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A Charles Demuth Art Project and Coloring Page

Below you’ll find an easy step-by-step tutorial for a Charles Demuth art project and a Demuth Coloring Page.

A finished example of a Charles Demuth art project

Charles Demuth is probably best known for his painting titled “Figure 5 in Gold”, using imagery from William Carlos William’s poem The Great Figure. This Charles Demuth art project uses his process of dissecting shapes to create something modern and new. The poem that Demuth’s painting was based on is shared below.

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

— WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS

TEACHER NOTES

The idea of having students dissect a large number with lots of lines and fill in the closed shapes has been around for awhile, but I created some new tools to give everyone some more options. First, it’s fun to draw the original “fancy” looking number 5, so there’s a tutorial for that. But if anyone prefers to make another number (hey, maybe someone just turned 8 or something?) then there’s a cheat sheet for that too. After all, simple block numbers would work … but why not make them fancy like Charles Demuth’s original? A few extra touches do the trick.

As for coloring instructions, this is perfect for learning about warm and cool colors OR a lesson in camouflage. High contrast will make the number stand out, and low contrast will make it hide.

Preview of the Demuth Step by Step Tutorial

Preview of the Draw Fancy Numbers Tutorial

Demuth Coloring Page

Demuth No. 5 Painting Coloring Page

Materials

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  • Drawing Paper. Don’t substitute it with copy paper or construction paper. The surface will get fuzzy, erasing might cause holes, and the colors will generally not look as bright.
  • Stabilo Markers. The large pack provides lots of fun color choices, several shades of each color, including a few choices for skin. The tips are perfect for coloring, and there’s even a promise that they will work after being uncapped for 8 weeks!
  • Pencil. The Ticonderoga brand are the most reliable, make nice dark lines when you need them, and are the easiest to erase.
  • Eraser. Large ones you can hold in your hand do a much better job than just the pencil tips. Stabilo Markers. They have the best colors, the best tips, and last the longest.
  • Black Sharpie Marker. These fine point permanent markers are great for making a crisp outline to your drawing. Use them when you want your outline show up, but not be so heavy that it detracts from other things.

DIRECTIONS

Time needed: 50 minutes.

A Charles Demuth Art Project

  1. Start the top of the number five as shown.

  2. Continue down at an angle.

  3. Draw the large circle shape.

  4. Add the round tip.

  5. Continue the inside curve as shown.

  6. Connect the ends at a slight angle.

  7. Use a ruler to draw three dissecting lines.

  8. Add three more lines from the other direction.

  9. Trace with a marker and color.

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