Third graders studied the art principle of contrast (and the structure of the spider webs we tend to have a lot of this time of year) and created their own webs by scratching through a layer of black tempura paint with a small nail to reveal a layer of oil pastel beneath. After discussing how contrast is used by artists (and having the students share a lot of personal spider stories!) the artists thickly laid down light colored oil pastels in a design of their choosing and then brushed on the black tempura layer. In a second class period, they etched their drawings with the nails. The effect is pretty cool, and the kids seems to love all aspects of the lesson - from viewing the spider web images to laying down the oil pastel and tempura to seeing how the color is revealed by etching.
One way artists convey space is by using perspective. Fifth graders took a crack at perspective by creating these one-point perspective drawings, learning how to construct their perspectives using a horizon line, vanishing point, and multiple guidelines. They also studied how one-point perspective was used in DaVinci's The Last Supper and other Renaissance paintings. In this lesson, I de-emphasized the realism of the student's details (for example, letting them know that "lollipop" trees were perfectly acceptable), preferring instead that they concentrated on learning how perspective works to show space or depth. One rewarding aspect of this lesson was noting how some students who aren't necessarily adept at more "freewheeling" types of art quickly adapted to this more "mechanical" type of drawing. Maybe some future architects and engineers were born!
This was a quick lesson on using simple perspective to give a sense of space or depth to an artwork. The color scheme of two values of blue (except for the yellow moon and one spooky lighted window in each house) was kept purposely simple in order to keep the focus less on color and more on showing space through both perspective and through changing the size of our details (trees, tombstones, footprints, etc.)