Welcome to IB Visual Art

By Lois Armstrong,2014-08-17 06:35
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Welcome to IB Visual Art


    This Handbook contains LOADS of essential info.

    Keep it safe!

During the IB course you will produce:

Studio Work: 70%

    Drawings, paintings, prints, ceramics, sculptures, collages, design work, digital artwork, photography, architectural models, textiles, mixed media work……..

    Your Studio Work must show your personal interests and artistic skills through a range of different media and techniques.

    You will aim to complete at least one piece of Studio Work each month starting in September of Y12. Therefore by the end of Y12 you will have 9-10 completed pieces of work. In Y13 you will be able to complete at least a further 8 pieces of work. This does not include any work done during the holidays. For your final exhibition you will have at least 17 Studio Work pieces, but preferably 24 or more!

Research Workbooks (RWBs): 30%

    .. are like sketchbooks, but so much more! Your RWBs will contain written notes, photos, exhibition leaflets, postcards, sketches, experiments with different media, written analysis of artworks, brainstorms, as well as more finished drawings and paintings. You can basically put anything you

    want into your RWB as long as it supports the development of your artistic ideas and skills. You will need to complete 5 or more RWB pages each week. Most of this will be done in your study periods or at home. By the end of December you will have over 50 pages completed! Some weeks you will find you are able to do more than 5 pages because of your wonderful ideas. Excellent but that

    does not mean the next week you do not have to do any! Remember, holidays are a great opportunity to collect information, sketch, record and develop ideas, especially if you are in another country. By the end of the course, you should aim to have at least five thick RWBs completed.


    You will be very much involved in assessing your own work every month, referring to the IB assessment criteria in detail. You will also receive comments from me that are useful in showing both your strong points and reminding you of areas where improvements are needed.

    There will be regular opportunities for you to discuss and explain your work and ideas in group discussions. You will also be asked to comment upon other IB students‟ work.


    Research Workbook at least 5 pages every week, i.e. homework!

    Studio work at least one piece per month!

    Self-Assessment every month!

Art Equipment

    During the school day, you will be able to use the Art Studio facilities and equipment at any time. However, much of your work will also be done outside school, during the evenings, weekends, and holidays. For this reason, you must collect as wide a range of art media as possible, to help you develop and practice your skills in your own time. A suggested starter‟s list would be:


    A4 spiral- or hardbound sketchbook with good quality paper B 80

    2B, 4B and 6B sketching pencils (Faber Castell brand) B 10

    Good quality eraser (Staedtler brand) B 10

    Glue Stick (UHU brand) B 40


    Pack 12 x colour pencils (any brand) B 55

    Black, blue and red „gel‟ or biro pens (Pilot brand) B 15

    Pack 36 x oil pastels (Pentel brand) B 110

    Pack 18 x acrylic paints (Reeves brand) B 180

    No.5 and No.9 size paintbrushes (Master Art Renaissance brand) B 20

    No.20 size paintbrush (Master Art Renaissance brand) B 60

    These items are available locally in stores like Silpaban near Foodland in Pattaya, Friendship Supermarket in Pattaya, B2S in Central Chidlom, BKK or Somjai‟s in Old Siam Shopping Centre,

    BKK. The brand names are suggestions only and many good alternatives are available.

    If you expect to be doing lots of painting at home, invest in larger tubes of acrylic paint that can be bought individually. 100ml tubes of Pebeo and Master Art brand acrylic are good value. Chromacryl,

    Daler Rowney and System brands are better quality paints, but a little more expensive.

    Try to get as many of these items as you can, and add to your supply of art materials when you are able to. The first four items on the list are urgent purchases please buy these as quickly as possible!

Setting up a work space (not essential, but useful!)

It would be a real advantage if you have enough space to create a „mini-studio‟ at home. This will

    mean that it is much easier for you to work, as your art equipment will always be out and ready for you when inspiration strikes and any wet work can be left to dry overnight etc. In addition to all your art equipment, it should include:

    1. A large flat table surface and comfortable chair.

    2. A good source of natural light and/or a bright desk lamp (overhead lights tend to cast annoying

    shadows onto your work at night). You can even buy „daylight‟ bulbs for desk lamps!

    3. A 12” mirror, if you‟re interested in producing self portraits. A full-length mirror would be

    ideal for figure drawing.

Research Workbooks (RWBs)

These are working journals of your life as an artist over the next two years!

What is the size of an ideal RWB?

