Arts & Activities  

      Color expert Dan Bartges is author of the book, "Color is Everything"
( Visit his website at
      Assignment 3 In A Series Of 10      

Just about anything you can place on a tabletop will make a suitable subject for a still life—a favorite toy from your childhood, your iPod®, a skateboard, even a glass of limeade. If the colors harmonize and you create contrasting values of darks and lights, then chances are that your painting will be successful.

This month, we're taking a look at two very different still-life paintings. To study them, all you'll need is a standard color wheel, available at any art-supply store.

HOW IT WORKS Each month, study the two featured paintings on this Web page and, with your color wheel, figure out their color schemes. Next, download and print the “Quiz Me!” document, write in your answers to the questions, then hand it in to your art teacher. The correct answers will be made available on next month’s Student Page.

      For a quick review of color-scheme basics, click here for an informative article: The Magic Moment.      
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Dan Bartges. Homemade Limeade. Oil.

Always keep an eye out for subjects to paint—they're all around you! I got the idea for this painting when making limeade for my daughter. I decided on a close-up composition because it draws the viewer into the process of making limeade, and shows off the duck on my favorite glass. The natural light across the kitchen counter seemed ideal, so for this painting I set up my easel in the kitchen and went to work.



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      Severin Roesen (American; ca. 1815–1872). The Abundance of Nature, ca. 1855. Oil on canvas; 56.125" x 40.125". Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art. Photo by Katherine Wetzel. ©Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

With beautifully orchestrated colors, shapes and shadows, this impressive still life was created about 150 years ago by Severin Roesen. Today, he's considered one of 19th-century America's major still-life painters, yet very little is known about Roesen's life. Emigrating from Germany in 1848, he lived for a while in New York City and settled in Williamsport, Pa., then a booming lumber town.

Like most of Roesen's paintings, this one has been carefully composed. A tall arrangement of fruits and flowers, its pyramidal construction provides a sense of order and stability.

Curiously, the artist's paintings are often filled with the exact same items, just in varying quantities and configurations. In several paintings, you might see the same slice of melon, cluster of grapes, bowl of berries, glass of wine or half a lemon.
      QUIZ ME!
Click here to download November's Quiz Me! document

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