Monday, January 16, 2017

making something beautiful.

This past week my kinders got to experiment with paint for the first time. Every year, it's always interesting to see how they handle themselves with the materials and this year's group of 10 classes did a fantastic job using enough water, cleaning brushes well, keep tempera cakes clean, and painting something beautiful:)

For this project, I used the book "Maybe Something Beautiful" to introduce them to painting, self portraits, and community. The book was written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell. It was illustrated by Rafael Lopez. The story and illustrations are wonderful. It's inspired by the murals that Rafael has created throughout his career, specifically the work he and F. Isabel have done in their East Village neighborhood right here in San Diego! It's such a treat to share the work of San Diego based artists and writers with our kids... the connection it makes is so strong. There's a whole lot of "I live in San Diego too!" At Zamo, I can also connect the story's message to our school because of the large number of murals we have covering walls around campus.

I start the lesson by reading the book with the help of my mic and doc camera. After that, we talk about what a portrait is and look at the portrait of Mira, the main character, on the cover of the book. I let the kids know that they will be making a self portrait, a picture of themselves, creating something that they think is beautiful. So, this lesson has elements of direct drawing and student choice in it.

We draw out the basic face shapes together at the bottom of the paper. When it comes to hair, I have a wide variety of hairstyles drawn on a sheet for them to refer too. I also include an example of a hijab and how to decorate it. We then use crayons to add color to skin, hair, clothes, and paint brush. I emphasize finding a skin color from the multi-cultural pack that best matches themselves. 

As students are wrapping up the crayon part, I put out the tempera cake trays and water bowls. I pass out brushes after my painting demo and emphasize that kids following the Zamorano Way will get their brushes first. I share how to wet their brushes and clean them between colors. Students can draw their painting out first or they can go for it directly with the paint. Some kids choose to paint recognizable shapes that they think are beautiful while others approach it much more expressionistically.

No matter how they choose to approach the painting part, there is a whole lot of joy in the room as they do so!

 A different take on the self-portrait:)

I also did this with my special day class. They painted a full sheet and added detail and skin color to a predrawn portrait figure that was then cut and glued onto their painting.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

still life times 3.

Hello... is this thing on?

For the past couple of weeks, 3 different grade levels have been brainstorming and planning as they experiment with composition, color, value, and 3d volume/space. Each of the projects also addresses the idea of self as they are composed of personal items and favorites.

I introduced my 1st graders to the works of British artist Michael Craig Martin. I get a kick out of his thematic compositions and how he elevates and subverts this scholastic magazine/ visual dictionary figurative style. We looked at how some shapes were overlapped by others and how that's an example of front/back. We also noticed his free use of color to fill his objects.

We used his style and image structures to create a still life that was composed of things we liked to play or work with.
The kids started by writing a list of 5 things and then doing small sketches of them. After that, they moved on to taking those and trying out at least 2 different composition sketches. Before moving on to the final I have them share why they're choosing one sketch over the other to a partner.

I always encourage drawing softly, drawing bigger, and that changes may occur from small sketch to big final. They used crayon and cake temperas to complete the project. 

This is the first time these 1sts have gone though these steps with me and they did a wonderful job with the creative process.

My 4ths were using a still life by Roy Lichtenstein as the inspiration for a crayon and tempera multi panel personal still life. We identified how he used multiple panels to break up the picture. We talked about comics and how Roy was inspired by their look and visual devices. We connected this to the graphic novels today and the intro credit sequence to Marvel Comics movies these days.

The project involved them brainstorming, practicing, and planning a still life that used a minimum of 3 frames to communicate something about themselves. They also used crayon and cake temperas to complete their project.

Currently, my 3rds are also experimenting with the still life subject. This time, focusing on composition, color value, and 3d volume. We are looking at the work of LA based photographer Stephanie Gonot. I love how her compositions of food items references decorative patterns. The sweetness of her subjects and color choices also draw me right in. We look at a Picasso still life in my room and identify the point of view present in it. I then share overhead photos of food still lifes she has done and we talk about the overhead point of view and then get into shadow and light. This ties in with 3rd grade science concepts. How if we see the shadows on one side, the light source is directly opposite it. How shadows change in size and direction throughout the day, and how different size objects create different size cast shadows.

They, too, are listing, practicing, and planning as they create a still life that shows 3d volume and space, a consistent application of light source and shadow, and developing sense of effective/engaging compositions.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

cutting with kinders!

The kinders have started their second rotation with me this week and they are cutting and gluing with me for the first time... and it is going wonderfully!

So many of the kids are doing a fantastic job of holding, opening/closing, and following their drawn lines. This is not necessarily the case every year, so a big shout out to kindergarten teachers and families that have got these little ones on their way:)

I'm using the work of Marcos Roman as the inspiration for this project. I've used his work before with a couple different grade levels. He recently did a series of mask portraits for #inktober and has been posting them on instagram as he makes them. We focus on one image in particular and look at how he uses round shapes (ovals) , how he decorates them with patterns, and how one of the shapes looks like a face. We then go through and identify the various face parts in the collage Marco made.

To start the project, I actually pre-draw the oval/egg face shape. We go through and add the face parts and patterns with a pencil (or white color stick if on black paper). I encourage the kids to make choices with each step- what shape will they use for the nose? the ears? the mouth?, and so on.

The classes working on white paper then use a marker to make the lines bold and those working on black go over their lines with white once more.

Students then draw an oval as big as they can on primary color sheets of paper and add line patterns to each.

Then we are ready to cut! I model how to hold the scissors, opening & closing, and using the hand holding the paper to turn it as we cut. Once everything is cut out, we plan where the primary color shapes will go and then where the face will go. I model using a gluestick, how to raise the glue level, how to do the gluing on the paper and not the table surface, and hold to press the parts on.

When everything is done and kids have cleaned up, some classes have had enough time to collaboratively build a few sentences that explain what we did for their teachers. This has been a great way to get many kids involved in using the vocabulary of the day:)

Friday, October 28, 2016

being positive with adrian.

For their 2nd rotation of the year (2 classes), the 4ths explored positive and negative shapes in art. The first project was inspired by illustrations British designer and illustrator Adrian Johnson did for an article titled "You Don't Need to Shout". I have been a fan of Adrian's work for some time. I love his use of shape and color in his engaging compositions. The way I have been spinning the content of the article is that it is an anti-bully piece. You don't need to be aggressive or hostile to get people to like you or to be loyal to you. You can go about it in ways that are much more kind.

After discussing how Adrian has subverted military vehicles or weapons in these illustrations by having them fire items much more cheerful and happy in nature, we address his use of positive and negative shapes in them. We look at the balance between the space the shapes take up compared with the background shape.

Students were then tasked with creating images that were inspired by Adrian's message and use of shapes, but not direct copies of them. To assist students, I provided a handout with some vehicles on it. That way they had more info about the actual shapes and details of these things instead of relying on memory. If they wanted, they could use a different weapon shape and those students could pull up a photo on my computer if they needed more detailed reference images.

Students were to complete at least 2 sketches and then write a sentence that explained why they were choosing one of them for their final design. I asked students to include 2 elements- their vehicle and at least 7 items being shot out of that thing.

Once they were done with this part, they drew out their weapon/vehicle on another piece of white paper. They were to draw it as big as possible and cut it out so they could glue it on a gray piece of background paper.

Students then selected colored pieces of paper to create the objects being fired or launched in their designs. I encouraged them to use a variety of sizes to reinforce a sense of 3d space in their relatively flat collages. We also talked about having the shapes expand outward- going from small to large in a triangle or wedge shape. When they finished cutting and gluing, they could go in with colorsticks to add details to their weapons or happy shapes to make parts more interesting.

Students wrapped up this project by identifying the specific pos/neg shapes in their designs and to think of something they would do differently if they could and why.

The Adrian Johnson project took roughly one class and an additional 20 minutes in the second class to complete. With the extra time (about 40 minutes), we did another collage project that continued to focus on positive and negative shapes. For this I introduced them to a collage done by cut paper artist Eiko Ojala.

Students selected 3 sheets of paper- black, gray, and one color. I demonstrated how to draw a light post, how to measure the light beam, and how to assemble them all together. The choice of character, light post shape, sky details were entirely up to the kids.