Aha... the monkey bars. I loved the monkey bars as a kid, still do as an adult! Then I needed to find an artist who had used these fun filled cages of steel and plastic as the subject of an artwork. Hello, Stephen Schildbach. Stephen is a web designer, illustrator, and painter living up in Seattle, Washington. The paintings that he makes often combine different layers or windows of information for the viewer to put together. I liked this aspect of his work because I do something similar in my personal drawings. His color palette is subdued. It reminds me of looking at aged postcards. Something about the faded quality always draws me in.
When I shared work from his website with the kids I pointed out his use of different frames and windows in the same image. I talked about how tv shows and cartoons often use this technique to show that people are not in the same room, but in different places. A couple students mentioned that they had seen it when characters make phone calls on tv. Great example!
I then showed the students his jungle gym painting. We talked about the multiple frames, his use of pattern, and his use of outlines to make details of the different "characters" more visible.
The kinders then rolled up their sleeves and got to making their own monkey bars composition.
1. A solid 9x12 color sheet of paper as the base
2. A second piece that they cut in half with a type of line of their choosing- straight, wavy, zig-zag, etc.
3. Glue 2nd sheet on
4. On one half, draw a set of monkey bars- they can add any features they want
5. Draw a person on the other half- it can be a them, a family member, or a friend. I model drawing a person standing or running. In the air or on the ground. I also model using double lines on body parts, so the person doesn't look like a stick figure.
6. Add some sort of pattern to the drawing, using any shape.
7. Add color and outline parts of each section of the composition- monkey bars, person, and pattern.
The kinders definitely had fun with this and there were many unique playgrounds created in each of the classes.