12th September 2003 at 01:00
Patterns from nature have often served as a stimulus for artists and designers. Irregular microscopic forms, such as amoebae, resemble work by Joan Miro (see Composition, 1933). Examples such as enlarged blood-vessels and sea worms are provided in The New Landscape in Art and Science by Gyorgy Kepes. Science departments may have microscopes that will reveal the cellular nature and patterns of objects, which can be used as a basis for abstract art; try direct projection of microscope slides on to a wall - or on to pupils wearing white garments.

* Ask pupils what it feels like to have hay fever or a severe cold. How could this be conveyed in a portrait? Many expressionist artists have produced images of people in distress: photographs by Bas Jan Ader ("I'm too sad to tell you"); expressive portraits by Francis Bacon, Arnulf Rainer and Chaim Soutine; the sculpture of Julio Gonzalez ("Head of Screaming Montserrat"). Challenge pupils' ingenuity - enlarge nose and eyes, or convey these in expressive colours, distort the face by deliberately moving during the production of a digital portrait, or build a large-scale head in clay which expressively reveals the internal pressures.

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