Saturday, May 7, 2016

2nd Grade Mother's Day Flowers (inspired by Picasso!)

Hard at work on a painting for Mom!

Picasso wasn't just famous for his Cubist paintings -- his drawings using only a few simple lines (and, in some cases, a little color) were also some of his most popular works.  One of the most famous was The Flowers of Peace (1958)

The Flowers of Peace, Pablo Picasso, 1958
After learning a little about Picasso and his work, second graders took inspiration from his flowers and created their own. Since this work is to be a (spoiler alert!) Mother's Day gift, students traced their own hand onto their paper, making sure not to trace the tip of their thumb, as this is supposed to be hidden behind the flowers they are "handing" to their mothers (good reinforcement of overlapping used to show space).  The first graders then used tempura block paints to make the simple flowers and signed their work with a Happy Mother's Day message. I'm always thrilled to see the different twists the students are able to put on an otherwise uniform project like this one.    (Thanks to Mrs. Brown - - for the lesson idea.)

4th Grade Gyotaku ("Fish Rubbing") Prints

Bluegill Print by Sadie

In the mid-nineteenth century, Japanese fisherman created Gyotaku or "fish rubbing" as a way to document their catches.  One side of the fish was coated with ink and covered in rice paper, and then the paper was rubbed to transfer the image of the fish. This practice eventually blossomed into a form of fine art and an alternative to taxidermy for many sport fishermen.

Our fourth graders tried their hands at Gyotaku using several life-sized, realistic rubber fish I purchased online (the piranha is especially popular!).  We spent a day viewing some short videos showing real Gyotaku artists at work and then I demonstrate how to make a print with one or two of our "fish."  On the second day of the unit, after a quick review of the method, the students created multiple prints with the goal of improving with each print, so that they had at least one or two "keepers."  On a third day, we added realistic eyes with Sharpie and white acrylic paint for the reflection, as well other colors with watercolor paints.

I was impressed by how many of the students quickly mastered how much paint to use and the type of careful, even rubbing required to make a print with a lot of detail.  I've been doing this lesson for a few years now, and these were some of the best prints yet!

Flounder Print by Mason

Angelfish Print by Sadie

Angelfish Print by Samiya

Piranha Print by Shea

Bluegill Print by Simrin

Perch Print by Skyler