VTS Research Project

The VTS Research Project is a culmination of seven years working with Visual Thinking Strategies to enhance critical thinking skills, aesthetic development, and an appreciation for visual art.

With the whole class, students viewed each of the VTS Lesson 7 image sets. Each set is by a different artist, introduced by a slide giving his/her name, a portrait or self-portrait, and a quote. Each student research team determined the artist they wanted to study further, and then discussed the images, adding one new task, comparing and contrasting: What are the similarities among these pictures? What are the differences? Through this, students could begin to develop a sense of an artist’s style.

Students considered all of the VTS questions as guides to looking, but focused especially to think about this question: What do you think interested the artist in making this picture? Students used quotes from the artist to further explore the question and began to further think about the range of interests revealed by the various images.

The key new questions for this lesson were these: What questions would you want to ask the artist if we could? What might you want to research about this artist? How might you do that?  The questions each research team designed were then used to lead the team’s research, with the culmination being the production of an iMovie and the facilitation of a class image discussion.

Margaret Bourke-White



Winslow Homer


Frida Kahlo


Francisco Goya


Artemisia Gentileschi


Wayne Thiebaud


Tetsuya Ishida


Past Years’ VTS Research Project

At the beginning of this project, we went through a ton of pictures and paintings to decide on the ones the students in our class liked best. When we finished this process, we all voted on the artists that we wished to research and began the process of work. This process included getting together with our newly-formed groups, and we began our research. This research project included making a PowerPoint and a “fakebook” page with information about our artists. We hope that you enjoy our presentations!

Thiebaud researchers and fans might find some of their questions answered by viewing this videotaped conversation between art critic, Kenneth Baker, and artist, Wayne Thiebaud, which took place at UC Davis in November of 2010.