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Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Video Clips

Oil Pastels: Martin Rollins



Martin Rollins’ work focuses on urban and suburban street and park scenes from around Louisville, where he lives and works. The various drawings featured in this profile illustrate his interest in buildings and architecture as subject matter, his use of light and shadow, and his focus on the transient nature of life. Rollins talks about the challenges and advantages of his chosen medium, oil pastels. The temperamental pastels, having a texture somewhere between a crayon and a tube of lipstick, offer intense pigments and, according to Rollins, help to vividly reveal a sense of honesty in the composition. Rollins also discusses his own creative process, giving viewers a peek into his sketchbook.

Suggested Uses:

  • Show before taking your students on a walking tour of your community. Have them bring along sketchbooks and, like Rollins, sketch ideas, places, images, or anything else that comes to mind as they look at the architecture in their community. If yours is a more rural area, have students compare and contrast their sketches and ideas with Rollins’.
  • Use as an exercise in analyzing the use of the elements of art and principles of design. After looking at Rollins’ work, have students decide for themselves what he’s most interested in and back up their decisions with examples.
  • Use in conjunction with a creative art activity from the “Making Art” section of the binder that uses the same medium (oil pastels, regular pastels, or oil paints) or is based on the ideas and approaches of Martin Rollins.
  • Pair with a profile of an artist working in a similar medium—e.g., painting, other 2D media—and compare and contrast the techniques and methods required by the different media.
  • Use 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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