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.


  1. I love your description of Schulten's work. Wonderful artwork by your 4th graders...every one of them frame worthy! Thanks so much for the shout out.

  2. These are ALL sooooo interesting. I love the color choices and the geometric divisions of the landscape. If I didn't know they were done by 4th graders I would guess that they were done by MUCH older kids. Bravo to you all!!

  3. Welcome back to bloggerville, D. I must say, these are STUNNING! I agree with Christie, they look like they were done by much older kids. That's the beauty of teaching the elementary grades, isn't it? People are always underestimating our kid's abilities and we get to show them just how creative and skilled they are! Good work my good man!

  4. These are great! I'd hang any one of them on my wall. And now I'm getting out my own pastels and giving this a try. Looks like fun!

  5. Hello! I love this lesson and I'm also
    passing on the Liebster Blog award to you and your fabulous ideas!
    1. Copy and paste the award on your blog
    2. Thank the giver and link back to them
    3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
    4. Spread our love of art to other bloggers

  6. these are really nice. i like the color blocking look, it also reminds me of Paul Klee's work. thanks for sharing.