CREATING INSPIRED WORKS THROUGH ANGLES & PROPORTION
Learning Description
In this lesson, students will analyze how the artist, Charles Demuth, uses angles and proportion in his artwork, I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold. By delving into the use of angles, proportion, emphasis, and ratios in Demuth's artwork, students will then apply these elements to create their own unique pieces of art, drawing inspiration from the style of the Precisionist art movement.
Learning Targets
"I Can" Statements
“I Can…”

I can explain how Charles Demuth uses angles and proportion in his artwork.

I can create artwork inspired by Demuth using angles and proportion.

I can use proportion and color to create emphasis in my artwork.

Students can explain how I used ratio, proportion, angles, color, value, and emphasis to create my artwork.
Essential Questions

How does Charles Demuth use angles and proportion in his artwork?

How can I create an artwork inspired by Demuth using angles and proportion?

How can I use proportion and color to create emphasis in my artwork?

How is the poem “The Great Figure”, related to Demuth’s artwork, I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold?
Georgia Standards
Curriculum Standards
Grade 6
6.NR.4: Solve a variety of contextual problems involving ratios, unit rates, equivalent ratios, percentages, and conversions within measurement systems using proportional reasoning.
Grade 7
7.PAR.4: Recognize proportional relationships in relevant, mathematical problems; represent, solve, and explain these relationships with tables, graphs, and equations.
7.GSR.5.2 Measure angles in whole number degrees using a protractor
7.GSR.5.3 Use facts about supplementary, complementary, vertical, and adjacent angles in a multistep problem to write and solve equations for an unknown angle in a figure.
Grade 8
8.PAR.4: Show and explain the connections between proportional and nonproportional relationships, lines, and linear equations; create and interpret graphical mathematical models and use the graphical, mathematical model to explain real phenomena represented in the graph.
Arts Standards
Grade 6
VA6.CR.1 Visualize and generate ideas for creating works of art.
VA6.CR.2 Choose from a range of materials and/or methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan and create works of art.
VA6.CR.3 Engage in an array of processes, media, techniques, and/or technology through experimentation, practice, and persistence.
VA6.CR.4 Incorporate formal and informal components to create works of art.
Grade 7
VA7.CR.1 Visualize and generate ideas for creating works of art.
VA7.CR.2 Choose from a range of materials and/or methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan and create works of art.
VA7.CR.3 Engage in an array of processes, media, techniques, and/or technology through experimentation, practice, and persistence.
VA7.CR.4 Incorporate formal and informal components to create works of art.
Grade 8
VA8.CR.1 Visualize and generate ideas for creating works of art.
VA8.CR.2 Choose from a range of materials and/or methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan and create works of art.
VA8.CR.3 Engage in an array of processes, media, techniques, and/or technology through experimentation, practice, and persistence.
VA8.CR.4 Incorporate formal and informal components to create works of art.
South Carolina Standards
Curriculum Standards
Grade 6
6.RP.1 Interpret the concept of a ratio as the relationship between two quantities, including part to part and part to whole. 6.RP.2 Investigate relationships between ratios and rates.
6.RP.3 Apply the concepts of ratios and rates to solve realworld and mathematical problems.
Grade 7
7.RP.2 Identify and model proportional relationships given multiple representations, including tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, verbal descriptions, and realworld situations.
7.RP.3 Solve realworld and mathematical problems involving ratios and percentages using proportional reasoning
7.GM.5 Write equations to solve problems involving the relationships between angles formed by two intersecting lines, including supplementary, complementary, vertical, and adjacent
Grade 8
8.EEI.5 Apply concepts of proportional relationships to realworld and mathematical situations.
8.GM.5 Extend and apply previous knowledge of angles to properties of triangles, similar figures, and parallel lines cut by a transversal.
Arts Standards
Anchor Standard 1: I can use the elements and principles of art to create artwork.
Anchor Standard 2: I can use different materials, techniques, and processes to make art.
Anchor Standard 5: I can interpret (read) and evaluate the meaning of an artwork.
Anchor Standard 7: I can relate visual arts ideas to other arts disciplines, content areas, and careers.
Key Vocabulary
Content Vocabulary
 Angle  A geometric figure formed by two rays (sides) with a common endpoint (vertex)
 Acute angle  An angle that measures less than 90 degrees
 Obtuse angle  An angle that measures more than 90 degrees
 Complementary angle  Two angles whose measures add up to 90 degrees
 Supplementary angle  Two angles whose measures add up to 180 degrees
 Proportional  The relationship between two variables that have the same ratio
 Ratio  A way of comparing two quantities or numbers by dividing one by the other; the relationship between two quantities, indicating how many times one quantity is present in relation to the other
Arts Vocabulary
 Precisionism  An art movement of the 1920’s that focused on creating very precise and controlled art; the artists in this movement focused on reducing objects to lines, shapes, and geometric structures
 Composition  How the artist uses the Elements of Art to create an artwork
 Proportion  How one thing relates to another in terms of size
 Emphasis  Where the artist draws the viewer’s eye using visuals
