Annual Exhibition

A Year with Children 2013 is on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC, from May 3 – June 19.  This annual exhibition showcases select artworks by students in grades 2-6 (from 10 public schools that represent the city’s five boroughs) who participated in Learning Through Art—the pioneering arts education program of the Museum.  Approximately 100 creative and imaginative works, including assemblage, collages, drawings, paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures will be on display.  Founded in 1970 by Natalie Kovner Lieberman, the LTA program has served nearly 150,000 children and their families.

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3D Projection Devices for the Artist or Craftsperson

For centuries, artists have used a variety of means to project images to aid in the capture of subjects. In the 1600's, for instance, artists began to employ the camera obscura, a primitive box/lens combination that helped them capture very precise likenesses. Today our choices are wide, and the use of projection machines can be applied to a variety of artistic applications.

As "start-up" quality, or for artists who work in small format, several manufacturers offer simple units that enlarge and project small images like photographs. This type of equipment is usually illuminated by a conventional incandescent light bulb, generally from 60 to 100 watts. Although this style of projector is not very powerful (the image is not overly bright), if used in controlled environments, it offers a very inexpensive way to transfer images to the work surface.

The operation is very easy and straightforward: The selected picture is placed beneath the unit. It is illuminated by a bulb, and then reflected through the lens and onto the canvas, wall, etc. The distance between the projection unit and the drawing surface usually dictates the projected image size. To facilitate the use of larger masters, illustrations can be projected in sections. This is easily done by first drawing a grid over the master, dividing it into segments the size of the viewing area of the projector. Use the grid lines to position the image for an exact match of sections.

There are projectors available in a wide range of costs, and features can help with selection. Those features include top-loading screens rather than bottom access, floor and table stands and more powerful halogen lamps or photo quality bulbs that afford brighter images. Some units offer larger fields of image capture, a few as large as 10" X 10" and 8" X 11".Size of projected illumination can range from 4X to 1500X, depending on the unit and application selected. One available model can even project the image of a three-dimensional object. Several models can project slides as well as opaque images. Reductions up to 70% are also possible, a function that can be useful in many art and craft applications. Removing and then reversing the lens position usually achieves this.

Artists and craftspersons alike should explore the options and versatility of projectors. They can be very effective as time- and labor-saving tools, given the fact that they eliminate the task scale, size and proportion interpretation by the artist. Rather than draw the image, simply use a projector to capture it and immediately transfer it to the wall or canvas or wherever desired. All that remains is the linear delineation of the subject and the actual application of art technique.

Crafters are sometimes not versed or disinterested in drawing skills and may struggle with shape and subject likeness. Any projection system would be a boon to their success because drawing is eliminated. Simply insert a picture into the viewing area of the unit, project the image and copy it (perfectly) onto your project. No time is invested unnecessarily, and there is one less obstacle in the way of unbridled creativity.

Projection units are especially useful to muralists or artists who work in large scale because of the physical size of their works. Small drawings or initial sketches can be enlarged onto the large work surface and copied. When this initial step of image transfer is eliminated, time and energy spent on manual transfer can be applied to the completion of the project. More work can be done in a much smaller window of time and this often translates to more income or profit.

Artists who demand stark realism in their work and can work from slide imagery may benefit greatly from the use of slide reproduction and enlargement. Rather than invest time in drawing an original scene, simply project a slide onto the chosen surface and then copy it. Many hours of time can be saved, especially on large works, and all detail is depicted. Watercolorists can actually paint their works while the image is projected onto the paper. Sharp edges and clear shapes can be very easily captured in this manner. There are no pencil lines needed, so the end result is one of extreme clarity and startling craftsmanship.

Of course there are purists who consider the use of any mechanical apparatus a cop-out or feel somehow it is like cheating. But if you are looking for a way to cut time from your work schedule, thereby enabling you to create a higher volume of quality art, projection devices offer many ways to assist you. Also consider that the projection devices make it possible to paint on any surface--walls, ceilings, and the sides of vans--as well as desktop drawing or easel painting.

Somewhere in the varied selections is a projection unit that fits the need of nearly any artist or craftsperson. Retail prices range from around $20 for a very simple, light bulb unit to around $450 for a deluxe, large-format model. Also available are high quality light tables and tracing devices, evenly illuminated for fast, comfortable tracing of designs. Many sizes are available in a wide price range.

Most retail stores have both types of units set up so you can see how they are used and what model might best suit your needs. Explore the furniture department of an art supply center soon or explore these websites for more information and tips on using projectors:

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