Saturday, September 16, 2017

multiple murals and many lines

My 5ths have started the year experimenting with line to create a wide array of active abstractions. To get them inspired, I shared the work of 4 painters. We looked at the vibrant, large scale work of Jason Woodside, Monty Montgomery, and the collaborative team of Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn.

 Jason Woodside at work.

A recent mural Jason did in North County, San Diego.

 Monty Montgomery with a mural series he completed last year.

One of Monty's murals right here in San Diego.

 Jessie & Katey's mural at the Oval in Philly. I got to see 
this in person (and play ping pong on it:) when I visited family in the area!

Jessie & Katey at work on a mural in Atlanta.

After a brief intro to each artist, I gave my students an opportunity to talk:) I asked them to work in table groups to discuss the ways that the murals of the artists were similar. Table groups then volunteered to share their findings and then they moved on to discussing differences that they saw and they shared those, too.


Before getting started with the visual design problem, I asked my student artists to think about which of the artists' work they were most engaged with and to reflect on why they felt that way. This would be a question on their project exit slips and I wanted them to be aware of it before they got rolling.

There were 2 main constraints for this design problem- they needed to create an abstract composition and they needed to use line to create shapes and patterns.

Students were also required to do at least 2 preliminary sketches before starting on their final and they needed to explain their choice of sketch in writing. I emphasized the need to supply evidence for that choice in their explanation.

When their preliminary work was done, students moved on to the final 9x10" design. Planning in pencil and then moving onto color. They could use color sticks and colored sharpie markers. I reminded them that the color sticks were good for large areas and the sharpies worked well for detailed areas and emphasizing contour lines.




As you can see below there was a wide range of approaches to the design challenge. When students had completed their designs, they filled out an exit slip that got them to reflect on the project.








Thursday, September 14, 2017

illusions with oz.

As a follow up to the line drawings that were inspired by Mister Phil, this week, my 2nds created pieces that put their own, individual spin on an illustration by Olimpia Zagnoli.

We started off by visually identifying anything and everything in her illustration. After that, we talked about how her illustration compared and contrasted with Mr. Phil's pieces. We also noticed that she created a cool optical illusion by playing with the sizes and placement of the hands and cloud filled background. Of course, we then had a bit of fun by experimenting with this in real life, as we "pinched" each other's heads from across the room.


We saw how their were no outlines in Olimpia's work, but that lines were still present all over- made by simply having one color ride against another to create that edge.

When getting ready to create our drawings, I emphasized that we would draw a hand together, so that we could check out the relationship of the hand parts to one another- proportion and placement. Once the hand was drawn, they would bring their voice more into the piece, by using an object they were interested in, as the background pattern element.

As with the Mister Phil inspired drawings, many of the student creations made a lot of us giggle:)












Wednesday, September 13, 2017

filling like mister phil.

My 2nd graders have started the year by exploring how line can create shapes and patterns in art. To better engage my student artists, I shared the work of English artist Mister Phil. We looked for shapes and patterns in a number of his drawings and also talked about how art does not need to be serious all the time. We all agreed that Mister Phil's work seems a little silly! (And that is okay;) We also noticed how he filled larger implied shapes with  A LOT of shapes and patterns created with lines.



As we started, I reminded my students that we wouldn't be copying Mister Phil's work and we would use it as inspiration to create our own unique drawings.

We started off by experimenting in a couple practice drawings. I demonstrated drawing a large shape very softly in a rectangle. This shape was then filled with shapes and patterns of each student's choosing. I asked my artists to do at least 2 practice drawings. They then decided which one would be more interesting for a final drawing and put a check mark next to that particular sketch.

When they were ready to start on the larger drawing, I encouraged them to draw light until they had it right. I also reminded them that it was okay if their final drawing changed a bit from their original plan. As artists often do, they could revise and enhance their bigger drawings to make them even more successful than their sketches.

Once the pencil work was done, they could choose one color to trace their lines with. When adding color to the final drawings, students could use any colors they wanted and I reminded them that they could press hard and soft to make dark and light colors.











Once my artists were done with their drawings, I asked them to write Mister Phil a question regarding his artistic process. Here are a few of those questions-

"Mr. Phil, why did you become an artist?"
"Mr. Phil, how long does it take you to come up with ideas?"
"Mr. Phil, how did you get so good at drawing?"
"Mr. Phil, will you be my friend?"
"Mr. Phil, do you have a dog?"


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

quilt up!

Today I had a chance to hang the collaborative paper quilt that 28 classes created last week. The final dimensions are 8' x 24'. Again, it was inspired by Tula Pink's "TriDazzler" quilt.

It's always pretty wild to see how these come together on a vertical surface that a viewer can scan left to right without any distortion in shape.





Wednesday, August 30, 2017

shine like a diamond.

We are off and running at Zamo!

As usual, I am starting the school year off with a collaborative project that is low stress and high impact. a little background- during the first week I meet with classes for 30 minute mini lessons. This allows me to review art room rules and procedures and to get students creating right away. Kids end up creating for about 20 minutes.

This lesson always emphasizes unity and variety in both art and our school community and beyond. I make a point of introducing textile artists, fabric designers, and quiltmakers with these lessons due to the modular nature of the designs and because I feel that they are often neglected in art education and the art world.

This year, I discovered the work of Tula Pink through instagram and her "TriDazzler" quilt jumped out at me from her feed. I love the repetition of the diamonds and triangles and how the colors repeat in a looser visual way. The main adjustment we made in our approach to Tula's quilt design, was that the center line of the diamond could be rotated either horizontally or vertically.


The prep for this project is pretty simple compared to some others that I have done (looking at you Libs Elliott project and the Latifah Saafir/Sylvia Sutters project;)

I precut a bunch of 6x6" squares that covered the spectrum of colors, plus any tints and shades of those I had available. I then cut a bunch of those squares in half.


Before each class comes in, I place a square & triangle at each seat. As classes move through, I progress through the collection of colors I have to create a loose gradient across the install. I don't have a formula to the progression, it's more of a feel when having colors enter and exit, and re-enter the overall arrangement.

Students glue the triangle onto their diamond.
Students rotate their diamond, so the center line is horizontal.
Students add lines from the top and bottom of the diamond to the center line. They need at least 2.
Students add any colors like like to their smaller triangles, leaving at least one piece the color of the paper on top and bottom.
Students put glue on the back of their diamond.
Students bring their piece to the larger paper quilt and place it on, making the decision to have the center line vertical or horizontal, repsonding to the diamonds already in place.




end of day 1.


end of day 2.




I still have 2 days to go. I am out of space to assemble the full install on my tile floor. There are 14 classes that will take part in this over the next two days. My plan is to add one more section of length to make it 22' long and one more section of height along the whole thing to make it 9' tall. The final install will go on the back wall of our auditorium, so that we have have a dynamic piece of art up by the second week of school.

I can't wait to see this whole piece assembled on the wall. It's always interesting to see these come together and it's particularly cool to see it in different ways- the diamonds up close during the activity, on an angle while up on a ladder above my floor, to the finished piece to take in while standing back from it.

Our kids are always stoked to participate and watch it grow, too. Depending on the size of your school, you could have everyone take part. 

If you're an art teacher and want to try this- go for it! Just be kind and cite your sources:)