Activities
Shape the Composition

Ask your students to review and discuss Harran II, 1967. What mood does this painting evoke?

a. With your students, discuss how they could create other rhythms or sensations with these shapes. For example: what shapes and colors would they use to create a composition that is: peaceful or energetic, relaxed or tense, balanced or unbalanced, wild or calm,  geometric or organic, symmetrical or asymmetrical? Students could choose their own descriptive word.

b. Copy and give each student square and quarter circle templates. Ask students to first draw shapes within the squares and quarter circles, then cut out the shapes and make a collage by joining the square and quarter circle shapes together in a configuration of their own design that evokes the descriptive word they selected. Students may want to draw shapes that follow the contours of the squares or quarter circles.

c. Have students use glue sticks to adhere the shapes to another sheet of paper or cardstock. .When they’ve made their collages, ask students to color the shapes, using colors that again evoke the word they chose to evoke the rhythm or sensation of their composition.

d. Ask students to find a partner and describe each other’s compositions. Have them discuss what makes their composition convey peacefulness, energy, relaxation, tension, wildness, calmness, etc.

e. Share and discuss students’ compositions. Is there anything in common among the compositions that are peaceful? Energetic? Relaxed? Tense? If so, what?

Frank Stella (b.1936), Harran II, 1967. Polymer and fluorescent polymer paint on canvas, 120 x 240 in. (304.8 x 609.6 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; gift, Mr. Irving Blum, 1982. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York