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Artist Research Paper Lesson Plan

Artist Research

Submitted by: William Van Horn, Prairie Grove Middle School in Arkansas
UNIT: Art History - Artist Research - Technology
Grade level: Middle school and up (adaptable to elementary)

Title: What the heck is that artist up to?
(In conjunction with Building an Art History Timeline)
Grades: 7-12

• Drawing Pencils
• Printmaking Paper (standard and glossy photo), Scratchboard, Scratchboard Tool Kit
• Microsoft Word (or other document software)

• Computer with Internet access and color Printer
• Handouts: Example of short biography with bibliography (Student handout)
• Optional: books and Digital Camera or scanner

• Search engines - Internet programs to search by keywords for relevant sites
• Keyword - descriptive words to use with search engines (e.g., "+art +picasso +images")
• Jpeg, GIF - formats of graphic images on web sites
• Biography - life history of a person
• Bibliography - list of sources for research paper
• Expressionism - art style that portrays emotions or elicits an emotional (Frankenthaler, Pollock, Joan Mitchell )
• Surrealism - art style where the objects are distorted or in odd juxtapositions to each other (Dali, de Chirico, Magritte)
• Naturalistic representation - object in artwork looks like object being represented
• Abstract art - Mondrian, Rothko, O'Keeffe)
• Pop art - art style that uses and "glorifies" images from popular culture (Warhol, Lichtenstein, Johns)
• Marginalized art - art that has traditionally not been accepted by the mainstream art culture (Chicago, Kahlo, folk art, art of people with disabilities, African and/or Asian art)

Each student will look up an artist on the Internet and choose an artwork (medium of artwork depends on the art-making assignment) to print and talk about. Each student will write a short biography (with a bibliography) of the artist. (Biography and print will be placed on the timeline.)

Objectives (Arkansas Dept. of Education Art Standards):
• Identify different styles used for artwork, including non-traditional artistic styles (1.1.8,
• Use the search engines on the Internet to research an artist (1.3.8)
• Write a short biography of artist and the culture, including bibliography (1.2.10, 1.3.12
• Identify artwork and print out hard copy - save information about image - learn about copyright and fair use of images
• Present to class an artist and artist's use of techniques in artwork

• Describe the process and the objectives of the assignment
• Show reproductions of art work of different "schools" of thought, including non-traditional artistic styles
• Discuss the relation of the styles to the impact of the work
• Discuss biographies and purpose of bibliography
• Biography will include dates and place of birth and death, significant events in the artist's life (e.g., schooling, friends, economic situation, health), social and political events (e.g., war, scientific and geographic discoveries, attitude of culture), and a brief critique of artist's artistic influences and stylistic growth

• Demonstrate use of search engine, downloading and printing images, saving bibliography information

Research and report (See student handout):
• Search on Internet for artist and artwork to report on
• Gather information and write, using word processor, a one page biography with attached bibliography
• Give oral report to class on artist and how he or she used pencil or lines in their drawing (or whatever element/principle you are discussing).
• Place in correct spot of timeline - include image documentation on the artist's work.

• Discuss the artists on the timeline in relation to each other

Critique questions:
• What problems did you have with searching for artists and/or using the Internet?
• Why did you choose the artist that you did? What would you ask the artist if you had a chance to meet?
• What differences and similarities do you see between the artists?
• What did you learn? What was the reason for this assignment?
• How else could you use the Internet for finding out information?

Artist Research - Handout

Submitted by Rachel Smith


Name_________________________________ Period________ Date________



Please define the following vocabulary terms:

  • Genre:

  • Description:

  • Interpretation


1. Full Name of Artist: _______________________

2. Date of Artist Birth: _________________ Date of Artist Death: ________________

3. Using COMPLETE SENTENCES, please write a general DESCRIPTION of the art work created by this artist:

4. What GENRE does this artist fit into? Why is this artist considered part of this GENRE?

5. Choose one artwork created by this artist write a detailed DESCRIPTION of it:

6. What do you think this artwork means? In other words, what is your INTERPRETATION of this artwork?

7. What kind of biographical information did you find? How does this relate to the art created by this artist?

8. Do you like this artist’s work? Why or why not? In other words, what is your JUDGMENT of the work?

9. What questions do you still have about this artist


Student Critique and Class Critique

Submitted by: Jeannie Sandoval

Name: _________________________________


Individual Art Critique

Write your ideas here. Give first impressions. Make guesses. Say what you see, do not say what you like, or don't like. Do not judge. Describe, analyze, and interpret.

l. What stands out the most when you first see it?

