Wednesday, September 27, 2017

kinders and camille

My TK and K classes are continuing to explore line this week. I'm using the bright, bold, graphic work of Camille Walala to introduce them to directional line and line thickness. I'm sharing a couple prints that Camille made for her "Dream Come True" series. We go through one and look at how some lines go side to side, up and down, and somewhere in between. After pointing out each one, the kids and I make those lines with our arms and "expressively" say the line name that goes with the particular line.

We then notice how those lines work together in her pieces to create shapes with straight lines- rectangles, squares, and triangles. We also compare how her name next to the image uses thin lines and the lines in the print are thick and bold.

Before starting the hands on portion of the activity, I let the kids know that this drawing will be different than their Knuffle Bunny toy drawings from the week before. With this activity, I am asking them to follow along with what I do. Doing so allows me to get a sense of where they are at in terms of understanding line concepts.

We draw out the composition together (and even though we do this, there is still a wide range of compositions due to motor control and spatial awareness) and then I model how to hold our color sticks to fill in shapes. I show them how to put "bumpers up" along the edges of shapes to keep their images neat and I also demo using the point and the side of the color sticks to fill small and large areas. Students may use any combination of colors in their drawings. I encourage them to try and repeat colors to make patterns, too.

The final step is to use a big black crayon to trace/go over our pencil lines, so that the lines are thick and dark like Camille's I encourage them to use their muscles to press hard, so the black is nice and dark.

When students finish, they may go to any of my choice building centers. After about 5-7 minutes, we clean up and regroup to build a couple sentences about the drawing process. We read the sentences, orally share different words to use, and then fill in the blanks in the pre-typed sentences.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

lining space with gp.

The 3rds are experimenting with line as they look at the abstract compositions created by Gary Petersen for inspiration. To start the lesson, we look at several of Gary's brightly colored abstractions. Specifically, we look at how, even when an artwork is non-objective, it can still have a sense of 3d space that is achieved with repeated diagonals and the changing height and width of included lines.

After identifying how space is created in 3 of Gary's pieces, we experiment in a similar fashion on our practice paper. When doing so, I remind students that these are not expected to be perfect, but I do want them to try their best while they play with line.

After we practice, I ask the students to select one sketch they like more than others and to think about why they think that one will be more interesting as a larger drawing. We then partner up and share our reasoning for choosing one sketch over the other. I point out that this oral practice will help them write a reasoning statement about the project once their drawing is done. They are using this oral sharing to rehearse their reflection sentence.

When we draw out the larger design, I remind my student artists that they may add more detail to it with line and shape and that it's okay if the design changes some from the preliminary sketch. Students are free to use color as they like- I do model changing hand pressure to create light and dark color values because this could heighten the implied 3d qualities of the drawing. I also express that they can leave areas white if they want to do so.

This guy's shirt was a fantastic example of spatial line!

I love that even though we practiced similar compositions, there is still a wide array of variety in the compositions created. Students wrote out the reasoning statement that they rehearsed as a quick wrap up activity.

Friday, September 22, 2017

kinders and knuffle bunny

This is my first week working with kinders this year and they are a delightful bunch!

I'm sharing the book "Knuffle Bunny Too" by Mo Willems with them as an introduction to line and shape. The main characters, Trixie and Sonja, are in TK, so it's a perfect fit:) After reading the story to them, I ask them if they have a toy that they love like the main characters of the book do. I encourage them to picture it their head.

I then ask them to practice drawing that toy. I emphasize that these do not need to be perfect! These drawings are a chance for them to share something important to me and the rest of the class. If they finish their practice drawings early, I ask them to think of a setting- where do they play with that toy? As they are planning, I make sure to go around and talk to each artist, so they can verbally share what they are drawing.

My little artists then look at their practice drawing and refine it on a larger sheet of drawing paper. I tell them that it's okay if the drawing looks a bit different than the first one and I talk about adding more details to their drawings because their paper is bigger.

They then trace their pencil lines and add color to their drawings.

This has been a great opening activity- it allows them to share something personal and it gives me an idea where students are coming in at in terms of fine motor control. It's also a nice intro to the planning stage in art.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

multiple murals and many lines

My 5ths have started the year experimenting with line to create a wide array of active abstractions. To get them inspired, I shared the work of 4 painters. We looked at the vibrant, large scale work of Jason Woodside, Monty Montgomery, and the collaborative team of Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn.

 Jason Woodside at work.

A recent mural Jason did in North County, San Diego.

 Monty Montgomery with a mural series he completed last year.

One of Monty's murals right here in San Diego.

 Jessie & Katey's mural at the Oval in Philly. I got to see 
this in person (and play ping pong on it:) when I visited family in the area!

Jessie & Katey at work on a mural in Atlanta.

After a brief intro to each artist, I gave my students an opportunity to talk:) I asked them to work in table groups to discuss the ways that the murals of the artists were similar. Table groups then volunteered to share their findings and then they moved on to discussing differences that they saw and they shared those, too.

Before getting started with the visual design problem, I asked my student artists to think about which of the artists' work they were most engaged with and to reflect on why they felt that way. This would be a question on their project exit slips and I wanted them to be aware of it before they got rolling.

There were 2 main constraints for this design problem- they needed to create an abstract composition and they needed to use line to create shapes and patterns.

Students were also required to do at least 2 preliminary sketches before starting on their final and they needed to explain their choice of sketch in writing. I emphasized the need to supply evidence for that choice in their explanation.

When their preliminary work was done, students moved on to the final 9x10" design. Planning in pencil and then moving onto color. They could use color sticks and colored sharpie markers. I reminded them that the color sticks were good for large areas and the sharpies worked well for detailed areas and emphasizing contour lines.

As you can see below there was a wide range of approaches to the design challenge. When students had completed their designs, they filled out an exit slip that got them to reflect on the project.