John McCallister is Los Angeles based painter who creates often vibrantly colored paintings within paintings. I especially love the play of the figurative landscapes against the abstract patterning that frame them. They recall the feel of post-impressionist and early modernist works that were made 100 years ago, but they still visually sing in our contemporary world.
His work provided the 3rd graders a great springboard to identify and create both plastic and decorative space in a drawing. We looked at a number of his paintings and the students pointed out the various ways that McCallister created a sense of depth in these paintings. They shared that he used overlapping, size and value change, and vertical placement to make create this sense of 3d space.
We laid out the basics of our compositions in pencil. Once the landscape and pattern were in place students colored their drawings with oil pastels to get some of the vibrancy that McCallister has in his paintings.
I was really pleased with the work the 3rd graders did on this project. I think it may be my favorite project so far this year.