Monthly Archives: May 2015

Rene Magritte – Surrealist Art

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.”

René Magritte

René Magritte was a Surrealist painter who was born in 1898 in Belgium.  He was the oldest child and started drawing lessons at the age of 12.

René Magritte’s art is best known for taking everyday objects and rearranging the figures or locations in such a way that it forces the viewer to take a deeper look at what is in front of them and what the image truly represents.

The Large Family by Rene Magritte served as the inspiration for our creations.


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Theodore Earl Butler – Fireworks

  “Decoration has always had its own agenda, the sincere and unabashed offering of pleasure and solace.”

-Theodore Earl Butler

Theodore Earl Butler was an American impressionistic painter who was born in 1861 in Columbus, Ohio.

Butler studied in Marietta College in Ohio and graduated in 1882. He then moved to Paris to continue his art studies. There he befriended the artist Claude Monet. He married Monet’s step-daughter and was a founding member of the Society of Independent Artists.

He spent almost all of his adult life in Giverny, France. He was a member of the art colony there. Butler’s personal ties with the Monet’s gave him a deep understanding of the elder painter and influenced his work. Butler adapted the impressionist style to express his own work.

Students created these firework paintings using dramatic brush strokes and a layering technique that give the work a real feeling of energy. We imagined our fireworks taking place over water and added the reflections below.

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Yuri Krotov – Seaside Umbrella’s

 In 1964 Yuri Krotov (Юрий Кротов)  was born in Grivenskaya, a Cossack Settlement, Krasnodar Territory, very close to the Azov Sea in Russia.

He began art lessons in 1972 from a local painter G.A. Polugaev, and   in 1976 – 1983 Yuri Krotov went to school at the Surikov Art Institute. After military service from 1983-1985 he continued to study art in the Moscow State Academic Art Institute until 1992.

After his schooling, Yuri Krotov visited France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain and other European countries.Yuri Krotov holds on to the fleetingness of ever changing moments by painting in a quick and free manner, using wonderfully fluid brushstrokes which are full of detail and emotional richness.

The seaside and sounds of a crashing ocean inspired our beach scenes in the classroom. Students used many techniques to create their pieces. Drawing skills were practised and composition was used to create a more dramatic painting.


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Frank Spino – Citrus

 “Color excites me. Realism and rich, saturated color are what my art is all about.”

-Frank Spino

Frank Spino was born after WWII into a large military family. His family was required to move frequently throughout his childhood and he went to 13 elementary schools.

He showed interest in art at an early age but was not encouraged to pursue it by his family. After graduating high school he went to the Ohio University to study art. He also received tutelage by Henry Hensche, a gifted teacher of light and colour, at the Cape School of Art in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The primary focus of his art is highly realistic paintings of citrus fruit.

We used liquid watercolour to create our own brightly coloured citrus paintings. The students loved the last step of adding a little pizzazz with splatter painting. We ended our class with an orange snack.


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Robert Kushner – Still Life

 “Decoration has always had its own agenda, the sincere and unabashed offering of pleasure and solace.”

-Robert Kushner

Robert Kushner is an American contemporary painter who was born in Pasadena, California in 1949 and lives and works in New York City today. He is most known for his involvement in the Pattern and Decoration art movement in the 1970s.  In addition to painting he creates large scale public installations in a variety of mediums.

Kushner’s work has been exhibited extensively in the United States, Europe, and Japan and Italy. He was the subject of solo exhibitions at both the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

We created a still life inspired by Kushner. We used collage elements in our background and then layered paint, oil pastels, and chalk pastels over top. They were a bright spot in our spring line-up!

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Andy Warhol – Erupting Volcanoes

 “In the future, everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” 

-Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was born in 1928 in Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of four children. Warhol was a sickly child and spent a lot of his time drawing and collecting pictures of movie stars. Andy studied commercial art at the School of Fine Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1949 he moved to New York City and began his career in magazine illustration and advertising. In 1961 Andy Warhol introduced the concept of “Pop Art” or paintings that focused on mass-produced commercial goods.  His style was inspired by popular culture of everyday images you see everywhere.

Andy Warhol’s painting, Mount Vesuvius inspired our erupting volcanoes. The students used bright colours and energetic lines to create their work. The eruptions were created using balloon pumps and liquid watercolour. Laughter and energy filled our classrooms!

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Sunset Dandelions inspired by Monet


“My only merit lies in having painted directly in front of nature, seeking to render my impressions of the most fleeting effects.”

Claude Monet

Claude Monet was born in Paris, France in 1840. When he was young he did not like being confined to a classroom and was more interested in being outside.  He filled his schoolbooks with sketches of people, including caricatures of his teachers.  Monet was a founder of Impressionist Painting.  Monet would use strong colours and bold short brushstrokes.  Turning away from the blended colours and evenness of classical art, he placed colours side by side to create a division of colours.  The term Impressionism comes from the title of his painting: Impression, Sunrise.

Warm colours served as the background of our dandelion inspired pieces. Our students enjoyed blending the paint and filling the space with warm colour. We then used old gift cards dipped in paint to create our dandelions.

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