Friday, February 4, 2011

Rousseau Inspired Jungle Pictures

I had pastello's in my classroom, which I had never heard of, and designed this project around their use.  Pastellos are pressed colored chalk crayons, and prang makes a version of them.  I have never seen the brand that were already in my classroom, so they must be very old.  They blend very easily, come in bright, rich colors, and are similar to a chalk pastel's consistency but they do not create the powdery mess of chalk pastels.  I definitely recommend pastellos.

Students used the pastellos on heavy weight black drawing paper to flaunt their richness, and, to further demonstrate their bold colors, students create jungle scenes with lots of overlapping foliage. I had tons of visual resources for students to draw from.

Henri Rousseau was our inspiration and we looked at his paintings, naming the foreground, middleground, background, and focal point; elements that the drawings needed to have.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Warm/Cool Sea Paintings

Six grade students review the warm and cool colors and learn about the different qualities of line in these weaved pictures (left).  Student expand on their knowledge by mixing tints of the warm and cool colors in these under water sea paintings (right).

Abstract Tissue Paper Collage

Students studied the art of Kandinsky and Mondrian, comparing the artists' works and the different way they used line, shape, and color in their abstract paintings. Students created their own collage inspired by Mondrian and Kandinsky, constructing a unified and balanced composition.

Students discussed how Mondrian used vertical and horizontal lines, a limited pallet of primary colors, and geometric shapes.  In contrast, Kandinsky used diagonal and swirling lines, multiple colors, and organic shapes.  Student can emulate one of these techniques or adapt both into their designs.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sign Name Designs

Students practice contour line drawings by using sign language symbols for the letters in their name.  Balance and unity are achieved by adding color to the background in a conscious manner.

I demonstrate how to draw hands simply by drawing a circle for the palm and cylinders for the digits. Once the shapes are placed according to the hand position, a contour line can be drawn over the initial sketch.  It is very important for students to use their free hand as a model, creating a realistic and 3D interpretation of the hand by adding fingernails and wrinkles.

Warhol Pop Portraits

Sixth grade students are ecstatic over this project which incorporates their favorite subject matter...cartoons!

Students practice drawing cartoons first and I give them a double sided hangout of their most loved cartoons (portraits only).  The final project is completed on 4 different colors of 6x9 construction paper glued onto 12x18 manila paper.  Students draw a contour line portrait, outlined in sharpie, and colored with construction paper crayons.

Students learn about Pop Art, discussing 'what is art' and what can be considered art, concluding that personal expression is art.  I also use this opportunity to talk about copyright laws :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pollock Drip Paintings

 I took a class at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA on Abstract Painting and learned great techniques and methods for constructing abstract paintings a la the masters.  For this Pollock inspired paintings, students mixed paint with a dab of water in zip lock bags and snipped the corner of the bag so that they could "drip" the paint onto the paper.  Students were able to control the line quality by squeezing the bag to produce thicker lines and moving the bag faster to create thinner lines.  Note on drip paintings: the goal is to use contrasting values and lots of layered lines to create a sense of depth.  As always, color and shape of lines evoke certain moods.  Try to get students to capitalize of these techniques to create an authentic painting.

Celebrity Portraits

This project is amongst the favorites of my eighth graders, even those who don't think Pollock drip paintings are "cool."  I print a black and white photo of a celebrity (students choice) and the students transfer the line drawing onto canvas board by rubbing the back with a charcoal pencil.  Students use tints and shades of gray to match the value of the photo.  The objective of this project is not drawing a portrait, which every student learns to do in the seventh grade), but about mixing and blending values.  I display all the portraits in the cafeteria for the school to ogle. 
                                             (Be prepared for a lot of Justin Bieber paintings)