Wednesday, January 24, 2018

words with wosene.

I've been working with our littlest artists the past couple weeks and they are experimenting with chalk pastels, too. We have been mixing colors and using letters and words in our drawings. For this activity, we are looking at the work of Ethiopian artist Wosene Worke Kosrof. He uses characters from his native language, Amharic, as the basis of his compositions.

We start the activity by looking at Wosene's website, so the kids can see him and a couple of his pieces. When looking at his paintings, we notice how some of the characters different sizes- big, medium, and small. We also notice how some of the characters resemble English letters and some look right side up, others look flipped upside down, and others look they are on their side.

Now, before getting to the letters part, we prepare to do some color mixing. The kinders have already done a collage that focused on primary colors, so we review them and then break our paper up into rectangles and squares by drawing horizontal and vertical lines. I model using the point of the chalk for this. When we start to fill shapes in, we use the side of the chalk and we try to keep our elbows up, so that our drawings and arms stay as clean as possible. (The kids also can choose to wear art aprons for this- I only have one size, so it's always a little comical watching them put the aprons on and having them come down to their shins;)

After laying the primaries in to all our shapes, we experiment with mixing by adding one primary on top of another to make our secondary colors. We also add white to a couple colors, so we can see how colors get lighter and not darker when we do.

The final step requires a switch to our greasy crayon- the black oil pastel. (I pull the black chalk pastel from all my boxes because, when they get used, drawings get out of control.) I model using a letter per shape to spell a name. As I go, I turn the paper in different directions to change the orientation of some of the letters. Once we have letters in each shape, we go back and make a few of them bold by pressing harder and making the lines thicker.

This activity has brought out a lot of joy in the kids. They're excited to see the new colors that they create and they have been digging the play of letters in their drawings.

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