Charley Harper Shapes and Pattern

6 Nov


Charley Harper – 1922 – 2007
American Modern Artist
Felt restricted by “realism” – didn’t like to have to add shading, and make everything look 3D on paper. He felt limited.
Wildlife art was dominated by “realism”. He wanted to be different. He liked simple, flat, hard-edged shapes.

His favorite subjects of art was wildlife. Particularly birds. He observed them. Their environments. Their behavior.
His art was a combination of: SHAPES, COLOR COMBINATIONS, PATTERNS, TEXTURES that showed us, more about the animals in his art.
Where do you see shapes? Color combinations? etc.???
How do those elements of art (texture, shape and color) show the animal’s behavior, environment, or shape?

Ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
caterpillar on a leaf, a bird in a nest, an eagle with a fish in it’s claws, a bee on a flower, a sandpiper with it’s beak in the sand, birds on a wire, a robin with a worm in it’s mouth, blue jay on a branch, a woodpecker on a telephone pole…

The kids used cut paper and glue to layer their pieces of paper. They sketched their idea first to make sure that they were incorporating the chosen animal’s environment in to their design as well. The sketch was used to make sure that their animal was the right shape and fit well on the paper. The sketch also helped the children gauge how large to cut their paper pieces. Pattern was encouraged.

Closing Comments: I lead this lesson in both rm. 6/1st grade and rm. 7/3rd grade. The results were similar in ways and in other ways quite different. The 1st graders had a much more relaxed organic approach. Where the 3rd graders dove more in to the details and some struggled with just letting the piece come together even if it wasn’t “perfect” in their eyes.
Website: https://www.charleyharperprints.com/
Print used: Charley Harper 2012 Calendar
Room#, Grade, Teacher: Rm. 6, 1st, Wilson and Rm. 7, 3rd, Saltsman
Docent/s: Marcie Guthrie

Email: mar_seegu@comcast.net

Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Texture, Shape and Color, Charley Harper

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One Response to “Charley Harper Shapes and Pattern”

  1. lewisje May 23, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    The official website maintained by the Estate of Charley Harper is actually https://charleyharperartstudio.com/

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