In Art 340 you are going to dive into discovering and exploring your individual voice as an artist.  What are the things that you are interested in expressing in your art and how are you uniquely poised for that expression?  What are your influences? What is your visual vocabulary? 

To set the stage for the paintings you will complete during the remainder of the semester, we are going to spend the first few weeks diving deeply into these questions with a series of writing, drawing, and painting exercises.  

Materials Needed:

Sketchbook, computer, drawing tools, camera (phone camera is fine), paints and either watercolor paper or gesso-covered drawing paper. 

Exercise 1:  Art Tree/Matrix 

This assignment is adapted from Kate Bingaman-Burt’s Creative Family Tree assignment, as described in Lisa Congdon’s book, Find Your Artistic Voice. 

In your sketchbook, or on a sheet of drawing paper, create a tree of things that you are interested in and things that influence your art. Using the tree model allows you to have branches.  For example, here is are a few branches on my tree:   

Art Tree Matrix

The words that end up on our branches are your visual vocabulary.  They will show up when you write about your work in artist statements, blog posts, and other documents. .  

Exercise 2: Daily Sketches

Sketch things related to the items you’ve listed on your tree everyday for the next 16 days. Plan to sketch for 15-30 minutes each day.

Exercise 3: Paintings

Create a series of between four and six small paintings exploring the subject matter you identified in Exercises 2 and 3.  You can use oil or acrylic paints on gesso-covered paper or watercolor and/or gouache paint on watercolor paper (available in the bookstore). 

The portfolio of items that results from these three exercises will be your sourcebook for the remainder of the projects you create in this class.  

Optional Exercise: Photo Collection

Begin a photo collection of images that influence your work and reflect your visual vocabulary. I create an digital album of the photos that are used as inspiration for a given body of work. Most of my photos are taken in museums or on walks. Here are a few photos in my current album:

How to Submit this Assignment for Grading:

The items in these exercises should be gathered on your domain and in your first blog post.  

Step 1:  Create a page on your blog labeled Artistic Voice or Artistic Voice Assignment.  On this page, create a gallery with images of your daily sketchbook drawings, a photo of your Art Tree/Matrix, and a gallery with your paintings.  You will also create a separate blog post reflecting on this assignment. It should be a minimum of 300 words and include some images of your work. To turn in the assignment, share the URL for your website/blog in the comments under this post. 

Blog posts can include videos and other elements. 

Keep in mind that this is a space where we are learning to share our work professionally.  This should be reflected in the quality of your photos and writing. This means that photos display the art well and the text is well-written and edited.


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