2. Explain the reason you notice the thing you mention in number 1.

3. As you keep looking, what else seems important?

4. Why does the thing you mention in number 3 seem important?

5. How has contrast (value) been used?

6. What leads your eye around from place to place?

7. What titles could you give this artwork? Name at least three.

8. What other things interest you about this artwork?

9. What did you learn while doing this project? Was it worth it?

10. If you could change anything about your picture, what would it be and why?

*Is there anything that could have been done differently that would have made this project even more successful? I am all ears... tell me J


Submitted by: Jeannie Sandoval
Round Robin Class Critique

Critique for Hard Edge Painting


Using the Critique Process, you must select two works of art created by your fellow classmates and write a paragraph about the works. Once completed with those critiques, you must critique your own painting. Use complete sentences and proper grammar. Use the correct order when evaluating the projects: Description, Analysis, Interpretation and Judgment


Answer the following questions for each critique.

Description: Describe what you see, be detailed. Describe the colors and the layout. Analysis: Why did the painter use those colors and letter fonts? What could have been done differently? Interpretation: What do you think the artist was trying to say within their painting? Judgment: Is this something you would hang in your bedroom? Would you buy this? Why or why not?


Project 1:


Project 2:


Project 3 (Your own project):


Artists Research Project

An Art History Research Project

Name __________________________


Artist’s Full Name ____________________________________



Biographical Info:

  1. Place/date of birth:

  2. Place/date of death:

  3. Primary type of artwork (ex: painting? Drawing? Sculpture? Printmaking? Ceramics)

  4. Media (what materials are use?):

  5. Style or period of art?

  6. Short definition of that style or period (see Artlex or Artcyclopedia):

  7. Interesting/Personal information on the artist

  8. Three other artists who work in this style (from the time period of the artist - or contemporary artists working in this same style). How is the work similar? How is the work different?

  9. Favorite Quote:

  10. Biography Resources (minimum of three -use authoritative sites and books). Include author, title, date, URL (for sites), publisher (for books), page numbers.

IMAGES (find a portrait or photograph and five works)

Portrait or Photograph of artist (find one online or scanned from book)

Artist or photographer:

Date: Location of image:

URL (or print material source):


As you are doing your research SAVE FIVE (5) images of the artist's work to your disk (or folder on server).

For each image:

  1. Title:
    Date: Media: Size:
    Location (museum/collection):
    URL/ site name (or book source if scanned):

  2. Title:
    Date: Media: Size:
    Location (museum/collection):
    URL/ site name (or book source if scanned):

  3. Title:
    Date: Media: Size:
    Location (museum/collection):
    URL/ site name (or book source if scanned):

  4. Title:
    Date: Media: Size:
    Location (museum/collection):
    URL/ site name (or book source if scanned):

  5. Title:
    Date: Media: Size:
    Location (museum/collection):
    URL/ site name (or book source if scanned):


Choose one of those pieces of art and answer the following questions:

  1. What is the subject matter?

  2. Genres. Is this a still life (group of things)? a portrait (a painting, drawing or sculpture of a person)? or a landscape/seascape/cityscape (picture of the land/water/city)? other (explain)?

  3. Style/form: Is this artwork realistic (as real as possible)? abstract (distorted reality)?  non-objective (as far from reality as possible)? symbolic? functional? other (explain)?

  4. Description. Identify the sensory qualities (art elements). Can you identify a color scheme? Why do you think the artist might have chosen the colors she/he did? Do they make sense? What kind of lines did the artist use? How does the texture add to the work? etc.

  5. Discuss the formal properties - use of design principles.

  6. Interpretation. What do you think the artists was trying to say? Why do you think he/she chose this subject?

  7. What feeling does this artwork give you and why?

  8. What part of the artwork is your favorite and why?

  9. Judgment: Defend this as a work of art using one of the theories of aesthetics (or combination): Art as Realism - Art for Formal Properties - Art as Expression - Art as Functional.

Timeline (include some key world events that may have influenced this artist):