My Art History House

This idea came about from a random sketch I made while I sat, bored as could be, in the Newark airport, waiting for a plane. Upon later reflection, I realized that I’d inadvertently stumbled upon a way to address several curricular needs in one fell swoop:

  • Pen and ink line drawing
  • Texture and pattern
  • Creating a sense of “architectural place”
  • Illusions of depth and scale
  • Working within the common structure of a publication design
  • Independent art history research

“My Art History Home”

1. Begin with a piece of 32 x 10” white art board. Using very light pencil marks, accurately draw the following architectural construction lines. Use a straight edge or t-square. [Architectural accuracy: 10%] These marks indicate the positioning of interior windows and floor of your “Art History Home.” (Designers don’t have the luxury of repositioning floors and windows; they must design a space around those architectural features.

2. Continue to use very light pencil and straight edge. Add architectural details, including window panes, floor and window trim; also consider curtains, wallpaper, and other patterns. [Architectural details: 5%]

3. Continue to use very light pencil. Add:
a. Yourself
b. Rug or tile flooring
c. At least two pieces of furniture
You may work in a cartoon style or realistically. [Interior design/personalization: 20%]

4. Continue to use very light pencil. Your Art History Home has a very unique feature: The windows look out onto famous artworks. Choose and draw six important examples that may be seen peeking through your windows. [Composition and planning: 25%]

Include six from the following options:

a. Renaissance painting
b. A work created by Picasso, Matisse, or Braque
c. Impressionist or Post-Impressionist painting
d. Famous portrait
e. Paleolithic cave art
f. Greek or Roman sculpture
g. A work by Van Gogh
h. Baroque painting
i. A painting by Modigliani, Dali, or Singer
j. Chinese brush painting
k. An important Hispanic artist
l. A work created by Jacob Lawrence or Romare Bearden
m. Egyptian art

5. Create the finished artwork. Go back over your pencil drawing using pen and ink. Add light and shadows: Create a full range of values using cross-hatching, hatching, controlled scribble, or stippling. You may NOT use a straight edge during this stage! [Technique: 25%]

6. Participate in a “gallery walk” with the class and discuss what works well. What role does a curator have in the exhibition of artworks? What narrative might the choices you’ve made suggest to a viewer? Discuss. On your own, write a short fictional story about the home you have designed. (Approximately 300 words, in complete sentences.) Print out and tape your story to the back of your artwork, and submit to the teacher. [Artistic reflection: 5%] [Learning behaviors: 10%]

Student Exemplars


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