Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2nd Grade Leaf (and Sponge) Prints


This lesson was meant both to emphasize the art element of texture as well as stress the difference between painting and printing.  Using a variety of leaves that I provided, the students carefully brushed white tempura paint onto the vein side - the side with the most texture - and placed them on black 12 by 18 inch construction paper.  They then transferred the paint onto the paper by placing a piece of scrap over the leaf and rubbing. I asked the students to try and improve their prints with each attempt, taking into account how much paint they were using, how hard or evenly they were rubbing, etc, with the goal of producing prints that really showed the texture of the leaf.  I also asked them to consider the overall balance of their compositions.  On a second day, the students surrounded their leaves with fall colors applied by printing (since this was meant to be strictly a printing project) with pieces of sponge and red and yellow paint.  Some students opted for a more spare look, leaving behind a fair amount of the black paper, while other went for full coverage with their sponge prints.  I think both make for a nice fall look!

5th Grade Dia de los Muertos Calavera Prints

As part of a broader unit about the Dia de los Muertos ("Day of the Dead") holiday in Spanish, Music, and Art, the fifth graders created these cool and colorful prints.  One session was spent reviewing examples of different decorated calaveras (Spanish for "skull') and drawing our own designs on a simple line drawing of a skull that I provided.  In a second session, the students transferred their calavera designs to Styrofoam printing plates (by taping their designs to the foam and tracing them, pressing hard enough to impress the design into the foam).  A third and final (and messy!) session was spent rolling ink (two colors, bleeding into each other, were used on each print) onto the printing plates and transferring the colored designs paper. I was really impressed both with the students intricate and creative designs and how their prints improved with each new attempt!

Kindergarten Mixed Media Pumpkins

Now that our kindergartners have learned how the primary colors mix to make the secondary colors, they get to take a crack at making their own secondary colors with this lesson.  In one session, they create a large sheet of orange-painted paper from the red and yellow paint I give them, as well as a smaller piece of green paper by mixing yellow and blue paint.  The following week, they drew and cut out pumpkins, stems, and leaves, from their paper (plus eyes and mouths from black and white construction paper) to make these pumpkins.  Their results are completely unique and awfully cute!

4th Grade Haunted Houses

This lesson builds on a similar Halloween-themed lesson the 4th graders did as 3rd graders.  Rather than focus on positive and negative space like they did in that lesson, however, this lesson stresses the concept of balance.  Before beginning the artwork, we review the familiar concept of symmetrical balance before exploring how artists attempt to balance their works asymmetrically, and not just from side-to-side.  I ask the students to imagine these artworks with a line of symmetry from the upper left corner to the lower right corner (some actually lightly drew a pencil line before beginning) and to think about balancing their work across that line.  I also introduce the words foreground and background and talk (using online examples) about how artists often will also balance their works "front to back" as well.  Using some online haunted house silhouettes as a reference, the students then create these works using pencil, Sharpie, and the liquid watercolors we make from our dried out markers.  Some of their details were very creative (and creepy!).

Saturday, October 27, 2018

1st Grade Picasso Pumpkins

After viewing a selection of more "realistic" portraits, first graders were introduced to Pablo Picassoand his Cubist style of portraiture.  Then, in the spirit of Halloween and with a little guidance from Mr. O via the Smartboard, they drew and painted these Cubist-styled Picasso pumpkins (and signed them with their first and Picasso's last name).  When one sees how naturally the students pick up on this style, it's no wonder Picasso thought of his own Cubist art as childlike.

3rd Grade Digital Mondrians

Beyond the digital art clubs I offer to the students who choose them for their enrichment time on Wednesdays, I'm introducing all third graders this year to at least two digital art projects.  This one, borrowed from Pathways Elementary Art Teacher extraordinaire, Dave O'Neal, introduces 3rd graders to the abstract work of Piet Mondrian.  Mondrian's work, using the most basic straight lines, squares and rectangles, and simple, primary colors lends itself well to students using digital drawing and design tools for the first time.  Many of the tools and tricks they are exposed to on a project like this (in this case with Google Drawings) are similar to those found on the more complex digital art and computer-aided drafting programs they're likely to encounter in 4th and 5th grade here, as well as in middle and high school.

(Not Mondrian -- a third grader!)

(I let students get a little crazier with color than Mondrian.)

4th Grade Scratch Art

Fourth graders spent time with the art principle of contrast before created their own high contrast scratch art designs.  After discussing how contrast is used by artists, the students thickly laid down light colored oil pastels in a design of their choosing and then brushed on a couple coats of black tempura paint.  In a second class period, they etched their drawings with sharp-pointed screws.  The effect is pretty cool and the kids love seeing the colors revealed by their etching.  (And can you tell Halloween is coming up?)