Thursday, December 10, 2015

landscapes- thick line style.

This week the 2nd graders are working with collage and landscape. The lesson is inspired by a skateboard design by Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Company did. In the design he took elements from a series of "thick lines" prints he did and put them together to create a layered landscape composition. The individual prints as well as the deck design are visual statements that are striking and bold in their color palette and simplicity.

This landscape touches on a couple points that 2nd graders need to know in terms of creating 3d space with shapes. It's a clear example of overlapping to create depth and Aaron also uses color value to separate layers.

This is a pretty direct lesson, but I wanted something that students could complete in one session after spending 2 classes working on their Miguel Mejia inspired animal portraits.

We quickly review the Miguel lesson and tell them that we are going to focus on creating depth in this project. When students come in I have paper laid out on the tables like this.

I ask them to look at how the papers in front of them to see if they can identify how the 3 pairs of color are similar in terms of creating a front/back relationship- each has one sheet overlap another and there is a dark color on top and a light color behind it.

We then look at Aaron's image and the kids go, "Whoa!" We look at how he uses those same elements and get ready to make some landscapes in the shape of skateboard decks.

We draw out patterns for water, trees, and mountains together on the light colored paper of each pair. When cutting, we put the corresponding darker color behind the light one, so we can cut out both sheets at the same time. Then we flip them back to dark in front of light, overlap them and place them on the deck paper.

When we get all 3 layers cut and placed we glue them down. We start with the light mountain and move forward in the scene. Once the "land" part of the landscape is done we move onto the sun and clouds. Here, it's a little different. We cut the sun, glue it onto the orange and cut a bigger circle. WE do it again for the red. We then make our cloud shape and decide the sun and cloud positioning in the sky.

To turn their landscapes into decks, I show them how we can round off the corners.

After clean up, we sit back down and the kids talk to a partner about how they created 3d space. I can cruise around and get a gist of the conversations. I then get a couple of them to volunteer to share with the whole group. Finally, kids think about what their favorite part of the project was and share that with a partner, and then some of them share with the whole group too.

The kids have loved this project. Even though it is a direct lesson, there is a decent amount of variety in the final products due to overlap spacing, sky element positioning, and pattern making.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

shape skate.

This week the 5th graders are working with shape to create a cut paper skateboard design. After all 6 classes complete the project, I will be selecting a few students who exhibited good art room citizenship and creativity to create their designs on real wood decks.

The focus of this project is on layering different color value shapes to create depth and experimenting with positive and negative shapes to create interesting layered symmetrical designs.

The inspiration for the project comes from works by 3 different artists- Eva Zeisel, Patrick Hruby, and Shepard Fairey. I share images by these artists with the classes at the beginning of the lesson. We look at how they each create symmetry with shape and how each uses a balance between positive and negative shapes to create an interesting design. We also look at how the designs are different in terms of shape usage. I ask students to think about which of the designs is most interesting to them, so they can reflect on the work at the end of the lesson.

 Eva Zeisel

 Patrick Hruby

Shepard Fairey

The first project I did with the 5ths took 2 full class sessions, plus 20 more minutes for a total of 3 hours. I wanted this project to be completed in one class session. Most kids are hitting that mark. There was a lot of planning involved with their Boa Mistura public art drawings. This activity is much more spontaneous and each layer is a visual response to the preceding layer or layers.

Students could select white or gray paper for the deck color. They could then select from a variety of light colors for their background. I modeled folding the paper vertically, horizontally, or both ways to create a line or lines of symmetry and drawing simple shapes to cut out that would become negative shapes in that color. 

Students could then pick a medium color for their middleground. With this layer, I asked students to add more detail. To make their negative shapes a little bigger to allow their first layer to show through in places.

Students used a dark color paper for their foreground. Ideally, this is the most detailed layer. It has the biggest negative shapes.

As students laid their layers on top of each other I asked them to think about if enough of their middle and back showed through. If not, they could refold the layers on top and remove more paper.

The last step is to round of the top and bottom of the large rectangle to make the design into more of a skate deck shape.

Students are reflecting on the process and inspiration at the end of the lesson in writing.

I am really loving the visual variety in the final designs!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

the kinders are tearing it up!

This week the kinders are continuing to work with shape. So far this year, they had created drawings. With this lesson, the little ones are cutting and tearing paper to make the shapes in their artwork.
I'm using an piece by Japanese illustrator Kaori Kumura as the focus image for the lesson.

We look quietly at the image for a minute and think about what we see in the picture- this seems like eternity for the kids as many immediately raise their hands to share. I ask them to put their hands down, so everyone can focus. As they share what they see with me, I write the items on the board. When we are done I ask them if we are looking at an inside place or outside place. We then talk about how this image is an example of a landscape.

The first step is to tear some cloud shapes. I model how to hold the white paper vertically and to push with one hand and pull with the other. We try to tear the paper into 2 parts and then tear it into some smaller parts. I encourage the kids to keep at least one big cloud. Students place about 6 of their torn pieces on their sky paper for their clouds. 

Then comes the glue! There are never any issues when kinders glue, especially for the first time;) 

I show them how to keep the cloud pieces on the bigger paper when gluing and then flipping the pieces over and pressing them in place. We want to keep the tables clean for the kids that come in after, so we always use the background paper as a placemat when we glue.

We then move on to our first mountain and our first cutting step. We draw a crooked line on a 6x6 square and cut along the line. I model finger position in the scissors, cutting away from your body, and all that good stuff. Students decide whether they will use both pieces of the square or only one and glue it in a corner. Before gluing, we look at how the shape fits nicely into a corner of their bigger sheet.

 We move on to our middle mountains and draw a stretched out zig zag to cut along. Students choose one half of that sheet and glue it in place. The paper for this step is 4.5x9".

 The final step our the mountains or hills in the front. We draw a very wide, crooked "v" shape across a sheet of paper that is 3x9". Students may use the cut corners of this piece or they may use the inside of the "v" shape.

I have to say that the kids have done such an impressive job cutting out their shapes. The kinder teachers have got them off to a great start!

To wrap things up, if we have time, we build a sentence about the lesson together and write it out on a sentence strip.