    You will need to get an A4 sketchbook with reasonably thick white cartridge paper. Make sure you get a sketchbook which is spiral-bound or hardbound, NOT gummed (these fall apart). You will be working on both sides of the paper, so there will be about 40 pages in it. You should aim to fill around 6- 8 of these sketchbooks during the IB course!

How do I start?

    Put your name and address (or school address) inside the front cover. A phone number or email address is essential you don‟t want to lose it! Oh yes, also put the date. Then leave the first page

    blank, this can be used as a table of contents later. Now number each page on the bottom right. You will be using both sides of ALL the pages.

    Good working habits

    o Work in your RWB every day get into the habit, starting today. Several good RWB sessions

    spread throughout the week are always better than hours of rushed work late at night! Remember

    that drawing and designing your RWB pages will be an excellent creative break from other types of

    academic study you should enjoy it: it‟s why you‟ve chosen this course, right?!

    o When you finish working in your RWB for the day always put the date, including the year. This is

    so that your progress throughout the course can be clearly seen.

    o When you write in your RWB always use a black pen, and write clearly. This is because I will need

    to be able to read it, and you will have to photocopy pages to send to the IB art examiners. You

    should try to make your RWB a pleasure to look at and read! Don’t use coloured pens to write with,

    unless it‟s really appropriate to your work (ie your main theme is „strong colours‟!

    o Never ever cut or tear pages out from your RWB! Don‟t stick pages together even if you have

    made what you think is a mistake or a terrible drawing. The RWB has to show mistakes, good

    work and very importantly your development as an artist over a period of time if you hide your

    weaker work, how can the examiner see how much you have improved?

    o You remember you numbered the pages? This makes it easy to refer back to an idea or thought. For

    instance, on p.60 you might sketch an idea and remember that you did something similar before.

    You could then write: “The drawing on p.27 could become a linoprint, see my notes on printing

    p.46.” Also remember to cross-reference it on pages 27 and 46!

    o When drawing something from observation write down where you are and why you have chosen to

    draw it. Make notes on the weather or light if appropriate. A photograph of the subject can be very

    useful if you are going to develop the sketch into a painting or sculpture. Always take your camera! o If you have used a book or the Internet to find an image or info always write down the full

    reference in your RWB you may need to find the information again at a later date. The same idea

    goes for magazine articles, television programmes and films. Sources of information must always

    be acknowledged even postcards from exhibitions that you stick in your RWB.

    Remember: hard work generates excitement and energy: have fun and go for it!

Research Workbooks (cont.)

Help! what should I write about in my RWB?

    o There should be written comments on every page of your RWB, even if you just write the date! o You should make comments on your feelings, how your work is progressing and what successes you have had. You should also write about any research or technical problems you have encountered (eg how to create a realistic 3D „space‟ in a drawing) and how you have solved these.

    o You should make comments on your attitudes about life, social, cultural and political concerns. Think about the big world outside school and IB! The RWB is yours, so it should reflect your beliefs! These comments can be related to art you are researching or artwork that you are producing. o You should write about any connections you might see between Art and your other IB subjects: Literature, Science, ToK etc. Make links across the curriculum and follow up your ideas! For instance, the study of blood cells in Biology might inspire some prints of tiny natural objects, the contour lines or grids in maps from Geography might be combined into landscape drawings, the description of characters in a novel might inspire a series of imaginative portraits etc….

    o You should make notes on which materials you have used in your studio work experiments. The type of paper, the type of medium, what type of glue gives the best results, which clay you used and how wet it was, which glaze and what temperature it was fired to, etc. This will save you a lot of time when later you need a specific result!

    o When trying out any new medium; inks, graphite, chalk pastel, oil bars etc. experiment with it, find out what you can do with it (by drawing in your RWB) and make notes about what you discover. Imagine that you are carrying out a scientific experiment and recording your results. However….

    When you are writing in your RWB, don‟t forget that the IB is an academic course and that your

    written notes should reflect that. Describe your feelings, successes and failures, comment upon your own progress, and your ideas about life but DON‟T use slang or informal English! Remember that this

    is your RWB, but it‟s not being written for your friends an IB examiner will be reading it!

Always try to use the correct art vocabulary in your RWB. Look at for a great

    example of an Art-specific dictionary online. There are some pages explaining art vocabulary later in this booklet.

Studio Work:

This is all the larger scale ‘finished’ artwork that you will produce outside your RWBs.

More to come about this as the course progresses!

