be artificial but seem to be holding her or blocking her from reality. Also, lips are essentially the part of our body which allows us to form words and speak. The artificial lips may suggest that she is unable to speak or find truth in her life. The lips are a deep red which looks like the women has put lipstick on. These lips seem as though they were done by plastic surgery and this woman only did this to conform to society and feel “beautiful”. Other than her eyes the rest of her face seems to be covered in duck tape. This also suggests that she has had other surgery in order to fit in with society. The woman’s eyes seem to be sad and she seems to be lost. Also, there is a magazine clipping of a Caucasian model and she seems care free and happy. The face of the African woman and the model are completely opposite. This suggests that women in Africa or in other countries are influenced by western countries and the images of society. In America the ideal women is thin and she is composed of perfect body parts. Women all over the world see those images in these magazines and in the media and want to become them. There is something missing from these women’s lives and therefore they feel pressured from media and society and try to change themselves. This woman’s whole head, except for her eyes are covered with duck tape and than peeking through is a “beautiful” model or rather what society deems as acceptable beauty. The fact that the woman’s eyes are not covered suggests that she knows that this is not the correct way to feel beautiful. She sees the truth but society and media, represented by the large lips are preventing her from speaking. Another small detail which caught my attention is the paper in which the collage was made on. The paper is ripped in some places and looks old. This suggests that women who are facing poverty or who are lower middle class try to find comfort in transforming their bodies and making themselves the “perfect” female. There is also a white spot on the woman’s face or rather on the duck tape. The color white is often associated with purity, virtue and virginity. The fact that there is very little white on the woman’ s face may suggest that she is giving into society’s standard and is no longer virtuous. Also, this may suggest that this woman is caught between being the pure virginal woman or the sexually attractive woman. It also appears that there were traces of other white spots but they disappeared into the duck tape. The woman’s head is also huge and is almost cartoon like. This may reveal that this woman’s natural characteristics or shape is rather large and therefore not acceptable in society and therefore she must get surgery.

Another interesting part of the collage is the title: Adult Female Sex Organs. In the collage there are no visible sex organs except perhaps at the bottom of the women’s neck there is, what looks like an organ sticking out. The rest of it is covered by the duck tape. This is interesting because female sex organs other than used for pleasure and used to procreate and bring children into this world. The fact that this women’s “sexual organs” or sexuality is covered by duck tape, which represents society, suggests that women’s sexuality is suppressed in society and they are never allowed to truly express themselves. They are stuck trying to hide or cover their sexuality and instead are transforming themselves into the “ideal” women. Sex and beauty are two things which are beautiful and pure, but society has changed this for women and gives a false perception of sex and the purpose that it serves for females.
The color scheme in this collage seems to be rather dark. The only images which are bright and cheery is the model and the artificial lips. This suggests that the only things which bring this women or women in general, joy is being “beautiful” according to society’s standards. The part of the female sexual organ which is visible is in black and white and ahs no color. Also the woman in the collage looks as if she is of African decent. She appears to have beautiful dark skin which is covered by duck tape. This suggests that women’s pleasure from sex is not accepted in society and there is no reason for it to have any color. Women are expected to be beautiful and pure yet there sexuality must be hidden because they must be virtuous. Also, there is a blue sky in the article clipping but it is covered by the duck tape. This suggests that the sky which is naturally pure is blocked from this woman’s world. The sky holds the sun, moon and stars and give of natural light. This woman is not able to have this natural beauty and truth due to society and the standards that they have set.

Overall this woman seems to feel sad and unhappy with the changes that she is making. She does not have a voice and her sexuality is obviously lost somewhere. She is looking ahead perhaps to fins the truth which she has been stripped of. This collage suggests that female sexuality has been suppressed and this has caused women to be confused with their identity. Women are faced with this dichotomy, sexual whore or pure virgin. There is no room for women to be sexual and respected in society. Women need these artificial lips and perfected body parts to be seen as beautiful sexual objects, which causes their true “sexual organs” and identity to be lost and unnoticed.

Mr. G said...

Everyone make sure to post on your own blogs.... not this one!

Mr. G said...

oh, and don't be afraid to put the image in yr posts....

Wendy C.5 said...

What if it is more than 1000 words?

Doris T5 said...

I think it can

Amy H 6 said...

A picture is worth a thousand words.

