Friday, October 17, 2014

drawing like dalek.

This week the 4th graders continued their line unit. I introduced them to the work of James Marshall (aka Dalek), a painter and designer that works in a geometric abstract style. I wanted the kids to see how his work and the work of Sandra Willard shared similarities even though their artwork looks totally different. Working together, we were able to identify that line had similar responsibilities in each body of work- to make shapes, to create patterns, and to create (or help create) a variety of values.

We looked at a few of Dalek's paintings from 2010 and noticed that he used line to create only geometric looking shapes. Afterwards, I shared a brief video about a mural Dalek created in Boulder, Colorado. Students noticed how he created the whole painting by repeating and altering the shape, color, and value of one geometric shape. They LOVED the video:)

(I also love his take on public art, especially since we do legacy murals at Zamo every year. This wets the kids' appetite for what they will do with me next year.)

We started the drawing together by adding a vertical, a horizontal, and a diagonal line to their paper. I reviewed how to hold a ruler. We added a couple more lines together and I reviewed what it means for line to intersect. I then asked students to add 7-10 more lines going in any direction they chose, intersecting other lines or not. They then needed to add line patterns to most of the shapes they made.

All their lines got traced with black sharpies and then they added color patterns to most areas. I emphasized pressing hard and soft to create color value patterns and alternating colors to create patterns.

Once kids finished, their exit slip was to craft a letter to Mr. Marshall that used a minimum of 3 vocabulary words from the lesson word bank in the front of the room. Many kids have been coming in at recess to put the finishing touches on their drawings and those that wrote letters are curious to see if Mr. Marshall responds to their letters:)

A few years ago, I shared Dalek's work with students for the first time. The kids loved his work and their projects then, too:)

Also- This is a great interview with the artist about his process and history.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

opposites together.

LAst week the 1st graders did their first line project with me. We focused on contour lines and recognizing opposites- dark & light and thick & thin. I shared a few paintings by Australian designer Rachel Castle with them and identified her use of opposites. I love her use of repeated shape and transparent veils of color in places. As we looked and identified, I added key words to the white board, so they could be used in reflection sentences at the end of the project.

Students could use any colors they wanted, as long as they gained practice pressing softly for light colors and hard for dark colors. We also talked about "medium" and added flower shapes by pressing with medium pressure as well.

I had the students rotate their paper, so that they could fill the space more and mimic how Rachel places her shapes around her compositions. We also drew flowers on  transparent paper at the end to add a little more color variety and composition interest to the pieces.

Students wrote a reflection sentence at the end of the lesson... and then got busy over at the monster block center;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

scratching away.

Last week the 4th graders started working with line. We looked at the work of artist Sandra Willard, who uses scratchboard to create many works of art. We focused on how she uses line to do a variety of things- she creates shapes with contour lines, creates patterns, and creates different values.

Using her website portfolio as a reference, students identified these elements in a few of her pieces. Then we got started with ours. We softly drew out our landscapes with a pencil and then I modeled how to create thick and thin lines with the scratch tools. We worked out way through the landscape, creating different values by changing the number of lines and the amount of space in between lines.

At the end of the activity, my classes at the beginning of the week did exit slips reflecting on the project. With my last few classes of the week, I tried something new- letters to the artist. I asked students to write a letter to Sandra that used at least 3 of our art vocab words of the day. This wasn't as dry as the straightforward exit slip and there was some interesting variety in the kids' writings.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

making masks with marcos.

The 3rd graders continued their line unit this week. I shared some mask drawings that designer and illustrator Marcos Roman made. Marcos works for Hallmark designing greeting cards, which is another career/job choice for people looking to make a living with visual art. We talked about how he uses contour line to create simple and complex shapes, as well as using line to create patterns in those shapes. I also explained that Marcos has drawn inspiration from various cultures around the world.

Before starting the hands on project, we talked about what "similar" means. I brought out an example of their eye drawings from the previous week and asked students to identify how the two works were similar to each other. Students volunteered response and I told them they would have to write how the 2 were similar as their exit slip for the day. (ELA common core 3W1-write opinion pieces & support point of view with reasons)

Students drew their head shapes first, added facial parts with geometric shapes, filled the facial parts with pattern, and traced their lines with a sharpie. Once their drawing was traced I gave them each a wide sharpie to create lines that were thicker than others. Students finished their drawings by "coloring outside the lines". They used color sticks to create a color field across their paper. I modeled holding the color sticks on their side to create large areas of color. I also emphasized to press softly, so their designs would not get lost.