Writing about Artworks Do‟s and Don‟ts

    Don’t… Do…

    Write essays on the artist’s life history Make notes on why you’re looking at this artist…

    (date of birth, favourite football team etc..) Anyone what you admire, what you don‟t how this artist‟s work relates

    with Encarta could do this. A few biographical to your Studio Work. Make your research personal to your details are useful, but are not essential. particular project.

    Photocopy loads of artworks Choose one or two good artworks …

    and stick them into your RWB with no written annotate them and make copies of them (to practice brush analysis or other information. technique, colour mixing or something similar).

    … and forget to write the titles down! include the artist‟s name, title of the artwork, year, medium

    and where you found it (web address or book title and page).

    Treat your RWB like an exercise book Think about your research in a visual way…

    Don‟t produce blocks of writing, underlined, with no use colour, headings and images to complement your notes.

    visual consideration or interest. Compose the pages so that they look interesting and varied.

    Write without checking the facts! Use the correct vocabulary

    Make sure that you are accurate about dates, media i.e. „tone’ is more accurate that „light and shadow‟. Remember

    used and especially the gender of your chosen artist! that at IB level, you will be assessed on the quality of your

    written work! Don‟t be afraid to use adjectives, especially when

    evaluating an artwork (giving your opinion).

    Plagiarise Include one or two relevant quotations

    (include quotations from other writers as if they are (e.g. the artist writing about his / her ideas OR a well-known your own words). This is always obvious to the critic) and always use quotation marks. Include the name of the reader. person who you are quoting and write down where you found it.

    Writing terms and techniques… tasks you will be asked to complete:

    To make short notes explaining or clarifying a point or drawing the viewers attention to To annotate

    something of relevance (e.g. „the wide range of tones here adds drama and interest‟).

    To look closely and in detail at an artwork, noting down as many points as you can about the To analyse

    piece. These points might cover things like: (see next

    page) o Composition (the organisation of shapes within the work)

    o Use of colour / tone

    o Medium used (oil paint, photography, pastel)

    o Mood or emotion created

    o Content / narrative (what‟s happening in this artwork? Is there a story?)

    o Issues covered (i.e. political, social, religious issues?)

    To analyse two or more artworks at once, focusing on the similarities and differences To compare

    between them. This is often easier than analysing a single artwork. and contrast

    To make personal judgements about the artwork and to give your reasons i.e. Do you like To evaluate

    the artwork? Why? What is good about it? What is not so good? The reasons for this will, of

    course, come from your analysis.

Analysing Artworks: A Step-by-Step Guide

    ; Follow these steps, answer all the questions and you can‟t go wrong!

    ; Remember that your own drawings/copies of the artwork should accompany ALL written analysis.

    o Are some parts of the composition full of shapes and 1: First Reaction

    some parts empty, or are the shapes spread evenly Write down your first response to the artwork. across the artwork? o Do you like it? o Are some shapes repeated or echoed in other parts of o How does it make you feel? the artwork? o Does it remind you of anything you have seen before? o Does the whole composition look full of energy and

    2: Description movement, or does it look still and peaceful? How did

    the artist create this movement/stillness? List what you can see in this artwork. o What is the centre of interest in the composition? o Figures, colours, shapes, objects, background etc. o How does the artist draw your attention to it? o Imagine you are describing it to a blind person. Do Mood / Emotion: this in as much detail as possible. o What do you think the artist wanted you to feel when 3: Formal Analysis you look at this artwork?

    o What has he/she used to create a mood? (think about Write down your observations in more detail, looking at colour, shape, tone etc.) these specific aspects of the artwork: o How has he/she succeeded in creating this mood? (For Colours: example, strong vivid colours might be used to create o which type of palette has the artist used: is it bright or a joyful or angry mood in an artwork, depending upon dull, strong or weak? how the artist has used them). o are the colours mostly complementary, primary, o Could the same mood have been created in a different secondary or tertiary? way? How could you change this? o Which colour(s) are used most in this artwork? o Which colour(s) are used least in this artwork? 4: Interpretation o Are the colours used different ways in different parts Now write down your personal thoughts about the work: of the artwork? there are no „right‟ or „wrong‟ answers here! o Have the colours been applied flat, „straight from the o What do you think the artist is trying to say in this tube‟, or have different colours been mixed? artwork? what does it mean? Tones: o What is the main theme or idea behind this piece? o is there a use of light / shadow in this artwork? o If you were inside this artwork, what would you be o where is the light coming from? where are the feeling / thinking? shadows? o does the artwork have a narrative (tell a story)? is it a o Are the forms in the artwork realistically modelled religious artwork? (does it look 3D)? o is it abstract? is it realistic? Why? o is there a wide range of tonal contrast (very light o How would you explain this artwork to someone else? highlights and very dark shadows) or is the tonal

