Responding to the work of other artists is a great way to generate ideas. As well as to inspire your students. Starting with a direct response showing their understanding of the ideas and aesthetic of an artist, students can later leap off in creative ways. It is an excellent way to get high quality artist response outcomes.
Copying an artist’s work can be valuable exercise in itself. However, the next step where students create their own practical responses is exciting. It starts the trajectory towards creating their own independent practical work. But in safe steps so they are not overwhelmed.
It is important the research and understanding is high quality, when studying an artist’s work. Student should go further than seeing a picture they like on the internet and copying it. Consideration of the key inspirations, characteristics and contextual influences of the artist is crucial. From there it is possible for students to ‘put themselves in the shoes’ of their artist as they try creating their own responses. This is easier said than done, as there is relatively little written for a young audience about artists. To address the lack of accessible resources, I put together my own information to share with students about artists. Below are some recent examples:
High quality artist response
Making a practical response is difficult when students do not have the practical skills or access to all the relevant materials. For example, Sonia Delaunay. Much of her ‘fine art’ work is produced in oil paints, which are not easily accessed in most school art departments. Even when available, students are not likely to have the time or skills initially to produce successful painting responses. Therefore, to ensure that practical work is visually engaging, I set achievable tasks as artist responses. Because successful outcomes boost confidence and engagement.
You can see the Sonia Delaunay artist study and practical response resource below:
The aim is to give the students the opportunity to respond to Delaunay’s work within defined parameters. They explore ideas of colour, movement and abstraction. Then students can begin to think about developing their line of inquiry. Perhaps translating a collage into paint, developing a lampshade design or using bottle tops to create a sculptural form…
By using the artist study worksheet at the outset, the student has a starting point for their investigation into the work. After that they can incorporate their own personal ideas and creativity along the way.
Plus you can download a free artist study resource on the printmaker Angie Lewin by clicking here: angie-lewin-artist-research-handout