The photo collage that David Hockney created is vibrant in color there are all types of hues. Every object also is vibrant or diverse in colors. From the trees to the buildings to the sidewalk, everything is diverse. Hockney originally had a picture than he decided to cut it up and make it into a new creation. Which I found fasinating. I concluded that Hockney might of cut up other pictures to make this one collage. The reason for my theory is because some of the pieces in this collage does not coordinate well with the others. The photo collage is of square that I believe takes place in France or another European country. To my knowledge, I don’t believe the picture takes place in Africa or Asia. The object that first catches your eye is clearly the huge tree witch takes up a good portion of the piece. The tree is mostly green with some tints of brown. The trunk of the tree is brown while the topper part is dark brown/green. The top of the tree however, is the lightest of the whole. The leaves of the tree carry a similar completion that the trunk has. The leaves of the tree come in all different shapes and sizes. The darker shape leaves are much larger than those with a lighter tint. The thing that least catches your eye believes is the little square almost in the middle of the picture which is an image of the sky. Also, I noticed that there is another tree in the picture. The other tree is much darker than the bigger one. Everything is darker. The stem and the leaves. The trunk of the tree though, is the lightest. The completion is a yellowish/ brownish hint. Surrounded by a bunch of little rocks it seemed. Another thing that I noticed was that there are only two cars in the whole piece of art. I found this interesting because the cars are tiny, compared to the whole piece. The piece is large but the cars are small. The cars hue is red and black. Which sticks out when put near the white apartments. As a whole, the picture is very vibrant. The colors are light and sunny. When looking at the picture, the viewer feels a warm and welcoming scene.

The picture, I noticed is only straight at the top of the picture. Every other side is not even or missing a piece. The bottom part of the picture is the roughest part of the picture compared to every other side. The picture as a whole does not look real. Only a couple of little squares can be telling as real to the viewer. Like some parts of the tree, the leaves could be seen as real. Also, another thing I noticed is that the very center of the picture is of a dark, small building. This struck me because I thought the center of the picture will be much bigger and more eye catching than what it is now. There is an ample amount of windows. Everywhere the viewer looks, there are windows. The windows mostly occupied the top half of the picture. None are seen in the bottom half. One thing I noticed about the windows is that they all are dark. The windows are covered by shades which I find interesting because the picture as a whole is very bright and lively. That is not the same case with the windows, however. The viewer who looks at the window senses darkness and not much hope.

The picture is very diverse with every element. From shapes to hints there is diversity. The top of the picture is busy, filled with everything from apartments to windows to leaves. The bottom part of the picture is not as fortunate as the top half, though. The bottom part of the picture is indeed extremely plain. There is nothing important but the trunks of the trees. I also happened to notice that there are a lot of parallel things and doubles. There are two trees, which appear also exactly alike. There are also two cars and two doors. What is parallel I noticed are the trees and the buildings.

I believe this collage was done quite a while ago. Perhaps in the 70’s or the 80’s. The reason I have this theory is because the cars appear to be those centuries and everything seems brighter. Also, the buildings seem like they were made around that time as well. I touched upon the subject earlier that I believe this picture was done in France other some other European country. The reason I believe this is because the square is very clear, compared to America, where people just throw everything on the ground and litter. The streets, as the viewer sees does not have paper or anything other type or form of trash. The street is extremely spotless with noting on it. This square, I believe belongs to a rather rich area in Europe. The reason I believe this is because everything the viewer sees can be connected to richness. There is nothing poor or tapped in the picture. Also, the picture has very earthy colors like earth brown and earth green. There are no neon colors or very dark colors, except for the shades. The also happens to be a lot of natural colors. Like the sidewalk and the door on the very edge of the picture. One thing that struck me about this picture is why there is only one visible door. There maybe other doors but the other doors are not visible to the viewer. Why did Hockney create the picture like this? Doors, to me symbolize freedom and hope. Though this picture does symbolize hope and freedom, it also does not in a way. Which obviously y in very controversy. The windows which symbolizes freedom as well are as I will say again are very dark and not welcoming. Why did Hockney make this picture the way he did? I will believe that he wants to show his viewers that there are always to sides or everything. There is always a dark side and a light side. There is always a hope side and not so bright side. Like everything in life, there is always two sides of things, just like this picture. Which Hockney did a great job describing.