This project was inspired by a print that my in-laws have at their house in Maine. The image is framed right outside the room we stay in when we visit them. I love the bold coloring and the abstraction of the natural and man made forms in the composition.
The image was painted by artist George Anderson. He grew up in Canada and started a very successful design firm that he later sold to devote his creative energy to fine art and painting images of the sea and the people who make a living from it.
I thought it would be nice to keep with the sea them that we investigated with our whale drawings the week before. This time, students made a drawing that depicted the human elements of the sea instead of the natural elements that are found underwater.
When we looked at paintings from his website I prompted the students to identify the different ways George creates 3d space even though his shapes are relatively flat. They discovered that big shapes look close and small ones look far, shapes that start out low look close and shapes that start out high look far, and that overlapping shapes makes one look like it is behind another.
We also discussed warm and cool colors because George often has a very vibrant color palette in his paintings.
Students drew along with me as we created a contour line drawing with our pencils. The coloring was done with Crayola twistable slick sticks. They are a very soft oil pastel that blends very nicely after you put it down, but then dries nicely afterwards.
I demonstrated how to press very softly with the colors and then blend them into the paper with a finger. The kids thought this was very cool. They really liked the intensity of the colors. We also worked with making colors lighter by adding white or a yellow on top and mixing it in. We did this so that our shapes would look more 3d. Students also added shadows to the water since the sun was behind the objects in their drawings. I like the way these drawings came out, however, I am bummed because the slix sticks go so fast. Ten 2nd grade classes using them is about all I am going to get out of them:(
I decided to work from a number of images that George painted, so that we would have a bit more variety in our art exhibits throughout the school year.
Thanks goes out to Nancy for turning me on to George's work and thanks goes out to George himself for making so many great abstractions of the Maine sealife.