    range quite narrow (ie mostly similar tones)? 5: Evaluation

    Use of media: Based upon what you have observed already, give your o what medium has been used (oil paint, acrylic, opinion of the artwork. You MUST give reasons. Eg: charcoal, clay etc)? o “Franz Marc has created an effective expressive o How has the artist used the medium ie is the paint painting, because the hot colours and lively applied thick or thin? How can you tell? brushmarks he has used add to the overall feeling of o Can you see brushstrokes, markmaking or texture? energy and excitement he is trying to create.” Describe the shape and direction of the brushstrokes / o “The overall mood of this drawing would be improved marks. What size of brush / pencil was used? if Kathe Kollowitz had used strong, dramatic shadows, o Was it painted, drawn, sculpted quickly, or slowly and instead of just pale tones. Dark tones would develop painstakingly? What makes you think this? the feeling of fear and loneliness in this image.” Composition (organisation of shapes): o Picasso has used sharp, stabbing, geometric shapes in o what type of shapes are used in this artwork (ie some areas of his composition to create a sense of rounded, curved, straight-edged or geometric shapes)? violence and distress within „Guernica‟. These make o Is there a mixture of different types of shapes or are the figures and animals seem more vulnerable, as if in all the shapes similar? pain and suffering while under attack.”

Writing about Painting A glossary of useful terms:

    o Alla Prima the paint is applied in one layer only; there are no under-layers or over-working. The

    work of the Fauves was often alla-prima; their energetic, spontaneous style suited this method of


    o Gestural A loose, energetic application of paint which relies on the artist‟s movements to make

    expressive marks on the canvas. This is supposed to be a very personal and unique way of working

    - almost like handwriting. Look at artists like Cy Twombly or Antoni Tapies for examples. o Glaze (or Wash) a semi-transparent layer of thinned paint. Many traditional painters like

    Michaelangelo made use of this technique to create the subtle tones of skin or fabric. For a more

    modern use of the glazing technique, look at the abstract, gestural paintings of Helen Frankenthaler. o Impasto a thick layer of paint, often applied in several layers with a brush or palette knife. Look

    at the dense, textural brushwork of paintings by artists like Gillian Ayres or Frank Auerbach. o Plein-aire a painting which has been made outside, often quite quickly, to cope with changing

    weather, light effects etc. The Impressionists were the first artists to paint outdoors, rather than in

    their studios. Before this, however, many artists had sketched outdoors in preparation for painting;

    the oil sketches of Constable are an excellent example.

    o Pointillist the use of many tiny dots of pure colour which seem to „blend‟ when seen at a distance.

    Georges Seurat‟s work is the most famous example of this almost-scientific technique. Look also at

    the paintings of his pupil, Paul Signac.

    o Scumbling a thin glaze of paint dragged over a different colour, so that both layers of paint can be

    seen, giving a luminous, glowing effect. Abstract painters like Mark Rothko made use of this


    o Sfumato literally means „smoked‟ in Italian; the use of heavy, dark tones to suggest mystery and

    atmosphere. Rembrandt‟s late self portraits are a superb example of this technique in practice.

    o Sketch A quick painting, often made in preparation for the „final version‟. See also „plein-aire‟.


    The way in which the artist uses the brush to apply paint. Brushwork can be loose, energetic,

    controlled, tight, obsessive, repetitive, random etc.


    1. A wooden or plastic tray, used for mixing colours when making a painting.

    2. The choice of colours in a painting ie „van Gogh uses a pure and vivid palette in his Arles


    Tone’ or ‘tonal’

    1. The elements of light and shadow in an artwork ie „Kathe Kollowitz‟s etchings use strong, dense

    tones to create an intense, sorrowful mood.

