Previously in the Spotlight were works that represented a response to the Covid-19 pandemic’s disruption of K-12 art education. Working with art teachers in the Poughkeepsie City School District and Arlington Central School District to assess students’ needs for art supplies to use at home during remote learning, the Loeb’s education office donated materials for more than 800 students. Summer intern Polly Ellman (Williams College ’22) developed six lessons to accompany the supplies. Each lesson was described on a card providing tips for working with a different medium, prompts for writing, and hands-on activities, and features artwork from the Loeb's collection for inspiration.
All text from Loeb Lessons for K-12 Students
Pastel AND watercolor
Tomás Sánchez is known for his landscapes which depict nature as huge and grand. These landscapes often feature beautiful views of nature, including trees, water, and skies. Sánchez is concerned with protecting the environment, and this influences the art he makes. Painting is a type of meditation for Sánchez, and this meditation helps him feel more connected to nature. Today, Sánchez lives in Costa Rica, where he continues to make paintings and other works of art inspired by the nature around him.
Will Barnet is an artist known for his paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints. His work often features humans and animals in scenes that appear dream-like. He began his career as a Social Realist, meaning that he made paintings about life in the working class. Then he became involved in Abstract Expressionism, a style of art that focuses on freedom and self-expression. Later, he became more of a Minimalist and used simple forms in his artwork. Eventually, he went back to a more figurative or realistic style. Notice the gradient Barnet creates in his background by gradually blending from a darker color to a lighter one. This helps to move the viewer’s eye down to the stairs and the woman sitting on them.
Julian Martin is an artist known for his pastel drawings and self-portraits. Martin was diagnosed with autism at age 2. He began making art at the age of 10. As a young adult, he worked at Arts Project Australia, an organization devoted to helping artists with mental disabilities. Martin’s style involves images of faces that look like masks, as well as bold, flattened geometric forms. Self-taught artists like Martin have often been unrecognized by the art world and left out of museum collections, but that is changing. Notice Martin’s smooth blending and application of pastel in this work. There doesn’t seem to be an individual pastel mark anywhere in sight!
Born in the Netherlands, Henry Van Ingen and came to the United States in 1861. He later became Vassar College’s first professor of art. Throughout his artistic career, Van Ingen kept close ties to the Dutch art community and Dutch artistic styles. He was heavily influenced by the Hague School, a movement that emphasized landscapes, seaside scenes, and genre paintings of everyday life in the Netherlands. Van Ingen applied his Dutch artistic style to the subject matter of the scenic Hudson Valley.
Diego Rivera was a Mexican painter who was known for his murals, painted directly onto walls in public spaces. These murals helped to establish the muralism movement in Mexico and in international art. Rivera’s murals illustrate life in working class society as well as the events of the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910. Rivera’s style involves large, simplified figures and bold colors. The watercolor shown here is a much smaller artwork compared to Rivera’s murals. This painting, however, has similar themes of agriculture and labor in Mexican society. Notice how Rivera uses detailed lines layered over washes of multi-colored paint. This layering allows Rivera to communicate the details and textures of his painting while letting the pigments of his watercolor shine through.
Norman Lewis was an African American artist who was active in the New York art scene for much of the twentieth century. He began his career as a Social Realist painter, focusing on issues of poverty and race in society. Later, he was among the first Black artists in the Abstract Expressionism movement, a style that focuses on freedom and self-expression. Even as Lewis’s style shifted, he remained committed to fighting injustice through his art and his actions. In the mid-1960s, he co-founded the Spiral Group, an artists’ collective dedicated to helping the Civil Rights Movement and linking art and activism. In this quiet scene Lewis uses the blurry quality of the watercolor medium to echo the watery setting.
PEN AND CRAYON
William Trost Richards was an American painter associated with the Hudson River School, a group of painters active in the mid-nineteenth century who created idealized depictions of the American landscape, celebrating it as Sublime, or divinely beautiful. Richards was known for his detailed and grand paintings and drawings of the sea. This drawing of a cliff in Cornwall, England, was likely done on one of Richards’s many trips to Europe to view paintings by artists he admired. Notice how Richards places many lines close together to create shaded areas, while he spaces out his lines or leaves areas empty of pen altogether to create lighter regions.
Hiroyuki Doi is a Japanese artist who worked for many years as a chef. He began his artistic career later in life to cope with the loss of a loved one. He uses the medium of traditional Japanese ink painting, but also references self-taught art traditions of the West. In works like this one, Doi creates intricate compositions out of tiny circles. For Doi, these abstract circles refer to many different themes, including the soul, the cosmos, the coexistence of living creatures, cells making up an organism, human dialogue, and peace. Doi uses the tiny form of each individual circle to make up a much larger and complex whole. Notice how Doi’s miniscule pen circles combine to create larger patterns and areas of light and dark.
Dorr Bothwell was an American artist who traveled the world but spent much of her life making and teaching art in California. She worked in many different styles and materials and was very interested in the balance of light and dark in an artwork. The title of this drawing, Mandala, refers to a kind of diagram used in Buddhist and Hindu religion. Here, Bothwell creates a mandala by arranging fanciful hair sticks and combs around a thickly coiled bun. She uses pen and ink as well as watercolor paint. The lines that crisscross like a net or spiderweb are made with straight lines of the pen, and many short, curved strokes create the dark part of the yin-yang symbols on the hair sticks. Notice how Bothwell has adjusted her line to create the fine, silky-looking strands of hair and the tiny circles and squiggles that give a wooly texture to the sweater.
Ben Woitena is an American artist who lives in Houston. He works mainly as a sculptor and often creates huge sculptures out of steel. This pastel and crayon drawing is not Woitena’s typical medium, but it still has some similarities to his sculptures. For example, even though this work is two-dimensional, it features the same sharp, clean lines and energetic forms that can be seen in Woitena’s sculptures. Notice the thick application of crayon Woitena uses to create dense blocks of bright colors.
Diego Rivera was a Mexican painter who was known for his murals, painted directly onto walls in public spaces. These murals helped to establish the muralism movement in Mexico and in international art. Rivera’s murals were painted around Mexico and the United States. Many of them illustrate life in working class society as well as the events of Mexico’s 1910 Revolution. Rivera’s style involves large, simplified figures and bold colors. The portrait shown here is a much smaller artwork compared to Rivera’s murals. Still, it showcases Rivera’s signature style, which would influence art in Mexico and the United States. Notice how Rivera uses small, controlled crayon strokes to hide the individual marks he makes. Also, he often directs his crayon in the same direction of the form he’s coloring, making these shapes look even more three-dimensional.
Simon Tookoome was a Utkusiksalingmiut Inuit artist. He spent his youth in the Back River region of northern Canada. In the 1960s, he moved to Baker Lake, where he met advisors from a government program to promote the arts. Tookoome began to draw and carve stones and eventually became one of Baker Lake’s most well-known artists. He was admired for his unique and expressive style, in this drawing he combined crayon and pencil to create profiles composed of flat shapes and undulating lines. Many of Tookoome’s drawings act as illustrations of people’s inner thoughts. They also often combine human and animal subjects. Tookoome’s art is influenced by his childhood and old Inuit stories, and his artwork helps to keep these stories alive.