Here are some tips for doing this close-looking exercise yourself or with others:
- LOOK. Start by looking at the image for around 10 minutes. Don’t worry about writing anything down, yet – you just want to look at the art, first!
- DESCRIBE. Ask yourself what you’re seeing – are there figures present? How many? Is it a landscape or a portrait? Feel free to write your observations down. Be descriptive!
- FEEL. Think about how the artwork makes you feel. What does it remind you of? Why does it remind you of that? Use what you were able to see in earlier steps to here.
- INTREPRET. Finally, what do you think the artist is trying to convey?
It’s normal to leave with more questions than you started with!
Here is an observation about this image to get you started after you finish step 1:
- None of the faces seem to be visible.
- There is a dark shadow across the center of the image.
Here are some more questions to help guide you during steps 2 and 3:
- How would this image be different if it was bright and colorful? Why do you think the artist made it in black and white instead?
- How would this image be different if we could see the people's faces?
- What kind of person do you think this was made for?
- How would you describe the shapes, lines, and colors?
- How would you describe the people in this work?
Kerr Eby, American (1889-1946), Shadows, 1936, etching. CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder, 69.378. © CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder.