Friday, December 23, 2016
Students were then given photographs of various colorful landscapes to use as reference for their own paintings. Students were given a full spectrum of colors, but were instructed to mix and modify their colors in order to use colors more inventively. They were also encouraged to use analogous colors to make their painting sparkle with light.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Kindergarteners wrapped up their costuming unit with a lesson on constructing stick puppets. This was also a good segway into our next lessons which will be about celebrations. Students were first shown reproductions of the above artworks and led through a discussion with a series of questions:
“What are the people doing?”
“What are the people wearing?”
“What have the artists repeated in these artworks?” (lines, shapes, colors, patterns, positions of figures, costumes and uniforms)
Children were especially guided to notice the interesting clothing worn by the performers depicted in each of these artworks, and were then told they would be constructing stick puppets of people wearing interesting costumes. Students were first instructed to draw the shape of the person onto a piece of oak tag, then cut out the person using scissors, and finally decorating their puppets using a variety of collage materials made available at their table.
For this lesson, second graders examined several examples of historical and contemporary stained glass art works. The art of stained glass originated in the form of windows. Students discussed places and buildings were they have seen or might expect to find stained glass windows. Homes, churches, temples, restaurants and public buildings are among the most common buildings to find stained glass. Students were informed that stained glass windows were originally intended to give medieval cathedrals the feeling of being a special place during the dark Middle Ages.
An American artist named, Grant Wood, created this painting in 1930.
Where Is the REAL One?
The real painting can be seen at The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.
Why Is This Artwork Important?
The idea for American Gothic first came to Mr. Wood when he saw a small cottage house in Iowa which had been built in the architectural style known as Gothic Revival. Wood decided to paint the house along with the kind of people he imagined might live there. The painting shows a farmer and his grown-up daughter. They are not meant to represent any particular people, but rather ALL Americans. The man's pitchfork is intended to be symbol of hard labor and the flowers over the woman's shoulder are a symbol of homelife.
When people first saw this painting, they thought that Mr. Wood was making a joke about small town farming life and the people who lived in such rural places. However, Wood never intended for this painting to make fun of or criticize anyone. Soon after American Gothic was painted, a very difficult and poverty-stricken time came to America called The Great Depression. Suddenly, people looked at this painting differently and it was seen as a depiction of the hardworking, ever-strong pioneer spirit of the American people.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
This month's drawing challenge consisted of having third graders remove one of their shoes and draw it from observation by placing it on the table before them, much to student's delight! Students were informed that shoes, particularly sneakers, contain many intricate details in the form of lines, shapes, patterns and textures which would require their attention for this drawing. Students had the option of including shading in this drawing or keeping it as a line drawing, which would allow them to focus on the beauty of the many interior details. Some students chose to opt for the additional challenge of placing BOTH shoes on the table and arranging them into a small still-life, while others drew their shoe(s) from unusual and/or multiple viewpoints.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Kindergarten students are now beginning their first extensive unit of the school year. This unit deals with various forms of costuming and celebrations. As we think about art which is worn on the body, masks usually come readily to mind. Discussion begins with asking students about the many uses of masks and listing them on the board: disguise, theatrics, festivities, ceremony, protection, etc.
Students are then shown two examples of African masks and are asked for what purpose they think these masks may have been used for. They are also asked to find various shapes, either geometric or free form, within the design and structure of the masks. Kindergarteners are asked about facial expressions and what they are. After making several different facial expressions of their own, students are shown two more examples of African masks and asked to identify their expressions.
This lesson takes several weeks to complete, as even paper masks are very time-consuming to construct. Each week consists of new teacher demonstrations and students are shown two teacher examples which convey strong facial expressions. Students are then instructed to think about what kind of shapes can be used to help convey the expression they will choose to depict on their mask, i.e. how will sharp triangular eyes differ in expression from large, circular eyes? What kind of shapes can be used for eyebrows in a shocked expression, or an angry face? Once the facial expression was completed, students were instructed on embellishing the mask with hair.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
From these ideas, students were instructed to create a styrofoam block print of a building facade of their own design while paying special attention to the details and a various structural elements such as arches, columns, balconies and towers. Once the prints were dry and complete, students created a background setting for their building using a variety of media.