Saturday Studio: Egg-cellent Art

Natalie McKibben, Education Intern

Clarence Holbrook Carter was an American artist born in southern Ohio. Throughout his career Carter drew inspiration from his own experiences and the world around him. Over the years, he used many different styles and techniques for his work, including painting, printmaking, and collage.

A print of a balloon with a human left eye. The background is blue, the balloon is white, and there is a black stripe at the bottom overlapped by the white of the bottom of the balloon.
Clarence Holbrook Carter, American, 1904-2000. Balancing Act. Screen print on paper, 1978. Gift of Paul O. Koetner, 2005.06. Image courtesy of FWMoA.

Holbrook’s earlier work carries the same surreal feeling as his later works, but with a realistic approach to the subject. As time progressed, Holbrook’s work began to take an abstracted perspective on the human experience. What was once a window into the world he saw around him became an abstracted and surreal perspective of it. Holbrook credits this shift in style as a product of his time working as a commercial artist because he was able to push the boundaries on his art and experiment more with his work.   

A common motif found in Carter’s work is the ovoid, another word for an egg shape; the ovoid can be opaque or translucent. Carter uses this shape as an abstract symbol of life, death, and rebirth. Today, we’re going to make some egg-cellent art inspired by some of Carter’s work!

The background of this print is blue tile, with a large red square in the center. Inside the center square are five egg-shapes of varying red tones, like an abstracted fireplace.
Clarence Holbrook Carter, American, 1904-2000. Fiery Furnace. Screen print on paper, 1978. Gift of Paul O. Koetner, 2005.09. Image courtesy of FWMoA.

For this activity you will need:

  • Colored construction paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

To start, let’s pick out a colored piece of construction paper. This can be any color you want!

Next, we’re going to cut out a few ovoids from our tissue paper. (You’re going to want between 4-6 ovoids.) Draw your egg shapes onto your tissue with a pencil and carefully cut them out. If you’re looking for an easy way to make them all the same size you can fold the tissue in half a few times before you cut them.

Next, we will glue them onto the construction paper. Apply some glue to the back of an ovoid and place onto your construction paper.

Repeat the last step with the rest of your ovoids. Be sure to place some of the ovoids so that they overlap each other. Take a look back at Carter’s prints. Are you going to keep it simple or add more detailed layers to tell your story?

We kept our final work pretty simple, sticking to just the shapes. What lines could we add to make it look like something else? How does changing the color of your construction paper or the color of your egg-shapes effect the look of your artwork? Play around with different tones and hues to create a more dynamic piece.

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