We looked at the work of Maine folk artist Karla Gerard. She has a lot of work on her blog and on flickr. I really enjoy her abstract pieces. I like how there is variety in the patterns and shapes she uses. I say this a lot, but I love the human element in work where you can see the hand of the artist or the imperfections in repeated elements.
The piece of Karla's we focused on was an abstraction that used squares and rectangles. When we looked at the painting, I had the kids identify the shapes and types of lines they saw. This was a great introduction to different types of line- vertical and horizontal, long and short, thick and thin.
After we looked at Karla's work I showed the students a sample of what ours would look like and at this point I also introduced diagonal and curved lines in patterns.
Each student got a 12 x 12 square I have 3 large tables and each table got a different color square. Each student got 5 rectangles of another color, along with one more wild card rectangle that was different than the others.
Students then laid out their stripe patterns. Once that was done we glued them down. Students flipped their projects over and held them up when they finished gluing to make sure things were glued down well.
We then sectioned off the rectangles into smaller sections. The line patterns came next. Students could use any colors they wanted. I modeled a line pattern and then asked students to do the same type of pattern on 2 of their rectangle sections. We repeated this until our rectangles were filled with patterns.
The biggest challenge was getting students to make thick lines. They had skinny down, but I had to go around and work with a lot of kids on their thick lines.
When the students finished their squares we put them together on the floor to make a large group work that was reminiscent of Karla's painting.
I'll be holding onto a couple squares from each class, so I can put together a version of the project for our art show later in the year.