Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Pretty Cute Kindergarten Pumpkin

Artwork by Lucas

I'll be including more of these Kindergarten pumpkins in a later post, along with some info about the project, after all the K classes have had a chance to finish them. But for now I had to include this one for it's over-the-top cuteness. Happy Halloween!

3rd Grade Mondrian-inspired Abstracts

Artwork by Colin

Over the course of his career, the style of Piet Mondrian evolved from the figurative to the purely abstract, breaking down into the most basic of art elements - straight lines, simple shapes, and primary colors.  I use this lesson to teach a little about coordinate systems and coordinate pairs (our discussion of longitude and latitude ties in well with their upcoming map unit in Social Studies) as well as reinforce these art elements and introduce the students to Mondrian.  First, the students get some practice with a straight edge, creating a grid of one hundred square and rectangular spaces by drawing nine straight lines vertically and horizontally.  Inevitably, some students have a few crooked lines, so we turn these into thicker lines, which only makes the final works look more like a Mondrian. We also purposely space the lines randomly in order to create spaces of varying sizes.  The grid is then numbered one to ten along the bottom and up the left side.  In a second session, students randomly select coordinate pairs from a baggie with one hundred number pairs written on small slips of paper and color the specified space either red, yellow, blue, or black with marker.  They repeat this process 12-15 times before erasing their grid numbers and "taking over" their artwork, deciding how best to balance it out by coloring in some of the remaining spaces.  I think the finished works are very "Mondrianesque."

Artwork by Cassidy

Artwork by Maggie

Artwork by Xavier

Sunday, October 11, 2015

2nd Grade Warm and Cool Color Collages

Artwork by Tessa

Second graders have been expanding their familiarity and use of warm and cool colors with these collages over the past two sessions in art.  We learn to think of warm colors as "sunset" colors and cool colors as "ocean" colors, and this collage helps to reinforce not only these specific colors but the mnemonic device as well.  Not to mention, the collages are pretty cool, too!

Artwork by Abigail

Artwork by Lauren

Artwork by Wyatt

1st Grade Matisse-inspired Goldfish Bowls

Artwork by Mischa

First graders have been learning how forms can be created from basic shapes combined with a few strategically placed lines.  They looked at Henri Matisse's painting, The Goldfish, to see how Matisse created a cylindrical goldfish bowl by combining three ovals and two vertical lines.  By adding color in the form of oil pastels for details and liquid watercolors for their water and background, the first graders created a form and painting with real depth to it!

Henri Matisse, The Goldfish, 1912 

Artwork by Amadi

Artwork by Ben (Matisse with a Halloween flair!)

Artwork by Matt

5th Grade One-Point Perspectives

Artwork by Maddie

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.  In their final session working on the drawings, I gave students the choice of either adding more details to their landscapes or adding color with watercolor paint. 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!

Artwork by Claire

Artwork by Emma

Artwork by Katee

Artwork by Mia

3rd Grade Deep Space Solar Systems

Artwork by Lucy

This lesson follows on the heels of the third grade's science unit on space and our solar system.  From a science standpoint, the lesson gives us a chance to expand the students' fresh understanding of solar systems to those that are now being discovered far from our own sun.  We discuss the hundreds of new planets orbiting distant stars and currently being discovered by astronomers and wonder what these planets might look like, with the help of some professional artists' renderings.

Returning to our own art, we look at the professional planetary renderings and conclude that the artists who drew them made the planets look spherical (gave form to shape) through the use of shadows on one side and highlights on the other - the side facing the the system's sun.  Students then use circle tracers to make four or five planets of different sizes from diffrent colors of construction paper.  Then they use oil pastels (because of their capacity for blending) to color their planets with a "crescent moon" shape of highlight one side, a similar shape of shadow (using a same hue but darker value of the construction paper color) on the other. Students blend the colors into together with either their finger or a cue tip.

After cutting out their planets, the artists play with various compositions on a 11x14 piece of black construction paper.  Their composition must include one planet overlapping another (to help with the illusion of depth or space), and they must also consider visual balance.  Of course, the planets must also be arranged so that all their highlight sides and shadow sides face in the same direction.  Finally, with white colored pencils, the students add astronomical features such as distant stars, moons, comets, meteors, and galaxies.  I'm always pleased with how these seem to turn out, and I think the lesson works well both to reinforce a number of important art concepts, with the bonus of being able to explore their science topic a little more deeply.

Artwork by Hayleigh

Artwork by Shannon

Artwork by Tayla