Wednesday, January 29, 2014

working with opposites.

This week I am working with our youngest kiddos again and we are learning about light/dark and over/under. I am using a few small works by Maria Strauss Likarz as the inspiration for this project.

Maria was a textile designer in Austriain the early part of the 20th century. There is not a whole lot of info on her out there, but I love her use of line and color.

We looked at the images below and the kids identified the flowers, leaves, and stems, as well as the geometric shapes in the images.

We then talked about how some of the shapes were over other shapes and how some shapes were under other ones. Earlier in the year, we did a whale drawing that focused on above/below relationships, so this is a similar concept for the kinders.

We started by drawing background shapes on the big paper. I told students to press hard with their color sticks, so the color would look bold.

We then colored our larger leaves. We pressed hard on one side and left the other alone (or some colored both sides and we made sure that one side looked darker than the other). By doing this the leaves looked like they had a fold, so one part is getting more sun than the other.

When we colored the flowers, I talked about how the circle was from the front and the cone shape was from the side, so they looked different than each other. We pressed softly on one part of the side view flower to make it look a little more 3d.

We then cut out all the shapes and glued them in an arrangement we liked. So, even though we follwed the same steps, color usage was different as well as cut paper placement.

Friday, January 24, 2014

giving them a lift:)

This week the 1st graders tried out making things look 3d for the first time this year. I share the work of Cbabi Bayoc with them for inspiration. Cbabi is primarily a portrait painter and we looked at a number of images form his website to see how he made flat shapes look more round by using light and dark colors in his paintings.

I really enjoy how Cbabi works with the human form and how he works with planes of color. A couple years ago he did a painting a day called "365 Days with Dad". I talked about this with the kids; how he wanted to celebrate the importance of father figures in African American culture in the lives of children. These father figures could be dads, or stepdads, older brothers, cousins, teachers. Basically any older male in a child's life that serves as a role model for children.

I emphasized that our project would be about family. Is the child you or a brother or sister? Who is the adult? Mom or dad? Uncle or aunt? Somebody that lifts you up and makes you feels good.

We drew out the bodies together, added hairstyles, and then used light and dark to make the shapes look more 3d. I started the project with pastels on dark paper, since the last project before break used the same materials. However, after a couple classes I switched to color sticks because I felt their drawings were getting out of control with the pastels. After a couple more classes I switched from dark paper to white. I think the light and dark effects are most successful on the white paper, but I do like the way the outlines are not as obvious on the darker paper.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

what a big eye you have.

My classroom got a deep cleaning over winter break, so why not dirty it right back up again, right?!

This week the 4th graders are working with pastels for the first time this year. They are applying light and dark techniques that we practiced on the snowpeople project right before break to a different subject... Smaug.

We draw out the contours together and then work through the tinting and shading together, too. As we build the eye and skin I model how to blend to create smooth texture and leave unblended to create a rougher texture. The color choices are up to the kids. We build the skin first and then do the eye, so I remind them that they can use colors that are in harmony with one another or ones that are complementary/opposite of each other.

When I introduce the project I share that the animators of Smaug (there were 12!) focused not only making Smaug look real, but they also devoted a lot of energy into getting his personality to come across.

I wanted the kids to be thinking about this as they worked in class. One of their exit slip questions was to tell us about their dragon- give us information on it emotionally and physically.

There has been a lot of success with this project. It's great to see so many kids creating 3d effects in their work:)

Monday, January 20, 2014

uh oh.



Sometimes things just don't work out in the art room, even when you think you have things all planned out. This lesson was one of those times.

I was excited to do a project with my 4th graders that was inspired by a series of ads Blattner Brunner did for Lego a few years ago. 

An exercise that focused on diagonals and tints and shades to make shapes 3d. An exploration between geometric and natural shapes.  Abstract vs. more realistic contours. A chance to discuss fractions in sculpture and drawing. In other words... way too much stuff going on!

We did guided practice drawings of individual lego blocks first. I emphasized really keeping their drawn lego creation simple. Keep it to around 7 or so blocks and use the detail in the cast shadow to really tell the viewer what they were looking at.

The kids did great with the guided practice, but so many got lost when they were asked to combine blocks together to create a different shape. Many attempted block forms that were way to complicated with too many shapes. I should have done more guided practice of adding shapes together. They had done a project earlier in the year (Marz Jr. inspired architectural drawings), so the use of line to make 3d forms should not have been foreign to them. For some reason, I didn't anticipate the confusion that happened. 

I did the lesson with one class, then did it with one more, making sure to emphasize simplicity in their lego form. After the second class, I decided to switch to this snowperson project, which still emphasized 3d form through light and dark, but abandoned the perspective aspect. If I were to attempt something like this again, I would use at least 2 class periods, so kids had more time to practice. I hate having projects take up multiple class periods though, since I see each class about 10-12 times a year due to our school size.

If students completed the project early I encouraged them to then build their lego drawing with legos from my classroom lego center.

Below are pics of some of the more successful projects.