Form – one of the most challenging art elements for the kids. How do you teach them about 3D objects?
We started with an exercise – drawing a square, cube, triangle, pyramid, circle and a sphere. They did really well and only got stuck on the ‘changing circle to sphere’ part. We talked about shading and blending, the light that hits the object at an angle – and looked at it with a ball and a flashlight. It seemed to clicked for all of them.
Our artists this week was M.C. Escher. We explored his work and the way he distorted form to create optical illusions. The Pepe walking up the stairs in a never-ending loop was everybody’s favorite piece!
Our project was space. We used charcoal and blending stumps to draw the planets and then shade them. We talked about having only one source of light – the Sun, and discussed the way it hits the planets at the same angle. They seemed to have a lot of fun and we even had time to create a collaborative project for the school’s art show – but more about that some other time. For now, it’s a secret.
Color – the art element of art that is produced when light, striking an object, is reflected back to the eye. There are many ways one can look at color and we did – we explored a color wheel and talked about primary, secondary and complimentary colors. But our main focus was simple – warm and cold colors. We talked about the emotions behind them, explored colors in works of Van Gogh, Klee and Rothko and then used oil pastels to create these amazing toucans.
We used photos of toucans as our guides, sketched them with a pencil and then filled the whole page with oil pastels. Warm (orange, yellow and red) for the beak, cold (blues and greens) for the background and black and white for the body. When we were done, we outlined the toucans with a black oil pastel to make the toucan really pop! Aren’t they amazing?
As our filler activity we used Progresso (woodless color pencils) to color Matisse-inspired drawing – with half warm and half cold colors (to really see the difference the color makes). This is the template and the original Matisse’s work.
Another art element the kids and I talked about was a shape. We discussed what it is and looked at the way different artists used geometric and organic shapes in their work. Kids especially liked Henri Matisse and his collages (even though most of them had a very hard time seeing the snail in The Snail).
Then we did a little creative exercise. I gave each child a page with 20 circles and told them to change them into whatever they want – in under 2 minutes. They could change one circle to a ball, eye, clock… or combine two of them together to make glasses. They loved this and most of them finished about 10 circles.
For our main project we did a collage out of colorful circles and their fractions. We talked about the way we can cut them and then use them to design mandala-like images. Kids made halves, quarters, and eighths or circles and made beautiful collages. And I must say that the 2-inch circle puncher made my life a whole lot easier!
I always prepare a filler activity for the kids who finish early (especially the lower grades tend to do that) and I gave each child a sheet with 3 shapes and asked them to made a picture incorporating all of them. We got some creative (and quite different) results – from paint spills and space exploration to germs and family picnics.
January issue of arTree magazine is here! And art docents at many schools started teaching the kids about Pieter Bruegel and the atmospheric perspective in his landscapes.
In a shortcut: Pieter was a Flemish Renaissance landscape artist. He loved painting ordinary people at work. So, often he dressed up as a peasant and walked among them to observe and sketch them. He sometimes even went to a wedding nobody invited him to – just to be able to paint it authentically.
He also loved mountains and sketched many of them in Italy. When he got back to Netherlands he added them to many of his paintings. And it was at that time when painters started using atmospheric perspective in their work (scattering of light that makes mountains in the distance appear lighter/bluer).
That’s January’s main project in arTree magazine – and is being used by art docents at different schools in different grades. These are examples from one of WA schools: Kindergarten and 3rd grade. Mt. Rainer has never been so colorful!
Mount Rainier by Kindergarteners (above) and St. Mary’s Lake by 3rd graders (below).
If you would like to teach this lesson at your school, you can download and use the Power point Presentation here:
Atmospheric perspective for K-3 (Mount Rainer National Park): http://sdrv.ms/1j9wsLj
Atmospheric perspective for 3-6 (St. Mary’s Lake at Glacier National Park): http://sdrv.ms/KlUH9W
And if you would like to learn more, get all of the information and other examples, visit our website. Make your art docent program really stand out!
In these 7 weeks, we will be discovering Art Elements: line, shape, texture, space, color, value and form.
The first one was Line. We have talked about the right definition and then looked for different kinds of lines: straight, wiggly, curly, thin, thick… then we did a little exercise: how many different kinds of lines can the kids create in under one minute? The record? 20! I was very much impressed.
We have also looked at famous artists and how they used line: Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso and Bridget Riley. The kids especially loved the light painting by Picasso and took a hundred guesses how he did it.
Then we used the different kinds of lines we talked about to create our crazy hair (or beard) people. Kids really got into it. Some of them spent over 30 minutes to make their hair perfect, others made 5 drawings in that time – but they were all excited!
When they were done, we did another short project: an op art bookmark. Over the holidays I scored these amazing scrapbook papers with lines on them (the 25 sheets were for 50 cents so I have a lot of them now) and I thought they would work great for this lesson, and they did. Just a little sample of what we did:
That was it. We hardly had any time left for cleanup. Next week: shape!