Tuesday, January 31, 2012

chidi chidi bang bang

I introduced the kinders to the work of Nigerian artist Chidi Okoye this week. He has worked in a number of figurative abstract ways throughout his career. I thought the kids could have fun and gain practice using primary and secondary color paints by using a couple of his abstract figures as an inspiration.

We looked at the above image and identified shapes and colors we knew. I revisited the concepts of primary and secondary colors with them here. We also agreed that the body shape did not look real. Chidi made it simpler, getting rid of facial features, hands, feet, etc.

When we looked at this one we talked about his use of overlapping to make a front and a back in the painting. We also talked bout how this was a picture of people doing something together, which is one of the kinder art standards.

We drew the composition out together, using dots at the beginning to locate where the arms and legs would end. Then we traced our pencil lines in crayon.

We used prang tempera cakes with water to paint this project. It's the second time I have used these and I love them! The colors can be opaque or transparent and the clean up is so easy compared to using tempera in a bottle. Very little waste and if colors get dirty we can just sponge them clean.

I demonstrated how to use the cakes and how to clean brushes in between colors. I asked the students to paint shapes using the primary colors first and then to paint shapes using the secondary colors. If they had leftover shapes, students could repeat colors or use black and brown.

The kinders did a great job with this project. Their paintings came out very bright and intense and clean up was over in minutes:)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

driving along

The kinders and I looked at the work of Japanese artist and illustrator Tadahiro Uesugi this week. The focus of the lesson was near/far size relationships and creating a sense of movement in an artwork.

Tadahiro has a style that recalls print ads and art from the late 5o's. His work has a mid century vibe to it, with his elongated figures, simplified value patterns, and his focus on the urban landscape. Very cool stuff. A lot of women are featured in his work, waiting to show Don Draper who's boss.

One of the images we looked at was one of the pre-preduction drawings he did for the movie Coraline.

We talked about why Coraline looks like she is much closer to us than the circus performers. "Because she's closer" was a common answer. With some guidance, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot, we discovered that she looks closer because she is so much bigger than the performers. This was confirmed when we looked at the size of a student's head close to me and compared it with a student who was further away.

For the drawing activity we based our work on the illustration below.

We identified that the side mirror was big because it was close to us in the car and the pedestrian was smaller because she was further away. We also agreed that the girl should look both ways before walking out into the street like that.

I also talked to them about using lines, in this case, diagonal lines to create a sense of speed or motion in a drawing.

We drew out the side mirror together, as well as the diagonals. I modeled things that they see in the mirror, but I emphasized that they could draw anything that they wanted to in there. I asked them to think about where they would wanted to be leaving from, or who they had just said goodbye to. There were many landscapes and many family members in the drawings.

Monday, January 23, 2012

getting them hungry.

The 1st graders made a still life project based on Audrey Flack's when we last met before winter break a month ago. I thought it would be good to revisit this subject in art since it had been so long.

This time we looked at the work of Stephanie Levy. She was born in the states but now lives over in Germany with her family. She is a painter and illustrator who creates images of room interiors. Often times, these interiors contain a still life. Sometimes she even makes more than one still life in the same image. I like how she uses found and drawn patterns to create interest in the negative spaces in her designs. It reminds me of what I do in my own work sometimes:)

The kids and I revisited what makes a still life and then identified some in images from Stephanie's website. We identified her use of pattern, too.

I didn't want to turn this into a collage lesson, so instead of using cut textiles like Stephanie, we used texture rubbing plates to create different patterns in our still life images. We talked about how things felt in the classroom and I told the kids that artists may use the actual texture or feel of something to create a visual texture or pattern in their work.

The kids were pretty thrilled to make a still life of stuff they like to eat.

We started out by drawing a cup together, so they could see how we could make it 3d. After that we added a couple different food items of their choice. I then modeled how to make a napkin and a utensil look like it is laying down by using diagonal lines for the sides and they added a couple of those elements.

Students were required to make one rectangle that had a pattern made of at least one thing from their still life in it. We then added color to the still life and the pattern.

Before we added the texture patterns, students had to add a couple more geometric shapes to fill. I demonstrated how to use the rubbing plates and then they were off. It sounded like I had a bunch of djs scratchin records in my classroom. As long as they made sure to hold the paper still the rubbing plates work great.

The students did a great job with their drawings and managed not to eat any of their supplies during the activity:) I'm looking forward to modifying this lesson and trying it out with my beginning drawing class at the college level. There I will have the students incorporate found textile patterns as well as drawing some.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

hello 2012.

How do you do?
Sorry I have been away so long.

It's good to be back. Yesterday was the first day I worked with students in a good bit. Since we our on a year-round schedule we have four weeks for winter break. The kids maintained a good level of energy throughout the day and so did I.

I had the 4th graders check out the work of Ton Schulten. I was introduced to his work by Mary over at Marymaking. She has a great art-ed blog, if you haven't checked it out you definitely should.

Ton has a keen eye for composition and color. It's like he is playing with color over a grid laid out by Mondrian. The colors often shimmer like a close up of a tile mosaic.

I thought Ton's work would provide a rich, colorful drawing experience to start off the new year. Plus, I felt his work related well to two earlier projects we had done. His subjectively colored landscapes reinforced the warm and cool concepts we learned about with Wolf Kahn's landscapes. His use of geometric shapes to break up the surface was similar to how Matt W. Moore did it in his abstract paintings.

While we looked at some of Ton's paintings from his website, we identified color groups, focal points, and elements that created depth.

When it came time to draw, I emphasized that we would include similar elements, but the placement and color choices in their compositions needed to be a product of their own creative decisions. In pencil, we worked from the foreground to the background. After the landscape was laid down, students were asked to add a couple vertical and horizontal lines to break up the overall design.

We used chalk pastels to color the drawings. Before students started, I demonstrated how to use the point and broad side of the chalk and how to create different textures by blending or not. I also emphasized that when drawing the chalk is the only thing that touches the paper. They need to keep their drawing hand off the paper to keep their work as clean as they can.

And off they went. Covering their paper and covering their hands, arms, and sometimes faces with brightly colored chalk pastels:)

It's good to be back. Thanks kids, for making it a great first day!

The drawings were done on 12x15" black construction paper.