Description

What do you see?

        DESCRIPTION is a process of reporting the things that are in the art work. Asking yourself these questions will                 help you.

        1. What art form or type of art is this? Is it a painting, a print, sculpture, ceramics, a photograph or                                                   something else?
        2. What is the subject matter? Name the things in the artwork. Look closely.
        3. What lines dominate the artwork? Are they straight, curvy? Can you find other words to describe them?
        4. What shapes dominate the artwork? Are they geometric (straight, mathematical-like shapes) or                                                        organic (curvy, naturalistic shapes), or perhaps both?
        5. What are the major colors? Name them.
        6. Name the major patterns (e.g., stripes, circles, etc.) and textures (bumpy, smooth, other) that you find.

Analysis

How is it arranged or designed?
 

        ANALYSIS questions should be asked about any artwork. Artists make relationships--they repeat lines, shapes,                 colors, and patterns in exciting ways to make an artwork more unified and interesting. This is called composition. 
   
        1. How are the shapes arranged, what is the composition of the artwork?
        2. What are the major colors?
        3. Are the colors predominantly light or dark or both?
        4. Are they bright or dull or both?
        5. What color harmony is used: monochromatic, analogous, complementary?
        6. How is the value or lighting? Is shading used? Shading means showing a variety of tones or grays, even in                                the colors. For instance, the lightness of red is pink and the darkness is maroon. Are there just lines in this                            painting? Or is there light shading, a deep illusion of depth, or high contrast with no shading?
        7. How is the space arranged? Is it flat with no depth? Is there an overlapping of shapes or is there a sense of                                three dimensions with some shading and shadows, and showing sides, or deep perspective. Find the                                        foreground, middle ground, background.

Interpretation                                                     

What's happening? What does it mean?            

        INTERPRETATION is the process of understanding or making meaning. This process involves several aspects:                             emotions, symbols, modern and historical importance, and reinterpretation. 


        1. What could be a new title for this piece?
        2. What symbols do you see? A symbol is something that stands for something else. For example, a lion is                                      often used as a symbol of strength.
        3. What do the colors symbolize? For example, blue might mean loyalty or calmness like the sea.
        4. What do the colors express--make you feel? Do they create a happy or sad mood? Or some other mood?
        5. What theme, big idea, is this about? Is it, for instance, about nature, politics, religion, childhood, other?
        6. What does this work mean for people today?

Judgment                                                                  

Why is this work important?                                 

         JUDGMENT is a process of deciding the value of something. It is not important that we like or dislike an artwork,                     but that we try to understand why it is important to other people. 

        Choose as many good reasons (theories) as you think appropriate:
        1. The painting is representational, like a photograph. How or how not?
        2. The painting expresses emotions, symbols or ideals. What emotions, symbols or ideals?
        3. The artwork is functional, useful? How?
        4. The art work is formalistic. Does it have unusual lines or shapes or arrangement?
        5. The group of people or institution that would appreciate this painting the most?