Sunday, May 20, 2018

Grade One: Places We Live Cityscapes

Students in grade one were shown two examples of how artists plan their pictures to fit within vertical and horizontal compositions, depending on their ideas. After much discussion, first graders were guided to see that the height of the tall skyscraper in Radiator Building by Georgia O'Keeffe, could best be emphasized in a vertical rectangle, while a horizontal rectangle can help focus our attention on the person on the rooftop of a building in Rooftops by Hugh Lee Smith.

Students were then given many rectangles cut from neutral colors in various sizes. They were instructed to use these simple rectangles to form buildings and cityscapes of their own design within either a vertical composition or a horizontal composition. This would require planning ahead of time, as their building(s) should be emphasized by the direction with which they held their paper.

Grade Four: Pop Art Animal Portraits

Starting as early as kindergarten, students experiment with many different methods of printmaking, both as an art form and as a tool in art making. As students graduate from year to year, the techniques become more complex and strategic in approach. Fourth grade students have had previous experience creating block print with styrofoam sheets in grade three, but this year have tackled the more complicated challenge of using multiple colors.

Students were given a brief history into the origins of color woodblock, as invented by the Japanese in the 19th century, and were led through a discussion on the design principle of emphasis, noting how artists drew attention to specific features and focal points in their prints. Students were then introduced to a few silkscreen prints of particular note by Andy Warhol, including Campbell's Soup I:  Tomato and a series of portraits of Marilyn Monroe. The principal objectives of Pop Art were also discussed, as well as which elements of Monroe's face are being emphasized and the reasons why.

Instead of celebrity portraits, students were instructed to draw an animal portrait from wildlife photos. These drawings were transferred to styrofoam sheets, printed in a series of steps in various colors, and culminating with students selecting a feature to emphasis in a differing color.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Grade One: Paper Sculptures About Nature

First grade students began this lesson by discussing and comparing two contemporary artworks, Floralis Generica by Eduardo Catalano, 2002 and Untitled (Seven Mountains) by Ursula von Rydingsvard, 1987. Students were quick to notice similarities to nature in both sculptures, as well as identifying how each sculpture differed from being an exact replica of anything actually found in nature.
Students were then instructed to create a sculpture inspired by nature in some manner. Works could be realistic or abstract, but materials were limited to being constructed largely from paper. Students were then given a brief demonstration on the basics of paper craft manipulation, but were also encouraged to try their own approach in transforming flat paper into a three-dimensional sculpture.

Grade Two: Narrative Sculpture

Second graders recently created narrative collages based upon favorite stories, but what about narrative sculpture? How do artists take a three-dimensional form and transform into an object with a life of its own?

Students were guided through a discussion about the element of form, and how it differs from the element of shape. They were then shown and asked to identify examples of three-dimensional forms: sphere, cube, prism, cone, etc. Students discussed how these forms can be seen and recognized in examples of sculpture, such as Constantin Brancusi's The Kiss. Students were led to notice that which may have started out as a simple form, was later turned into a sculpture with meaning.

Second graders were instructed to begin their clay sculpture with a three-dimensional form appropriately chosen to best fit their idea. From there, they could pinch, carve and shape the clay, as well as add details. Once dry, the sculptures were painted.

Kindergarten: Figures In Motion

Kindergarteners are taking their recent lessons about rendering people in artworks to a new, more complex step: depicting movement of the human figure. Young children have a natural tendency to depict figures which are stiff and whose activities are difficult to interpret. Using artworks and activities which bring attention to the body’s parts and their ability to move, help children to notice and demonstrate this observation in their own work.

This lesson began by briefly revisiting last week’s session and comparing it with the relay race runners of Lawrence’s painting and guiding children to notice that these figures were not painted from a model posing very still, but through the use of other means, such as photography and memory, in order to show the extreme body movements of the runners. Students were asked to describe which body parts were being used by the runners and were also led to notice how the artist tried to show how their bodies were working to achieve great speed.

Students were then asked to think about activities they like to do which require their bodies to move a lot, such as sports, dance, and play. Using these ideas, students were instructed to create a collage with at least one person engaged in a moving activity, paying close attention to how arms and legs move in those activities.