Sunday, June 24, 2018

Grade One: People In Motion, Near and Far

First graders began this lesson by discussing their favorite parks and playgrounds and the kinds of outdoor activities they enjoy doing. Then, students examined several artworks which depict people who are moving and engaging in outdoor activities such as playing, dancing and beach wading. Students described how the artist of each painting was able to show us what the people were supposed to be doing in the various actions, i.e. arms bent, legs in striding positions, etc.Students were then led to notice how the artists showed people and objects which were close to the viewer and those which were far, and discussed how objects appear smaller and higher in a composition to indicate distance, and how the horizon line helps to place those objects within the picture.

Students were then instructed to draw an outdoor scene of people engaged in an activity, such as dance, sports or play. They were also required to use scale to depict items within the picture which were near and far from the viewer.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Grade Three: Using Color to Show Emotion

Students in the third grade began this lesson by viewing four examples of paintings done in the style of abstract expressionism. Students were instructed to consider how color can be used to represent non-concrete concepts such as emotional feelings. Each of the four paintings were shown in slide form, during which time, students described the emotions they felt were represented in each painting, or any emotions the colors evoked in themselves.

Each student was then assigned an emotion to depict in watercolor paint, from four possibilities: joy, fear, anger and sadness. Students have already had previous experience with watercolor techniques that convey different qualities, such as bleeding colors together or painting with minimal water to achieve crisp brushstrokes. These techniques would be necessary to consider when students had to make their own decision when depicting a specific emotion in their own painting. Students were encouraged to make thoughtful decisions, and to also consider shape, line and paint quality, in addition to color choices, to best represent their assigned emotion.

Grade Four: Pinch Pots Revisited

Students in grade four were shown examples of ceramic pinch pot vessels created by a method of clay construction known as “hand-building”, which differs from wheel-throwing construction. Pinch pots are a fundamental method of construction, created by using the thumbs and fingers, simultaneously, to squeeze and press the sides of the vessels into uniformity.  Artist examples all depicted a variety of additional techniques which were used to create interest and more complex designs. Techniques included relief building, scoring, textural impressions and altered form that differs from the standard circular form of a traditional pinch pot. 

Students were then guided through the pinch pot construction process together, and then were later encouraged to include some of the additional techniques discussed in the artist exemplars. Once the pots were fired, the pieces were glazed with color and fired a second time.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Kindergarten: Found Object Insects

Kindergarten students began this lesson by comparing El Cucaracho by Rivera-Barrera with Butterfield’s sculpture, Palamino. The former carved his sculpture from wood, while the latter gained fame from her sculptures of horses made exclusively from scrap wood and/or metal. Students noticed and discussed that while many artists create their artworks from raw materials such as paint or clay, others use scrap and found materials to construct new creations. In this manner, artists can use recognizable materials in a unique and interesting way. Students were then shown examples of sculptures by Nam June Paik and Jack King, and asked if they could recognize some of the everyday objects used in the sculptures. Antique radios, car steeling wheels and lightbulbs were just some of the objects used. Students were told that like Rivera-Barrera, they, too, would be creating a sculpture of an insect, but would be doing so from scrap materials in the manner of Butterfield.

Students were given trays full of various craft objects and given a brief demonstration on the several ways pieces could be attached together. Students were encouraged to try a variety of materials to create interesting insect sculptures. 

Grade Five: Symbolic Monoprints

Fourth graders were introduced to the printmaking method of monoprinting, a method of printing very different from other printmaking forms in that there is no permanent plate created from which to create more replicas. In order to help students better understand the complicated process of monoprinting, they were shown a demonstration of inking the printing plate and using stencils to block out desired shapes and areas for printing, as well as drawing into the ink surface. Students were then guided through a discussion and shown various examples of monoprints by contemporary printmakers. Having some idea how a monoprint is created, students were now able to guess the steps each artist employed in each of the examples in order to create their final results.

Students were then instructed to create stencils to represent at least one symbol to be used in a final monoprint. Students were also required to include other printing effects in their print, along with their stencils. Prints were then numbered and signed.

Grade One: Understanding Contrast: Colors At Night

First graders learned that contrast is when a strong opposite of elements is seen in a work of art, such as light and dark, prickly and smooth, long and short, etc. To help demonstrate this point, students were shown examples of how pictures with dark backgrounds make light colors within the picture seem brighter, because the contrast of light and dark is much stronger.

When students looked at Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, they noticed how Van Gogh used different techniques to show the darkness of night, while also making the moon and stars appear to be glowing. They were then instructed to create their own dark picture in oil pastel, which had to include at least one light source. When washing over their pictures with black watercolor paint, the resist technique made their pictures seem to have a brighter contrast.