Descriptive Essay Example

As you know you have a descriptive essay due based on  one object you viewed at the Hess Collection or di Rosa. If you did not attend the field trip, you can go on your own to view the collection. The guidelines can also be found in your packet near the end and also in this blog under gallery report.

Below you’ll find an example of a well done essay. It’s slightly long, but filled with great content.


2D essay example

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Gallery Report

The report is a description of artwork you view in person. If you cannot make the field trip to the Hess Collection, you can go on your own. Please include an image of the artwork.

Gallery Report Guidelines Two Dimensional Design

I. Responding to a Work of Art:

The first thing a student needs to do is to start looking at works of art by visiting museums, galleries or any other spaces that display art. The next step in the process of choosing a work of art to write on is to choose a work of art that that peaks your interest and is thought provoking, it makes it easier to write a more interesting paper. Once you found a work of art that you respond to, and then you will begin to analyze and reflect on that work of art and scrutinize its surface appearance, content and meaning.


Write down notes when you view the artwork. Start taking notes: write the name of the artist, the title, the year, the medium and the dimensions of the artwork. All of this information is usually provided in the label by the artwork. Recording details of your reaction is important to your writing your paper; don’t depend on your memory. It is important to include many details about your experience and about the artwork. If allowed take a photograph of the work of art, if not try your best to sketch the artwork, recording specifics colors, shapes, and composition.


In your description of the artwork, use the terms that make up form we have covered in class. You will need to use the terms of the elements of art: line, shape, value, texture and color. Also you will need to describe the principles of organization: balance (what type does it contain), unity, variety, rhythm, proportion and scale. Make sure the terms you use are applied accurately to the description of the work of art. Do not simply write, “This painting has these formal elements of line, shape and color.” You need to be specific for example, “ Japanese artist, Utagawa Kunisada, used various types of lines that are bold, thick and jagged to represent the fierce looking figure, in the woodblock print, Shoki the Demon Queller.” Avoid making general responses like the work is “beautiful”. You will include your reaction towards the artwork, which may a variety of emotions, positive or negative.

II. Writing the analysis: Organization        

When you are ready to write your analysis, first you need to arrange your notes so you can draw from them in the following steps of the writing process. Your notes should include the following categories.

Name of work                               subject matter                      principles of design

Name of artist(s)                           artistic style used                 social/political context

Media utilized                               formal elements                   historical context

III. The Introduction:

The introduction should supply the basic information that describes the work of art; name of artist, title of the artwork, the medium or media utilized in the work of art, the subject matter or content that your analysis focuses on.

IV. The Body:

  • The body paragraphs should expand on the description utilizing the terms of each of the appropriate elements of design and the principles of organization.

The elements of art are line, shape, value, texture and color.

The principles of organization are balance, proportion, dominance,

movement and economy which create space to produce unity.

  •  Then explore the content and meaning of the work of art, by analyzing how the artist used the media to emphasize the meaning and content in the work of art.
  • Also determine what art style is the work of art — representational, expressionistic, abstract, non-representational, surreal, or impressionistic. Some art works may exhibit a combination of styles.
  • You may want to expand on the content and meaning of the artwork if it is framed within a historical, mythical, cultural, social, political, or personal context.


V. The Conclusion:

  • This part of the paper is just as important as the rest of the paper.
  • Try to avoid just restating statements that you have previously made in the body of the paper.
  • This is your opportunity to provide an enlightening conclusion by drawing inference derived from the information that you’ve presented in your paper.
  • This is your chance to describe your emotional response to the work, why you chose it, what appeals to you and how it might influence your own work.


VI. Format:

  • The paper will be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font.
  • The body of the paper should be one-two pages.
  • On a separate page, include an image or sketch of the work of art.
  • If you used any reference sources, include a “Works Cited” page that includes, books, magazines, journals, web sites, or interview with artist, use the MLA style.


• Little research is required; it’s only necessary to place the artist into his/her historical context.

• This is not a biography of the artist so keep biographic information to a minimum.

• If an idea is not general knowledge and you did not think it up yourself then it must be footnoted.

• Avoid citing Wikipedia. It’s a good place to begin. Dig deeper for primary source material. In other words, look at the articles cited by Wikipedia.



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Linear Perspective: Brunelleschi’s Experiement

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Movement and Line – Bridget Riley


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Transfer Information
ASSIST is an online student-transfer information system that shows how course credits earned at one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California’s public colleges and universities and provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about student transfer in California.

You can find articulation agreements with private and independent colleges here as well.
National Portfolio Day

ARTS Associate of Arts with a Transfer Emphasis Degree

For more information, go to the 2012-2014 catalog on the NVC site:

Use the find function and search AA-T.

AA-T Studio Arts

This degree option provides a comprehensive foundation in the studio arts in preparation for transfer to a baccalaureate program in painting, drawings, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, photography, or other studio arts area in the California State University system.  To fulfill the requirements for this degree, students will complete required and elective lower division major preparation courses listed below and the appropriate general education pattern (CSU GE or IGETC certified for CSU).  Additional NVC graduation requirements do not apply to this degree. Students must pass all courses in the area of emphasis with a minimum of “C” and maintain an overall minimum 2.0 GPA.

