Photojournalist Susanna Raab

The two main aspects of what you see in a painting, drawing, or photograph, are form and content.

Form is what you see. Some examples are:

  • what is in the picture itself;
  • the colors/brightness/contrast chosen by the photographer;
  • the lighting (highlights, shadows, etc) that was used;
  • how the picture is arranged, such as zoom, angle, or overlapping; or
  • cropping: what you can see and what is cut off.

Content is what the image means. Some examples are:

  • your interpretation;
  • how you feel about the image;
  • what you think about when you look at the image;
  • how you think the photographer wants you to feel;
  • what the photographer wants you to notice; or
  • the emotion you get from the image.

Photojournalist Susana Raab has collections of photographs on her website listed under Projects. Choose one Project, look through the images, and write about it in terms of form and content.

A quesiton to get you started: What caught your eye in this Project collection?


Valentina Ramos

polaroid camera illustration

Out of Sight by Valentina (Ramos) Harper

I just discovered Valentina Harper (formerly Valentina Ramos) recently. I find her style absolutely gorgeous – the use of ink pens to add detail, texture, and intricate designs while still creating a strong image.

The above image is one of my favorites, for obvious reasons:) but she also has some beautiful drawings of animals and some that I could visualize as a beautiful design printed on fabric.

Check out her work: website | facebook | shop

Urban Art in Poland

One of my students sent me this video of Etam Cru, a Polish artist (or possibly group of artists) who created a huge mural to brighten up one of the neighborhoods in Lodz, Poland.

4×6 Exchange

The Independent Art class is participating in the 4×6 Exchange through the Art House Co-op.

Each student will make a piece of artwork that is 4 inches by 6 inches. We’ll send in our work, and receive artwork in exchange.

I’ll try to post some of our work before we send it out!

Painting Skin Tones

Painting skin tones can be really hard – you want to show the highlights, midtones, and shadows without making the face look flat.

One of the best recent examples I’ve seen of skin tones is by a blogger known as tdylan. The image below is his installation of self portraits, all paintings. Even though it’s his face over and over, you can see that he used different colors in the skin to emphasize highlights or shadows. The top left image uses reds and purples in the darker areas. The top right image uses white and yellow-orange to push the brights. Rarely is black used on its own; more often you will use black to darken a color like red or brown.

Black and White Portraits

Black and white is the most basic form of artwork, and therefore it is often the most challenging. Without bright colors to “distract” the viewer, they must be impressed with the artist’s handle on the very basics of art. How well did the artist capture an emotion, pay attention to and capture detail, compose an interesting image, or get his/her point across?

Your first project is to create a portrait of someone using only black and white. It can be traditional or experimental. It does not have to be strictly a person’s face; as Alfred Stieglitz shows with his photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe’s hands, you can tell a lot about people besides simply seeing their face.

Your goal should be to convey some sort of emotion through the style, shading, or arrangement on the page (composition).

by Arnold Newman
in the style of Richard Avedon
by Kristian Thacker (in the style of Richard Avedon)
by Chuck Close

by Alfred Stieglitz

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