Monday, May 23, 2016

Emphasis and the O'Keeffe Inspired Flower

This is actually the third year that my students have created up-close flower paintings while learning how artists create emphasis, and being introduced to the works of Georgia O'Keeffe.

I found one of the best videos on YouTube for teaching emphasis. You have to check it out. Here is the link I do not own this video or anything, just found it while scrolling around on YouTube looking at nerdy art teacher videos. 

After the kids are all jazzed from the video, and I have them identify what is most important, and how we know it is most important, in different artworks at the end of the video we do a few small exercises for them to show me that they understand how to use emphasis in their art.

Their flower paintings actually take several class visits to finish. On the first day they draw their flower and begin outlining it with sharpie. The second day, they start coloring in only the flower using oil pastels. I try to get them to experiment with highlights and shadows (few ever do), They do actually play around with and learn to use the pastels pretty well with this project. They are usually still coloring with oil pastels on the third day. The fourth day, we paint the background with water colors. 

Another thing that I like about this assignment is that I get to talk to them about mixed-media. I explain that their paper is special paper called mixed-media paper. We discuss what media is, and why we need this paper to use different kinds of media. I also get to show them how to get bright colors, and not watered down colors out of their paints. This project also works well to review warm and cool colors. We use color temperature to help create emphasis. Students have to pick either warm or cool for their flowers, and use the opposite for the background. 

Here are some more examples. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Collaborative Grid Portraits

2nd year in a row doing this lesson with 5th Grade. Students learn about Chuck Close, the grid method, and breaking big jobs into small pieces and sharing in the workload to accomplish big things. Last year my 5th graders created two large portraits of our Principle and Vice Principle. This year 5th graders created portraits two other administrators at our school. These portraits are 32"x 40". Students do not know who they are creating portraits of as they are doing it. I keep it a secret. An 8x10 photo is cut into one inch pieces and spread out among 4 classes of 5th graders. Students enlarge their piece of the portrait to 4"x4" using a grid, then complete it with pencil value. Students do the initial layout and piecing/taping together of the squares. I come back when they are done and straighten up some of their seems. It is a lot of fun to watch the students guess who the portrait is of as it comes together. The whole lesson takes about 3 class times (50 minutes each)to teach and complete. After these are done, we give them to the subject of the portrait as a gift.

Students use a grid with the numbers of the pieces written on it as a map while they put the portrait pieces together.

Students lay their one inch square on top of their value drawn piece for comparison.

Sometimes a few pieces get lost, but special helpers get picked to do the missing pieces. Everyone enjoys this project.

Origami and Street Art

Yesterday my after school program students designed a wall piece in the main hallway of our school made of origami cranes and butterflies. For the past 3 weeks, 4th graders have been learning origami. They have had the choice to take their origami creations home, or donate them for this project based off of the artwork of Mademoiselle Maurice. Check out her website, She has some great work, and the students loved how origami can be used for street art. Below is one of her works.

My 4th graders have loved doing origami. Origami has seemed to tame even the wildest of post-spring break classes. It does take them about a class and a half (50 minute classes) to learn a crane or a butterfly. 

Currently we are learning how to make origami dragons, thanks to a great video from Art for Kids Hub. We used their video for learning how to make a butterfly too. Their origami videos are great for my fourth graders. The instructions are clear, entertaining, and they go at a pace that my students can keep up with. Seriously the best origami instructions I have found for students. The students respond way better to following a video tutorial than paper instructions or even me showing them on the overhead. I do still pause at key steps, make sure everyone is understanding, and sometimes show how I make the same folds.

The fact that almost every student wanted to take their origami projects home, rather than donate them is a testament to their excitement about origami. I have had a large percentage of students that have gone home as well and looked up other origami tutorials and brought me presents of other origami creations. I had visions of our hallway design being much, much bigger, but a small amount of donated works kept that from happening. I am just glad that this close to the end of the school year, they are stoked about an art assignment. Here are some more pictures of  our hallway design.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Perspective and Craftsmanship with Kindergarten and 1st Grade

This is lesson was a repeat from last year. Around the time that 1st grade is teaching 3D shapes, I teach perspective. Great time for some cross-curricular connections. I love introducing Kindergarten and 1st grade to perspective. They are totally bought in. They think drawing in 3D is the coolest.

 I teach them 3 simple steps. First you draw the shape of the front. Second, you add diagonal lines (all pointing to the same corner of the paper), and last you use twin lines (parallel) to connect the ends of the diagonal lines. 

Of course some students struggle with this, but surprisingly they keep at it, even at home. Heck, at the beginning of this school year almost all of the students I taught this to last year, had practiced all summer. Their favorite is when I show them how to use perspective when drawing a car.

After our drawings are complete, we practise craftsmanship with markers. I really push slowing down. We had a great success this year. The other thing that has to be pushed is filling in all space with color. No white. Here are some of the results. Honestly, I let some of the best ones go before taking a photo.