The Pop Art movement was all about making art more accessible. This movement began in the 1950’s in England, and by the end of that decade reached the United States. Everyday mass produced objects from the world of advertising and comic books were typically represented. Andy Warhol, an American artist, was one of the leading figures in this movement and became famous for his paintings of Campbell’s Soup Cans, celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, and his silk screen prints. Since today is his birthday, let’s celebrate his work by painting some flowers and exploring repetition and colour in a Pop Art style.
Warhol used repetition in some of his work as a powerful way of commenting on consumption. This was seen in his treatment of products like the Campbell Soup Cans, and portraits of celebrities like Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. We will be making four versions of the same image, using different colour combinations. Have a look at Images of Andy Warhol’s Work to see examples of how he did this.
- pencil & eraser
- tracing paper
- 4 stretched canvasses (any size)
- acrylic paint & brushes
1. Once you have a good look at the type of work Warhol did, sketch some flowers in that style -big, bold, and simple, with little detail. Next, think of how you would like to fill your canvas. You can focus on just one flower, or several. Draw your final selection on one of your canvasses. You can copy it with tracing paper to transfer to your other 3 canvasses, so your image is exactly the same.
2. Now you need to think about colour and what works well together. Bright, bold colours are typically used in Pop Art and also in the photos above. You can leave the background white, combine complimentary colours eg. a red flower with a green background, a yellow flower with a purple background, a blue flower with an orange background, or simply choose colours that feel right for you. Have a look here for information about colour theory. You can also test out combinations with pencil crayons on a sheet of paper.
3. Mix your colours and paint your flowers and background. Kids love the end result, which always looks so impressive on canvas. And remember, if the colour combination looks ghastly, paint over your canvas with white, let it dry, and start again.
You may want to check out Pop Life, an exhibition currently going on at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, on until September 19, 2010.
For more information about Andy Warhol: