Friday, September 22, 2017

kinders and knuffle bunny

This is my first week working with kinders this year and they are a delightful bunch!

I'm sharing the book "Knuffle Bunny Too" by Mo Willems with them as an introduction to line and shape. The main characters, Trixie and Sonja, are in TK, so it's a perfect fit:) After reading the story to them, I ask them if they have a toy that they love like the main characters of the book do. I encourage them to picture it their head.

I then ask them to practice drawing that toy. I emphasize that these do not need to be perfect! These drawings are a chance for them to share something important to me and the rest of the class. If they finish their practice drawings early, I ask them to think of a setting- where do they play with that toy? As they are planning, I make sure to go around and talk to each artist, so they can verbally share what they are drawing.

My little artists then look at their practice drawing and refine it on a larger sheet of drawing paper. I tell them that it's okay if the drawing looks a bit different than the first one and I talk about adding more details to their drawings because their paper is bigger.

They then trace their pencil lines and add color to their drawings.

This has been a great opening activity- it allows them to share something personal and it gives me an idea where students are coming in at in terms of fine motor control. It's also a nice intro to the planning stage in art.

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?"