Tuesday, March 20, 2018

2nd Grade Rose Windows

The rose windows of the great European cathedrals are a fantastic example of artworks in which both the positive and negative spaces of the work play equally important visual roles.  We spend some time learning about this particular aspect of the art element of space (and the cathedrals themselves with the aid of Google Earth) before creating our own rose windows.

Rose Window, Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France

Using a paper plate and a white colored pencil, students first trace a circle onto a piece of black bulletin board paper.  (I use the bulletin board paper because it's thin enough, even after folding into several layers, for the students to cut).  After cutting out their black circles, students fold the paper in half, then twice more until they have a small "pizza slice" shaped piece.  This is great folding practice, especially since it's important that edges are well aligned.  Then students carefully cut out pieces from the edges of their folded paper, before opening it to reveal the design of their window "frame." We also refer to this as the "positive" space of their artwork.  

In the next session, the students glue a piece of wax paper to the back of their window frame and then glue various pieces of colored tissue paper "glass" to the wax paper to add color to all the spaces in the frame. These are the "negative" spaces of the artwork.  After the excess wax paper is cut away, the results are beautiful!

4th Grade Glue-Resist Pastel Flowers

I did this lesson as a good excuse to give the 4th graders some more experience with the unique "blendability" of soft pastels.  Since that was the main goal of the project, and because this time we also used white glue to outline our drawings, I encouraged the students to keep their flower shapes big and simple.  The results are some really beautiful pastel works, a dozen of which are now temporarily gracing the Orange County Schools boardroom downtown.

Kindergarten Pattern Snakes

Building on our earlier pattern lesson using winter mittens, the kinders explore the topic of pattern a little further, this time by studying and discussing the patterns found in nature - specifically, snakes for this lesson.  Then, using a blank coiled snake worksheet printed on cardstock, the students add their own pattern using lines, shapes, and colors.

5th Grade Op Art

I'll try to include some images of the 5th graders finished Op Art works, but for now, here's an example of a work in progress that illustrates how the careful coloring (with Sharpies) and simple shading and highlighting (with black and white colored pencils) really gives these works a 3D effect.

Op Art (Optical or Optical Illusion Art) was popular in 1960's and still shows up in various expressions today, especially in certain types of digital art.  This Op Art project begins with six straight lines drawn on a 10" by 10" sheet of drawing paper, creating what we refer to as a "square pizza."  In each pizza "slice" students drew a series of concentric organic shapes, alternating the direction of the curve in each pizza slice.  Every other stripe was then carefully colored in with a Sharpie.  Finally, students added highlights to the black sections with a white colored pencil and shadows to the white sections with a black colored pencil.  I emphasized how the highlights should fade into black and vice versa for the shadows to really turn the triangular sections into curving, 3D cones.  I thought the students did a fantastic job of being precise with this work, and they seemed to get a kick out creating a 2-D work that really does feel 3-D.

(For the other art teachers out there, I provide the paper already lined, as I find that most students have trouble drawing six straight lines that also all intersect in the same place. While some students are capable of doing it themselves, it's not worth the time that it would take to help the entire class with this part.  Otherwise, I love how this project shows these older students the power of shading and highlighting, and how it allows almost every student to create a work of op art that's really successful.)

1st Grade "Prehistoric Art"

Students love the story of the three boys and their dog "Robot" who discovered some of the oldest art in history deep inside Lascaux Cave in France.  It's a great introduction to a discussion about how art began and why early humans started making art.  I also show them examples of the rock art we find closer to home in the Southwestern U.S. and how the ancient peoples there used simple rectangular and trapezoidal shapes to create humans, animals,, or combinations of the two.  It's an easy art style for 1st graders to mimic as they create their own "cave art" with oil pastels on paper in tans and browns, finished off with a hand print using white tempura.  While working on these, we have the lights down and a video of a crackling campfire playing on the Smartboard to set the mood in the "Art Cave."  I really liked how these works turned out -- certainly as good as most cavemen or cavewomen could do!

3rd Grade Treasure Map Time!

HES students and staff can always tell it's time to make treasure maps when the Art Room whiteboard begins to look like this!

4th Grade Mona Lisa Parodies

Leonardo Da Vinci is rolling over in his grave thanks to the HES fourth graders.  

After looking at some online parodies of four famous paintings (Starry Night, American Gothic, The Scream, and the Mona Lisa), fourth graders used only Lisa's famous face and hands to create their own Mona Lisa parodies.  I didn't put too many restrictions on their efforts - only that they couldn't change Lisa's face (too much) and that they had to add enough detail/backgorund that a viewer could understand their parody clearly.  I think the results were pretty creative!