Monday, January 16, 2017

making something beautiful.

This past week my kinders got to experiment with paint for the first time. Every year, it's always interesting to see how they handle themselves with the materials and this year's group of 10 classes did a fantastic job using enough water, cleaning brushes well, keep tempera cakes clean, and painting something beautiful:)

For this project, I used the book "Maybe Something Beautiful" to introduce them to painting, self portraits, and community. The book was written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell. It was illustrated by Rafael Lopez. The story and illustrations are wonderful. It's inspired by the murals that Rafael has created throughout his career, specifically the work he and F. Isabel have done in their East Village neighborhood right here in San Diego! It's such a treat to share the work of San Diego based artists and writers with our kids... the connection it makes is so strong. There's a whole lot of "I live in San Diego too!" At Zamo, I can also connect the story's message to our school because of the large number of murals we have covering walls around campus.

I start the lesson by reading the book with the help of my mic and doc camera. After that, we talk about what a portrait is and look at the portrait of Mira, the main character, on the cover of the book. I let the kids know that they will be making a self portrait, a picture of themselves, creating something that they think is beautiful. So, this lesson has elements of direct drawing and student choice in it.

We draw out the basic face shapes together at the bottom of the paper. When it comes to hair, I have a wide variety of hairstyles drawn on a sheet for them to refer too. I also include an example of a hijab and how to decorate it. We then use crayons to add color to skin, hair, clothes, and paint brush. I emphasize finding a skin color from the multi-cultural pack that best matches themselves. 

As students are wrapping up the crayon part, I put out the tempera cake trays and water bowls. I pass out brushes after my painting demo and emphasize that kids following the Zamorano Way will get their brushes first. I share how to wet their brushes and clean them between colors. Students can draw their painting out first or they can go for it directly with the paint. Some kids choose to paint recognizable shapes that they think are beautiful while others approach it much more expressionistically.

No matter how they choose to approach the painting part, there is a whole lot of joy in the room as they do so!

 A different take on the self-portrait:)

I also did this with my special day class. They painted a full sheet and added detail and skin color to a predrawn portrait figure that was then cut and glued onto their painting.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

still life times 3.

Hello... is this thing on?

For the past couple of weeks, 3 different grade levels have been brainstorming and planning as they experiment with composition, color, value, and 3d volume/space. Each of the projects also addresses the idea of self as they are composed of personal items and favorites.

I introduced my 1st graders to the works of British artist Michael Craig Martin. I get a kick out of his thematic compositions and how he elevates and subverts this scholastic magazine/ visual dictionary figurative style. We looked at how some shapes were overlapped by others and how that's an example of front/back. We also noticed his free use of color to fill his objects.

We used his style and image structures to create a still life that was composed of things we liked to play or work with.
The kids started by writing a list of 5 things and then doing small sketches of them. After that, they moved on to taking those and trying out at least 2 different composition sketches. Before moving on to the final I have them share why they're choosing one sketch over the other to a partner.

I always encourage drawing softly, drawing bigger, and that changes may occur from small sketch to big final. They used crayon and cake temperas to complete the project. 

This is the first time these 1sts have gone though these steps with me and they did a wonderful job with the creative process.

My 4ths were using a still life by Roy Lichtenstein as the inspiration for a crayon and tempera multi panel personal still life. We identified how he used multiple panels to break up the picture. We talked about comics and how Roy was inspired by their look and visual devices. We connected this to the graphic novels today and the intro credit sequence to Marvel Comics movies these days.

The project involved them brainstorming, practicing, and planning a still life that used a minimum of 3 frames to communicate something about themselves. They also used crayon and cake temperas to complete their project.

Currently, my 3rds are also experimenting with the still life subject. This time, focusing on composition, color value, and 3d volume. We are looking at the work of LA based photographer Stephanie Gonot. I love how her compositions of food items references decorative patterns. The sweetness of her subjects and color choices also draw me right in. We look at a Picasso still life in my room and identify the point of view present in it. I then share overhead photos of food still lifes she has done and we talk about the overhead point of view and then get into shadow and light. This ties in with 3rd grade science concepts. How if we see the shadows on one side, the light source is directly opposite it. How shadows change in size and direction throughout the day, and how different size objects create different size cast shadows.

They, too, are listing, practicing, and planning as they create a still life that shows 3d volume and space, a consistent application of light source and shadow, and developing sense of effective/engaging compositions.