 Contrast  Putting two things side by side that emphasize their differences, such as two colors across from each other on the color wheel like yellow and purple
 Value  One of the seven elements of art; the lightness or darkness of a color
 Shape  One of the seven elements of art; a twodimensional object
Materials
 9x12 mixed media paper or cardstock (each student will need two sheets)
 Pencils
 Protractors
 Rulers
 Glue sticks
 Scissors
 Colored pencils
 Markers
Instructional Design
Opening/Activating Strategy
 Project the poem by Wiliam Carlos Williams, “The Great Figure”:
Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
firetruck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city
 Have students read the poem and respond with a quick drawing (5 minutes).
 In small groups, have students share what the poem made them think of and what they drew.
 Allow students to share out with the class.
Work Session
 Project I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold by Charles Demuth. Tell students that Demuth painted this artwork as a tribute to his friend, the poet of “The Great Figure”, William Carlos Williams. He used the poem, “The Great Figure”, as inspiration for this artwork.
 Ask students where they see connections between the poem and the artwork.
 Tell students that the artist, Charles Demuth, was part of an art movement called Precisionism.
 Precisionism was an art movement of the 1920’s that focused on creating very precise and controlled art; the artists in this movement focused on reducing objects to lines, shapes, and geometric structures.
 In their small groups, ask students to make observations about the painting that respond to the following questions:
 What stands out in the artwork? How does Demuth make it stand out?
 Answers could include responses like how he used color and size.
 Tell students that when an artist draws the viewer’s attention to something, this is called emphasis.
 Ask students where they see examples of angles in the artwork.
 Ask students where they see Demuth using proportion in his artwork.
 Students should identify the “5”.
 Explain to students that they will be using proportion and angles to create an artwork inspired by I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold by Charles Demuth.
 They will need to use proportion, angles, and emphasis in their artwork.
 Students should start by drawing a square or rectangle on mixed media paper or cardstock three times using a consistent ratio. For example, three rectangles could be 1x1.5, 2x3, and 4x6 inches. Students will then fill the rectangle with a letter or number such as the letter “L”. Show students how to use the edges of the square or rectangle to draw their letter or number. The letter or a number should be a shape, which is a 2D closed line. See example.
 Students should then use markers to fully color in the three letters or numbers. Students will set this aside and work on the other portion of the artwork.
 Go back to I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold. Ask students what they see in the background. They may say things like shades of black, white, and gray; diagonal lines; etc.
 Pass out a new sheet of mixed media paper.
 Give students a number of specific angles or requirements for angles (three angles that are less than 45 degrees, two angles between 7080 degrees, five obtuse angles, an algebraic or linear equation to solve for specific angles, etc.).
 Using these angles or requirements, students should fill their paper with intersecting lines like they see in I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold. See example.
 Next, using pencil or colored pencil, students will shade in each of the shapes that are created by the intersecting lines.
 Tell students that they will be gluing their three letters or numbers on top of this paper, so they need to pick colors that will contrast with the ones they used to color in their letters or numbers. Refer back to I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold and how Demuth does this with red and gold on a white, gray, and black background.
 Show students how Demuth uses different shades of gray, white, and black in the shapes in the background of the art. This is called using different values. Students should also use different values in the background shapes of their art.
 When students are done, they should use a glue stick to glue their letters or numbers on their paper.
Closing Reflection
 Students should give their artwork a relevant title.
 On the back of their artwork, they should explain how they used ratio, proportion, angles, color, and emphasis to create their work. They should be able to explain how they created emphasis using proportion and color.
 Students should then present their work to each other in groups of three to four students.
Assessments
Formative
Teachers will assess students’ understanding by observing students’ discussion of the poem, “The Great Figure” and the artwork, I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold; students’ ability to identify and explain ratios, proportion, and types of angles; and students’ ability to correctly use a protractor to measure angles.
Summative
CHECKLIST
 Students can create an artwork that demonstrates their understanding of ratio, proportion, and angles.
 Students can explain how they used ratio, proportion, angles, color, value, and emphasis to create their work.
Differentiation
Acceleration:
Remediation:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
*This integrated lesson provides differentiated ideas and activities for educators that are aligned to a sampling of standards. Standards referenced at the time of publishing may differ based on each state’s adoption of new standards.
Ideas contributed by: Katy Betts
Revised and copyright: May 2024 @ ArtsNOW