    2. The range of tones within an artwork ie „Rembrandt‟s later portraits use a very dark tonal range’.


    The surface that a painting or drawing is produced on. Supports can be paper, card, wood, canvas, metal etc. ie „Antoni Tapies‟s paintings sometimes look as if they have been attacked. The support is

    often violently torn, ripped and stabbed into.‟

    The Regent‟s School IB VISUAL ART

     Student Guide page 8

Writing about Colour A glossary of useful terms:

    o Primary colours: red, yellow and blue. Primary colours can be used to mix a wide range of colours. There are cool and warm primary colours. (ie warm cadmium red and cool vermilion red

    OR warm primary yellow and cool lemon yellow.

    o Secondary colours: orange, green and purple. Secondary colours are mixed by combining two primary colours.

    o Complementary colours: pairs of opposite colours on the colour wheel: green-red, blue-orange and yellow-purple. Complementary colours are as contrasting as possible (ie there is no yellow at all in the colour purple). Painters like Andre Derain and van Gogh often made use of the contrasts of complementary colours in their paintings.

    o Tertiary colours: A wide range of natural or neutral colours. Tertiary colours are created by mixing two complementary colours together. Tertiary colours are the colours of nature: skin, plants, wood, stone etc.

    o Tones: are created by adding black to any colour. (ie maroon is a tone of red). o Tints: are created by adding white to any colour. (ie pink is a tint of red).

    o Palette: the choice of colours an artist makes; ie „Van Gogh uses a vivid palette to paint his Arles


    o Limited palette: the selection of only a few colours within an artwork; ie „In this drawing, Matisse has used a limited palette of ultramarine blues and purples to create a moody, subdued atmosphere.‟

    o Broad palette: the use of a wide range of different colours within an artwork; ie „Kandinsky‟s paintings are instantly recognisable for their use of geometric shapes, but also for the broad palette of colours he employs.‟

    o Tonal range: the range of tones in an artwork from light to dark. A wide tonal range would include all tones from white to black. A narrow tonal range would include only pale tones, only mid tones or only dark tones; ie „Kathe Kollowitz‟s etchings make powerful use of a narrow tonal range to

    create oppressive, dark images.‟

    o Opacity: the density or thickness of the colour used; if the colour is strong and nothing can be seen beneath it, the colour is said to be opaque. Acrylic and oil colours are often opaque. o Transparency: thin, transparent colour, with perhaps other colours, shapes and lines visible beneath it. Watercolour paintings typically use transparent colour.

o Useful adjectives you might use when describing COLOUR:

    Saturated, bright, pure, vivid, strong, harsh, dramatic, vibrant, brilliant, intense, powerful. Muted, subtle, gentle, dull, soft, watery, subdued, delicate, gloomy, tertiary, faded, limited.

    The Regent‟s School IB VISUAL ART

     Student Guide page 9

Writing About Cultural Values Attached To The Arts

    Useful terms to consider:

    When the arts of the past are seen in museums, they are effectively detached from the life of the culture within which they originated. If you only see these art objects in books or photographs, it is very difficult to see them as a „real‟ part of a living culture. To begin to understand the meanings various arts had for the societies they came from, consider the following values:

    RELIGIOUS VALUES: Arts were often essential to the belief systems of many cultures; for example: statues of gods/deities, temples, icons, altarpieces, masks, music, dances etc.

SOCIAL VALUES: Arts often symbolised group identity and pride; for example: banners,

    headdresses, tattooing, flags, chants, anthems etc.

    PSYCHO-EMOTIONAL: Arts sometimes provided assurance of the continuity of life; for example: portraits, epic poetry, mythological tales, hymns etc.

    USEFUL or PRACTICAL VALUES: Art was often an integral aspect of functional objects, both in shape and decoration; for example: knives, pottery, lamps, buildings etc.

    SENSUAL VALUES: Arts provided a direct source of sensual pleasure and perhaps an intrinsically aesthetic response; for example: textiles, clothing, sculpture, music etc.

    EDUCATIONAL VALUES: Arts were frequently a means of transmitting the values, attitudes and history of a culture; for example: cave painting, frescoes, illuminated manuscripts, epic poetry, historic drama, tribal dance etc.

DECORATIVE VALUES: Arts were used to enhance people‟s appearance or to beautify the

    environment; for example: jewellery, wall-hangings, tapestries, clothing etc.

COMMUNICATION VALUES: Arts reached the illiterate for whom the written word was

    meaningless; for example: friezes, stained glass windows, mosaics etc.


    Medieval cathedrals integrated most of the values above.

    The cathedrals were the focus of the religious life of the community even as they were being built by hundreds of ordinary people and skilled craftsmen over long periods of time. The towers symbolically rose high above the town and, within the walls, the sculpture and stained glass windows stirred the emotions of the faithful. Processions with banners, chants and the Mass, with its music, poetry and drama, integrated the arts and values of the culture. All of this gave meaning and continuity to the otherwise impoverished lives of the common people.

    The Regent‟s School IB VISUAL ART

     Student Guide page 10

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