The   Art   of   the   United   States
The art of the United States is very comprehensive, so keep watching
this website for more entries on this page.  You'll learn some art
history and get lots of project ideas to reinforce your understanding
of the art of the United States.  You will find American Landscape Painting,
Cowboy Art, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Op Art, Happenings, Conceptual,
Minimal, Decorative and other American Art Movements and exercises on
this page, that is still under construction. There will also be 
individual American artists of interest such as Robert Henri, Georgia
O'Keefe, and others.  You will also find early American Quilts and 
other pioneer arts, and a couple of very well known American illustrators
Walt Disney, and Norman Rockwell information and exercises in the weeks
to come.  Keep Watching!!!

After World War II,  the art world's attention centered toward New York as it
became the world art capital for the first time.  It was Abstract
Expressionism that placed the art of the United States in that 
prestigious spotlight.  Before this time the Abstractionist movement
had centered in Europe.   It was the American,
Jackson Pollock, who is probably the most widely known and controversial
of the Abstract Expressionist movement.  For Jackson Pollock the
action or process of painting was important.  He also was the first
painter to paint abstractly on such a huge canvas, and used non-traditional
mediums and artist's tools.  His works such as "Autumn Rhythm,"
show the interest for Pollock in eliminating the traditional foreground,
middle ground, and background. It helped people to see that a painter
did not have to have recognizable subject matter to have "content"
or "meaning," in a abstract work of art.  His paintings show
a sense of rhythm (he moved around quickly, as though he was dancing,
when he painted his works of art) in his work.  Pollock was influenced
by the traditional American landscape painters, known as the Regionalist,
and by Native American sand paintings.

Project Idea

Abstract Painting

1.  Get a long sheet of butcher paper and lay it on the floor.
2.  Fill a bucket with Black Tempera paint.  
3.  Find some non traditional object to "paint" with (sticks,
and house paint stirrers (they are free from hardware stores), or
house paint brushes.)
4.  Turn on some music and "paint" what the sounds look like, move
around and have fun.

You can also create this project above by using a pencil and a long sheet of paper
on top of the desk.  Let your hand "go with the music, and influence
your drawing style."

A hard-edge Abstractionist style followed Jackson Pollock's loose,
free flowing style.  Ellsworth Kelly is a good example of this style.
Look for links below which will help you to understand the hard-edge

A project that will help you to understand this very geometric style
is outlined below:

1.  Find a favorite painting or photograph.  Find circles, squares,
triangles, or spheres, cylinders, and conical shapes within your
painting or photograph.  
2.  Create an abstract painting just using those geometric shapes.
3.  Cut out circles (spheres), cylinders, conical, triangular, and
square shapes from construction paper.
4.  Arrange them onto another sheet of construction paper. 
(optional-paint them rather than using construction paper)
5.  Arrange them in the same order that you find the represent
ational items.  For instance, if you are using a circle and rectangular shape
to represent a person and they are in they are placed in the center 
of the composition, place the geometric shapes in the 
center also.
6.  Experiment with colors to create a sense of depth and space. Warm
colors, red-yellow-orange (those colors which are warm in nature, fire,
the sun etc.) tend to advance toward the viewer.  Cool colors, green-blue-violet (those
colors which are cool in nature, like water, the sky, grass) tend to
recede in the distance.


America is a land blessed with beautiful National Parks and nature
to explore.  Early European Americans were very excited about exploring
this new land and a few artists, such as Thomas Moran, who painted "Grand Canyon of 
of the Yellowstone,"  were not only successful in leaving us a record of this beautiful landscape,
but also helped to convince Congress-
through their paintings-to preserve much of the Yellowstone 
and Yosemite
areas.  According to the National Gallery of Art Congress paid $10,000
for "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone."
See the National Gallery of Art website for more information
about Thomas Moran and this painting.  You will find a virtual
trip of his explorations and life.  

You can find information about the Hudson River Painters and Luminists
artists by clicking on the links below.  Be sure to copy the art history
lookers guide before going to these pages so you will have it to use
when you are at the museums on line.  You'll also find some interesting
sites that will give you more information about the National Parks,
and Westward exploration.


