Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chuck Close-inspired Abe Painting

Chuck Close-inspired Abe Painting (photograph by Laura Hamilton)

Spring of 2015: 90+ 3rd graders and Ms. Noon studied American artist Chuck Close. Each student was assigned at least 2 paintings (6"x12") and had to recreate the image using only concentric shapes and the correct color palette and values. Chuck Close is an inspiring artist who has overcome a lot throughout his life. We viewed this short video    and looked at his book Chuck Close, Up Close.

Some key points from his life: Close has learning disabilities (dyslexia and face blindness). Because of his face blindness (he can't remember people's faces), he began painting huge portraits of people in such an accurate way they look like photographs ("photorealism"). Close's father died when he was 11 years old. In 1988, totally out of the blue, he suffered a rare spinal artery collapse. This injury is usually the result of a severe accident although he was not involved in any accident. Today he is paralyzed (quadriplegic). In the video you will see how me manages to paint on such a large scale still. Before the "event", he was starting to move towards a looser style. After it, he moved even more to an almost mosaic-style of concentric shapes that look abstract up close but as you step away shape the faces of many of his friends.

This 7' x 8' painting was a hit at the spring Fine Arts Festival. An Encinal family offered to give Abe a proper home and donated a generous amount to the Encinal PTO. Laura Hamilton photographed the piece along with the children so we can all enjoy "Abe" for years to come. Thank you Laura!

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