Art Lesson Plan: Artist Research - Timeline

Artist Research

Submitted by: William Van Horn, Prairie Grove Middle School in Arkansas
UNIT: Art History - Artist Research - Technology
Grade level: Middle school and up (adaptable to elementary)

Title: What the heck is that artist up to?
(In conjunction with Building an Art History Timeline)
Grades: 7-12

Drawing Pencils .
Printmaking Paper . (standard and glossy photo), Scratchboard . , Scratchboard Tool Kit .
Microsoft Word (or other document software)

• Computer with Internet access and color
Printer .
• Handouts: Example of short biography with bibliography (
Student handout )
• Optional: books and
Digital Camera . or scanner

• Search engines - Internet programs to search by keywords for relevant sites
La Reverie by Renoir • Keyword - descriptive words to use with search engines (e.g., "+art +picasso +images")
• Jpeg, GIF - formats of graphic images on web sites
• Biography - life history of a person
• Bibliography - list of sources for research paper
• Expressionism - art style that portrays emotions or elicits an emotional (Frankenthaler, Pollock, Joan Mitchell )
• Surrealism - art style where the objects are distorted or in odd juxtapositions to each other (Dali, de Chirico, Magritte)
• Naturalistic representation - object in artwork looks like object being represented
• Abstract art - Mondrian, Rothko, O'Keeffe)
• Pop art - art style that uses and "glorifies" images from popular culture (Warhol, Lichtenstein, Johns)
• Marginalized art - art that has traditionally not been accepted by the mainstream art culture (Chicago, Kahlo, folk art, art of people with disabilities, African and/or Asian art)


Each student will look up an artist on the Internet and choose an artwork (medium of artwork depends on the art-making assignment) to print and talk about. Each student will write a short biography (with a bibliography) of the artist. (Biography and print will be placed on the timeline.)


Objectives (Arkansas Dept. of Education Art Standards):
• Identify different styles used for artwork, including non-traditional artistic styles (1.1.8,
• Use the search engines on the Internet to research an artist (1.3.8)
• Write a short biography of artist and the culture, including bibliography (1.2.10, 1.3.12
• Identify artwork and print out hard copy - save information about image - learn about copyright and fair use of images
• Present to class an artist and artist's use of techniques in artwork

• Describe the process and the objectives of the assignment
• Show reproductions of art work of different "schools" of thought, including non-traditional artistic styles
• Discuss the relation of the styles to the impact of the work
• Discuss biographies and purpose of bibliography
• Biography will include dates and place of birth and death, significant events in the artist's life (e.g., schooling, friends, economic situation, health), social and political events (e.g., war, scientific and geographic discoveries, attitude of culture), and a brief critique of artist's artistic influences and stylistic growth

• Demonstrate use of search engine, downloading and printing images, saving bibliography information


Research and report (
See student handout ):
• Search on Internet for artist and artwork to report on
• Gather information and write, using word processor, a one page biography with attached bibliography
• Give oral report to class on artist and how he or she used pencil or lines in their drawing (or whatever element/principle you are discussing).
• Place in correct spot of timeline - include image documentation on the artist's work.

• Discuss the artists on the
timeline in relation to each other

Critique questions:
• What problems did you have with searching for artists and/or using the Internet?
• Why did you choose the artist that you did? What would you ask the artist if you had a chance to meet?
• What differences and similarities do you see between the artists?
• What did you learn? What was the reason for this assignment?
• How else could you use the Internet for finding out information?



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