contraptions for drawing tone

this week my small daughter and i built two, large, light-weight  hanging sculptures for my first year students. the students are beginning to learn about seeing value, tone and texture in drawing.
our construction rules:
*13 freshman - two large objects to be drawn in vine and compressed charcoal.
*40 minutes for me and the girl to construct  two 6' - 0"  x  3'-0" contraptions for drawing.
* lots of folds and texture.
*60 minutes to find materials.
*20 minutes to hang in first year studio and light properly
*be inspired by eva hess and kathy kelley in 20 minutes
*have a great time.
*wait until thursday's studio to see what the students draw this week.

thing one
thing two
thing one detail
thing two detail
inspiration: kathy kelley, 2008
inspiration: eva hesse, 1968


  1. hi Helen, glad to find your blog, I am inspired, maybe enough to start my own!

    Love working small, how we can make gesture paintings like we used to do gesture drawings in class. your colors are gorgeous in field paintings

    at the Hammer Museum here in L.A. there is an Eve Hesse show of "spectre paintings" coming, I can't wait to see, I bet you would like them too...

    looking forward to seeing more,
    julia schwartz www.juliaschwartzart.com

  2. eva hess...such an inspiration. i enjoy working small and then big and then smaller and then bigger. or smaller but in a set group of 4 or 9 and painting those sets at the same time! a blog is so much fun, and a great place to put some thoughts out there...thank you for the kind words about the paintings. color is an interesting, and complex thing for me to study, and revisit and push.
    if my students give me permission, some of their drawings of these "things" are quite wonderful, and i would like to share them. all from some young men and women who, until 5 weeks ago had never held a piece of charcoal.

  3. Kathryn Kelley - Your work is an inspiration. And through this image, you helped 13 freshman, who have never picked up charcoal let alone draw think abstractly through drawing and seeing. The drawings they produced this week were wonderful. Thank you!