Friday, October 20, 2017

Grade One: Geometric and Organic Shape Collage


Students in the first grade begin the year by building upon the basics of art they learned about in kindergarten, focusing primarily on the elements of design. In order to understand the element of shape, students were informed that our world is composed of two different types of shapes: geometric and organic (also known by young students as "free form" shapes). We then examined The Flight of Icarus by Henri Matisse by looking for examples of these two kinds of shapes, how the piece was created and how Matisse used the shapes to tell the story of Icarus.



Students were then instructed to cut examples of both geometric and organic shapes from colored paper to use in a collage, and to consider various ways to arrange these shapes to make their collage visually interesting.











Kindergarten: How Artists Use Shapes



This project marks the first of activities which will span longer than one week to complete, throughout the year. It is important for students at this age to strengthen their fine motor skills. Learning to control and manipulate scissors and drawing utensils is challenging and takes time and practice. What better time in the year to introduce kindergarteners to the element of shape?

Week One: Students were first shown flash cards of some easy (and some not-so-easy) to recognize geometric shapes. Their attention was then brought to Mondrian’s painting, Tableau 1, and asked if he used any of those shapes in his painting. Students were then given an envelope to store up to five geometric shapes they had chosen from a selection pre-cut by the art teacher. Once their shapes were selected, they were allowed to embellish the shapes with markers to make their selections even more special. They were also allowed to decorate their envelopes and then store their shapes for safe-keeping until the following week, when they would use these shapes in a creation of their own.


 Week Two: Students reviewed the geometric shape flash cards. This week, however, they are delighted to find some new surprises: organic, or free form, shapes amid the geometric ones. Students were introduced to both groups of shapes and how they differ from each other. They were then instructed to take their previewly chosen geometric shapes from last week and arrange them into a creative composition. What can be made from your shapes? How can they be turned into something other than a square or triangle?
Once shapes are glued into place, students were instructed to cut and add an organic shape to their composition. Markers were used to help further clarify their idea.







Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Grade One: Using Line Constructively/Tree Line Drawings



For their first lesson of the year, first graders revisited the element of Line and discussed how lines can be found everywhere in our world and that artists can use different kinds of lines to express their ideas more fully. Students examined and discussed several examples of line drawings by various artists, explaining how each artist used Line. Next, students were shown several paintings of trees done by different artists and explored how each tree was represented differently using various and often unexpected types of lines. Students were led to notice how using a particular type of line changes the way we expect a tree to look.


Finally, students were instructed to create a line drawing of their own choice. That said, everything in the picture had to be constructed from a variety of appropriate lines AND the subject had to include at least one tree. They were encouraged to think about how lines can be used to represent the many parts of a tree and different species of trees. Students were given artworks created by Asian artists which depicted different species of trees during different seasons to help them think about the many ways line can be used.







Tuesday, October 03, 2017

October Masterpiece of the Month: Self-Portrait by Albrecht Durer


Who Made It?
A German artist named, Albrecht Durer, created this self-portrait in 1498.

Where Is the REAL One?
The real painting can be seen at The Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.

Why Is It Important?
Like many artists, Durer painted himself several times during his lifetime. This is the second of three self-portraits he created. Here, Durer paints himself as a very important person, full of self-confidence and completely aware of his talent. He fills almost the entire space and size of the painting with his own image, from his hat to his arms. Durer shows himself in front of an open window with a lake and snow-capped mountains in the distance. This landscape may represent either a memory of his travels or a symbol of his state of mind. He also shows himself dressed in expensive, fashionable and fancy clothes for that time.
Some believe that this self portrait is meant to represent Durer leaving his youthful, carefree days behind and taking on the responsibilities of a mature, significant artist, something Durer began to experience at the time of this painting's creation.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Observational Drawing: Still Life: Incorporating Collage/Grade Five


This month's observational activity for second, third, fourth and fifth graders consisted of a still life composed of many different types of objects and textures. Each grade approached the still life differently, using different skills or fresh approaches to a revisited subject.


By now, grade five students have had lots of experience drawing from observation while in previous grades.  This particular technique focused on seeing and planning spacial relationships while revisiting a familiar subject they have drawn previously. This year, students were given a challenge to their approach to the still life: to incorporate college in some manner. Students were left to decide how much college they wished to incorporate, for themselves. They were given a wide variety of collage papers and drawing mediums to consider and were shown several examples of still life collages by contemporary artists working in different styles, approaches and materials. This allowed students to respond in many possible ways to this challenge.







Observational Drawing: Still Life: Continuous Line Drawing/Grade Four


This month's observational drawing activity for second, third, fourth and fifth graders consisted of a still life composed of many different types of objects and textures. Each grade approached the still life differently, using different skills or fresh approaches to a revisited subject.


Grade four students have had much experience drawing from observation while in previous grades while also developing alternative methods of drawing when approaching observational subjects. Some of these drawing methods are used to help strengthen and develop better concentration, which improve a student's focus, perception and skill. One such method is the continuous line drawing. Here, fourth graders attempt to draw as much of the still life as possible, all the while using only one, continue line and not allowing their pen to lift from the paper! Pens are used to eliminate the opportunity to erase mistakes, thus forcing students to concentrate on the present line. Student's attention was brought to notice that line drawings differ in appear from shaded drawings. They have their own unique style, and continuous line drawings are even more distinct in their appearance from other line drawings. Students then came together to share their drawing and experiences before the end of class.







Observational Drawing: Still Life: Shading and Value/Grade Three


This month's observational drawing activity for second, third, fourth and fifth graders consisted of a still life composed of many different types of objects and textures. Each grade approached the still life differently, using different skills or fresh approaches to a revisited subject.

Grade three students have had experience drawing from observation while in second grade. Among the different techniques learned last year, students have practiced shading objects with the side of their pencil to make them appear more three-dimenionsal. Here, students were introduced to charcoal pencils, given specialized instruction in using pressure and blending to depict light and value changes, as well as how to use an eraser as a drawing tool for the same purpose.






Observational Drawing: Still-Life: Overlapping/Grade Two


This month's observational drawing activity for second, third, fourth and fifth graders consisted of a still life composed of many different types of objects and textures. Each grade approached the still life differently, using different skills or fresh approaches to a revisited subject. Grade two, however, had their first ever experience drawing the still life arrangements that were set up at each table for closer examination. For second graders, this is their first year creating a sketchbook. They were told that they would be using their books in Art class periodically, throughout the year, for various reasons, including the practice of observational drawing.

A still life offers a unique perspective from single-object observation because spatial factors and placement must be considered and depicted. Students were led to notice how objects are situated behind, in front of, and next to other objects. They were instructed to draw what they saw from their seat, and to include overlapping, scale and placement in their drawing. Students had the option of adding colored, if they choose.