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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Video Clips

Abstraction: Nancy Cassell



Nancy Cassell discusses the importance of landscape, nature, and place to her painting; the influence of the Surrealists and Abstract Expressionists; and the sexual nature of her subject matter. She also mentions how her childhood in Tennessee; images of creek beds, tornadoes, and orchids; and the unconventional techniques she has developed using black ink on white canvas have given her a unique method and source of visions to channel her subconscious into her work. This segment may be appropriate for more mature students.

Suggested Uses:

  • Use to spark a discussion about artists’ methods and intentions as well as the creative process in general. Have students create art based on the video and your discussion.
  • Use the segment in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art (e.g., recalling memories from childhood).
  • Use in a discussion of color. Compare Cassell’s palette (black and white) to Gerald Ferstman’s.
  • Compare and contrast the techniques and methods different artists use in their approach to the same medium, using painter profiles from Spectrum of Art and Through Artists’ Eyes.
  • Use the segment as part of a “careers in the arts” unit or as an introductory activity before an artist-in-residence visits your classroom.

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