Monday, February 25, 2013

strange places.

I met with the 4th graders for the first time today since before winter break. It was good to see themJ

The last 2 lessons we did together focused on the use of tempera paint and making light and dark values with it.

I wanted to continue with the use of light and dark and I also wanted students to apply light and dark to create 3d volume and 3d space. I thought the work of Australian artist Shane Devries would give students an engaging opportunity to see these in action and to apply them in a drawing of their own.

Shane often creates surreal landscapes that have a sense of deep space and 3d volume. He has created a variety of landscape locales in his work. He also has a very interesting collection of characters that he places in these settings in a variety of ways.  I am particularly drawn to the ones he does that have very large creatures hovering or floating in the landscape.

The kids definitely got a kick out of Shane’s work. The characters and scenes drew the kids in pretty strongly. Many of these characters reminded them of characters they have seen in cartoons, stories, and some video games.

I approached this project as a guided drawing. Students had choices in shape size and position, character detail and expression, and color. Students used color sticks, which are like woodless colored pencils shaped like conte, instead of tempera. This gave them practice making values by varying hand pressure instead of adding more or less water like they did when painting.

I chose to do the drawing on gray paper, so that the students could gain some experience creating value and dept on a value that was not white. This way, they could use white in a more dramatic way to emphasize parts and bring out highlights on shapes.

So far, the students have had a lot of success with the drawing and creating value and space. Since we built the compositions together, students could move on to adding color value variety feeling confident in their drawing, and they could relax and focus more on gaining more fluency with value.

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