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.