Wednesday, February 25, 2015

building bridges.

The 2nd graders are starting their color unit by learning about warm and cool colors this week. To help them with this, I'm using a piece of concept art from the Disney movie Big Hero 6. (the big bummer for me right now is that I can't figure out who the concept artist who made it actually is!)

Before starting with the day's work, we review what the kids learned in their last project- the abstract landscapes inspired by Jason Messinger's clay tiles. We talk about dark and light, hard and soft, and big and small. I tell the kids  that we are going to use all that stuff again today and that all of those are examples of contrast in art.

We then get into one more pair of contrasts- warm and cool colors. We identify them and I write them on the board. I also show the kids where they are located in my room, so if they aren't sure when they are working on their drawing, they can look at the list on the board and/or look at the visual examples posted in the back of the room.

When I share the bridge drawing from San Fransokyo, we talk about how it is an example of combining two places- San Francisco and Tokyo, Japan to make something new. The concept artist took the Golden Gate bridge and modified it with traditional Japanese architectural elements. We also identify that the sky is cool and the bridge is warm, that the sky is light and the bridge is bold. The bridge is big in the front and small in the back.

The project is done with both chalk pastels and oil pastels. Students pick warm or cool to use in the chalk background and use the opposite on the foreground bridge with their oil pastels. We do the sky first and then draw over it for the bridge. Students can add flair to their bridge and light posts if they wish to make it more unique.

This has been a very successful project in terms of correctly splitting their drawing into warm and cool parts, as well as creating a sense of 3d space.

I love the dragon head light posts!

look at baymax fly!

Friday, February 20, 2015

making faces:)

This week the 1st graders are revisiting the use of value and secondary colors in art. Many of the classes created MLK portraits with their classroom teachers a few weeks ago, so I decided to apply these concepts to a different type of portrait with the help of an image by Tunisian artist Ayat Taieb.

We looked at this portrait and identified the primary and secondary colors in it. We also talked about how some colors are lighter than others. We also took a few minutes to identify the different portraits I have in my classroom. What the kids discovered was that the look of portraits are not the same- artists can make a portrait in a lot of different styles and use a lot of different materials.

We used chalk pastels for this project, so kids could get practice mixing colors with different materials, so I emphasized that only their drawing tool should touch the paper to prevent unwanted smearing.

Students added white chalk to their paper to make it a lighter value first, then drew their portraits, and traced them with a black oil pastel for the contours to stand out more.

They then added primary colors to their portrait. Once the portrait was filled in, they could mix secondary colors in places.

The final step was to trace the contours one more time, so any lines that got obscured could be brought back to life:) This was a direct drawing lesson, but there ended up being a lot of different personalities present in the portraits.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

comparing, contrasting, and looking at san diego.

Short week with the holiday and all.

This week the 4th grade classes are continuing to work with value to create depth and contrast in art. At the beginning of the lesson we review contrast and the ways they used it last week to make the foreground stand out from the background. After that, students are working in teams to complete a compare/contrast organizer to help identify similarities and differences in artwork. I give the groups 5-7 minutes to complete the exercise. When the time is up, each group is called on to share a similarity and a difference. I write these on the board and encourage students to modify their organizers if another group offers one that is stronger or more suitable.

This warm up activity ties in with their ELA activities because they were doing the same thing with non-fiction and fiction texts. Reinforcing those common core standards, baby!


    They looked at an Ed Mell Arizona desert landscape and a Kevin Inman San Diego landscape.                 

Once the warm up was done, I shared a few more paintings that Kevin has done and one by California artist Erin Hansen. We looked at how each of the pieces had contrast in value and size working to create 3d space and a sense of near and far. I also talked about how Kevin works outside, on site when he makes his paintings. He isn't as concerned with detail as Ed is, he is out to capture an impression of the light and color at the particular time he is painting. This helped the kids understand why his work looks "blurry" compared to Ed's.

I told the kids that we would not be a lesson that was as direct in instruction as their desert landscapes. I left several landscapes up on my big screen and I modeled layering landscapes in the back of the room on my easel, but students could use any one of the examples as their inspiration, they could combine elements from different ones, and they could change color combinations. At the end of the lesson, I had students complete a simple stickie for their exit slip- "Which landscape project did you enjoy more and why?" 

This response was on one end of the spectrum.

This was on the other.

Friday, February 13, 2015

legos and the common core.

The first graders are working on their value unit right now. They are also all on their solid figure math unit with their classroom teachers. Last week they all made solid figures out of gum drops and toothpicks and some made them out of paper too. I thought it would be great to reinforce some of the vocabulary and content in my first value lesson with them.

To do this, we created a lego inspired still life together. We were able to review the names of the solid figures and what faces, edges, and vertices are on those shapes. Since they weren't going to actually build the shapes with me, we talked about how artists can use light and dark values to make shapes look like 3d solid figures on paper.

To introduce the project, I shared a painting by Allan Innman. We identified how each of the legos in his still life had a light and a dark side. We also contrasted the last project we did together, a Charley Harper bird and forest project and Allan's piece to see how Charley's shapes look flat and Allan's look 3d.

To balance the "mathy" aspects of the lesson I also introduced mixing secondary colors and what a still life actually is.

Our school is going to be part of an arts integration grant where the art department integrates common core grade level standards in our instruction and the classroom teachers also integrate the arts into their instruction. It is very fluid right now, I feel like the ground is shifting a bit under me (not only me, but the 2 artist in residence that work with me- I'll be guiding them through it too), but I feel like it should be an interesting and exciting ride for the students and teachers over the next couple years as we work through it. This lesson is a response to that push for integration. Taking a unit the kids are working on at the time and addressing those standards as well as art standards. I  have addressed common core standards in many other lessons, but this one was the most aligned in terms of content and sequence. The lesson is a little dry and direct, I know, but I think the kids got a lot out of it.

Next week, they will be using value again, but with a more personal twist.

Students wrote 2 sentences. They needed to address the still life in one and to identify an aspect of one of their solid figures in the other.