Students pursuing this degree option must work with a counselor and faculty advisor to ensure appropriate elective course selections for their intended area of emphasis, e.g. Painting, Ceramics, Printmaking, etc.

 Total Units: 60

Total Units in Area of Emphasis: 24 units with 6 units double counting for CSU GE Area C-1.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this degree, the student should be able to:

  1. Critically analyze and evaluate historical and contemporary works of art, architecture, and design.
  2. Create art that engages and builds on historical and contemporary practices, theories, and materials.
  3. Translate concepts and visual experience into images or tactile forms.
  4. Present finished artwork for peer, professional, or academic review.
  5. Evaluate and critique artwork and receive criticism from others.
  6. Express artistic concepts and intents in written and oral formats.

Required Core Courses (12 units)

 Complete all of the following courses:

 ARTH 106: Art History: Ren to Contemporary (3)*

ARTS 100: 2-D Foundations (3)

ARTS 101: 3-D Foundations (3)

ARTS 110: Fundamentals of Drawing (3)

List A.  Art History Electives (3 units)

Select one course totaling 3 units from the following:

 ARTH 105: Art History: Prehistoric to Medieval / 3*

ARTH 130: Survey of Asian Art (3)*

ARTH 135: World Art (3)*

List B: Studio Arts Electives (9 units)

Select 9 units from at least three of the following course groups:


ARTS 140  Intro Ceramics: Handbuilding (3)

ARTS 141: Intro Ceramics: Throwing (3)


ARTS 120:  Intro to Painting (3)


ARTS 111:  Figure Drawing  (3)

ARTS 112:  Creative Drawing (3)


ARTS 130:  Intro Printmaking (3)


ARTS 150:  Sculpture (3)

ARTS 145:  Clay Sculpture (3)

Digital Art

DART 120:  Intro to Dig. Art & Graphic Design (3)


PHOT 121: Intro to Darkroom Photography (3)

PHOT 150: Intro to Digital Photography (3)


ARTS 105:  Color Theory (3)

Other Studio Arts

DART 130:  Intro to Digital Imaging (3)

*Courses marked with an asterisk count towards CSU GE Area C-1 requirements. 

 Typical Pattern of Study for Students:

Students pursuing transfer through the AA-T degree in Studio Arts must carefully select their lower division courses to ensure that they fulfill the appropriate prerequisite to junior-level courses in their area of emphasis.

The following provides sample patterns and sequences of study for students interested in particular areas of emphasis.

 Painting and Drawing Emphasis

First Year (12 units):

Fall (6 units)

ARTH 106: Renaissance to Contemporary

ARTS 100: 2-D Foundations

Spring (9 units)

ARTH 105, 130, 140, 150, or 210

ARTS 101: 3-D Foundations

ARTS 110: Fundamentals of Drawing

Second Year (12 units):

Fall (6 units)

ARTS 120: Intro to Painting

ARTS 111: Figure Drawing, 112: Creative Drawing, or 105: Color Theory

Spring (3 units)

ARTS 105, 111, 112, 130, or 220 or DART 120

Ceramics Emphasis

First Year (12 units):

Fall (6 units)

ARTH 106 : Renaissance to Contemporary (3)

ARTS 100: 2-D Foundations (3)

Spring (9 units)

ARTH 105, 130, 140, 150, or 210

ARTS 101: 3-D Foundations (3)

ARTS 110: Fundamentals of Drawing (3)

Second Year (12 units):

Fall (6 units)

ARTS 140 or 141: Intro Ceramics (3)

ARTS 150: Intro to Sculpture (3)

Spring (3 units)

ARTS  141,145, 111, 112, or 240

Photography Emphasis

First Year (12 units):

Fall (6 units)

ARTH 106 : Renaissance to Contemporary (3)

ARTS 100: 2-D Foundations (3)

Spring (9 units)

ARTH 105, 130, 140, 150, or 210

ARTS 101: 3-D Foundations (3)

DART 120: Intro to Digital Art(3)

Second Year (12 units):

Fall (6 units)

PHOT 121 or 150 (3)

ARTS 110: Fundamentals of Drawing (3)

Spring (3 units)

PHOT 121 or 150 (3) or ART 130

Additionally, students pursuing any of the above areas of emphasis may take ARTS 270 for 1 unit in their last semester.  This course focuses on the development of comprehensive, competitive portfolios for transfer, artist statements, web presence, and other related topics.  This unit is not required for the degree, but is strongly encouraged.

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Golden Mean and Fibonacci

Donald in Mathmagicland

Phi’s the Limit

Fibonacci Video

A Quick Animation of the Fibonacci Spiral

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Examples of Good and Bad Design

pm am

On your assigned day you’ll bring in an example of great design or something that could be made better. The examples can be fine art, industrial, graphic or digital design, architecture, craft — any item that’s designed. You can bring the actual object, a photo, online content or any other way we might experience it. Be prepared to explain what makes it successful or not so successful.


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