Lost in Space
To help the student understand how artists use space to create
The "Lost in Space" theme is about the way artists use the picture plane (the front
wall of the picture scene) to depict two and three dimensions. As we saw in the
online examples, some artists use elements of perspective such as diminishing size,
atmospheric perspective, and two- and three-point perspective, to create the illusion
of depth. Other artists use the picture plane like a flat billboard on which to paint
images. We saw an example by

Abercrombie of placement of objects to create a shallow space
Armin of a crowded backdrop of buildings pushing forward toward the picture

Thecla of objects floating in an infinite space.
Have the students view and discuss how these uses of space and the picture plane
create a mood and either facilitate or prevent visual exploration of three-dimensional
space in each painting in the online unit. Each student will choose one of these
methods of creating space to implement in a painting. (Another option would be for
the students to explore together one method at a time).
Cast of Characters: Three Chicago Painters
L o s t in S p ac e --p a ge 1
(for three options): 1) objects strewn across a landscape
Draw a horizon line at the level of their choice (according to the viewer`s

Sketch in a group of chosen objects across the landscape. Objects at a dis-
tance may appear smaller than normal in comparison with similar objects up

Choose a light source within or without the picture (a moon or a light bulb,
or the direction of the sunlight.) It should also help you define the mood of
the picture.

Paint the landscape, shading according to the light source and diminishing
the sharpness and brightness of colors toward the distance.
2) large objects filling a space
Choose a subject for a landscape in which there are many trees, buildings,
mountains, or other large, tall objects close together.
Sketch the composition with a foreground, middleground, and background,
with a focus on a shallow space. (The horizon line will probably be low,
making it look like the viewer is surrounded.)
Draw the large objects and choose a light source (decide the direction the
light on the scene is going to come from, like the sun, moon, a bulb) for
shading and highlighting the objects.
Paint the picture, including enough details for identification of objects. Do
not include fine details that take away the force of the brushstrokes or break
the mood you are creating.
Tell a story with your landscape giving the viewer a sense of the place you
Grade Level:
Time Required:
20 min discussion, 1 period to print
Cast of Characters: Three Chicago Painters

Experiment with placing objects in space to make a composition that best
supports the story you want to tell (by sketching various small versions, or
placing cutouts on your paper).
Then try a color scheme that enhances the sense of fantasy or space as an

Choose a light source for shading and highlighting. It could be realistic like
the sun or moon, or fantastic like an inner glow from an unknown source.

Paint your picture.
and Closure:
Exhibit the paintings in the classroom or other gallery. Students may write a label
with the title of their work, the artist's name, and the medium they used. It may con-
tain explanatory notes, or the artists can tell the class about their work the moti -
vation, the place, the story behind it.
Assessment is based on the appearance of the main idea (1, 2, or 3) in the paint-
ings' compositions, and how well the medium and composition help to tell the story
3)objects floating in space

Choose an outdoor scene in which the figures or objects are floating. It
could be realistic, like fish in the sea or astronauts in space, or it could be

Sketch in an anchor point or place above which the characters and objects
are floating (the sea floor, a planet, the floor).