Imagination Vacation

1. Imagine that you are on Vacation at a National Park.  Paint or Draw
a picture of what you imagine it to look like.  

Nature Journal and Notebook

1.  Cut two 9" x 12" pieces of cardboard.  Make 3 holes on the left
hand side with a hole-puncher.  Put several sheets of lined, punched 
paper between the two cardboard sheets, creating a journal and sketch-
book.  Attach the notebook paper to the cardboard sheets with jute or
robe.  Create a collage of nature on the front.  
2.  Now it is time to fill the journal-sketchbook with drawings and
stories, or poems, or just thoughts about nature.
3.  Look at the work of Catlin (you will find the link below) who 
traveled with the Native Americans and kept extensive journals and

Nature Box

1.  Using a shoebox or other recyclable box create a nature box of
a animal that is danger of becoming extinct.
2.   Paint a background, and use paper, and sculpture (found objects also) to create an
assemblage box that will help people to become aware of the dangers
of losing valuable animals, birds, or other natural wonders such
as oceans, rivers, or vegetation.
3.  You'll find links about endangered species below.

Rock Sculpture and Characters

1.  Find rocks of various shapes and create villages, or characters
(animals and people) by adding paints, doll's eyes, soft foam, or
paper items to them.

Quilting (and other American Pioneer Art)

The Early American pioneers kept diaries of their experiences in the
new land.  They also told of their experiences through Quilts.
Often women would have Quilting Bees in which a community would come
together to create a Welcome Quilt for a new person in the community.
Fabrics from their daily lives were used and sometimes quilts told
stories about the pioneer's struggles and joys in the new land of 
America.  Today, the Amish people and many others still make quilts.
There is a famous quilt that travels around America which tells the
story of many people who have suffered from Aids.  See the links
below to learn more about Quilt making.

Quilt Project

1.  Create a classroom quilt.
2.  Decide what the theme of the quilt will be.  Will it be a welcome
quilt, a hope and dream quilt, a flags of the world quilt?
3.  Each child should create one square from a single sheet of
construction or 8 l/2 x ll sheet of paper.
4. Glue the squares together.  Use construction paper strips to
create frames.
5. You will need to decide the dimensions before starting.  It may
require that you cut the squares into fourths before gluing.
6.  Display the quilt in your school library.

Weather Vanes

Weather Vanes were very popular in Early America.  In England, 
where many of the early pioneers had left, only the very wealthy
could own and use weather vanes.
Weather Vanes are still enjoyed but seen mostly in Folk museums and
in country settings. It was often the Blacksmith who created the
weather vanes.  You can make one by following the directions below.

1.  Using recycled cardboard (light weight) create an early American
scene.  Cut the cardboard in a pendant flag shape.
2.  Attach a long wooden dowel to the side of the weather vane.
3.  Place the dowel into a recycled Styrofoam base, and paint it, 
labeling the various wind directions-N, S, E, and W in the correct

These Links Enhance the Projects Outlined Above

Virtual Trip of the Grand Canyon by Thomas Moran from the National Gallery of Art (Smithsonian)
Yellowstone Falls-
From the National Gallery of Art (Smithsonian) Be sure to print your Museum's Lookers Guide before visiting this link.
Jackson Pollock on the Web Museum
White House for Kids
Visit Colonial Williamsburg-See Quilts, Weathervanes and lots more
Visit the National Parks on this Site
You will find a great Exhibit about the Hudson River School of Painters
Statue of Liberty Museum
Viet Nam Memorial Curriculum Kits

Art Project Ideas for Individual States in America.



Before Visiting the "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone" Painting Below, Print the Museum Looker's Question Guide

"Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone"
from the National Gallery of Art-
See Brief Outline and Project Suggestions Above

Museum Looker's Guide

1.  Look and study this painting very closely.  Write a letter to a
friend who has never seen this painting and describe for them what
it looks like.  Give them a mind's eye view of it.
2.  Would you like to visit this place?  Why?
3.  Have you ever visited the Grand Canyon?  Paint or Draw a picture
about your trip.
4.  What do you think that the people are talking about that are in the
5.  What colors do you see?  What time of year do you think it is?
6.  Do you find diagonal lines?
7.  Why do you think that the painter has painted the people so small?
8.  Imagine that you are in the painting, standing on the cliffs where
the people are standing.  What do you think you would be talking about?
9.  Is the texture of the painting bumpy or rocky?
10. What has the artist done to create a sense of wide open space, and
grandeur in the painting?
11. Why do you think that the artist has painted this scene?
12. What does the painting "say" to you, or make you think about?

Friends Across America Coloring Sheets of Each State

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