Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lines and Color Bursting Forth

A few weeks ago I wrote about line patterns that started with black and white and then progressed to color surrounding them. The lesson is here. I finally got around to teaching this to 2nd graders this week and thought I would post the results. Actually, I changed how I taught the lesson a bit.

We started out discussing different styles of lines and named a few of them. Kids drew some of their ideas on the Smartboard (sorry I forgot to take some pictures of this part of the lesson). Students then drew a minimum of 3 lines on their 3" X 4" boards. They had to begin and end on an edge and each edge had to have at least one line beginning or ending on it. This was to help create a background with lines extended in all directions, providing nice large sections to paint.

 Children cut small squares of foam core to raise this rectangle from the background and create a "pop-up".
Once the small piece was glued on, they extended all their lines to the edges of their larger board (8" X 10"). Finally, they painted the background sections using cake tempera. The focus here was using color thoughtfully and purposefully. (We had spent some time reviewing color systems.)

I loved the variety of lines and was so pleased that almost everyone remembered how to use their brushes correctly (without mashing the bristles) and cleaning them well between colors!! The best part of this project was that children worked independently with very little need of help and actually finished in one class period ( 50 - 60 min.)
I like the way this girl used separate colors for each of the "loops" in her vertical line:))

I made the suggestion that kids could leave some sections white. This student didn't quite get the concept of extending his or her lines to the edges of the board, but I really like the result!!

Look at all these great reds with the one section of the complement, green!! Great color mixing!!

The lines on the small rectangle fairly explode off the page -- such terrific action!!

These make me smile in the same way that Matisse's cut-outs do:))

This shows a nice, intentional use of white space.

I liked seeing how students treated their extended lines. Some painted over them, some left them black and white, and this student painted his blue:))
After drying outside (if you live in Boston, I am sorry to show you this one!!) I put a few up in the hallway display case.

Sometimes I display line works like these touching each other so that the lines seem to connect and create a network. I didn't do that here, but now I am thinking that maybe I should have!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Warm and VERY Cool 3-D Hearts

2nd graders started this project with a look at Eric Telchin's book, See a Heart Share a Heart as well as a comparison of works by Jim Dines and Jeff Koons. We were particularly interested in how artists shade objects to make them appear 3-D and their use of warm and cool colors (which helped to create balance in their artwork.) The ultimate goal was to make the shaded heart to appear to "pop" off the page.

Students used 1-inch illustration board strips (instead of rulers) to draw their borders. This is a good opportunity for partner work.
Next, they used pastels to create either warm or cool backgrounds, choosing geometric or organic shapes.
I taught a directed lesson on making a heart following the steps below.

Then, using oil pastels in a color contrasting with their backgrounds, kids colored their heart. They shaded it with black, and went over the whole heart again with their original color, trying to blend the colors and "move" the black towards the center.(It helps to use soft oil pastels!!) This was as far as we got on the first day.

On Day #2, students cut out their hearts, looked for a good spot to place them on their background and traced around them lightly. Following a bit of Jim Dines' work, they used a black Stayonal crayon to make the scratchy, spiky marks and then glued on their hearts. I did a quick review lesson on how to hold a glue bottle (horizontally with their thumb on top) and "touch, squeeze and lift" to control the size of their tiny glue dots.  

For the border students used their finger dipped in a warm or cool color and then white. 

The paint choices matched their large heart. That is, if someone had a cool colored heart, then they also used cool colors to make their little border hearts. I controlled this on the first day by having only cool or warm colors at each given table. That way I didn't have to provide all six colors of paint at each table. If I still had my own classroom that wouldn't have been a concern. But now that I am traveling on a cart from room to room, I find that I am being ultra organized and am always trying to manage how many materials I can actually fit onto the cart!! (UGH!) Students made the letter "V", pulling down diagonally to form the hearts. There was a LOT of conversation about the creative color mixing!!

In Eric Telchin's book, he searches for hearts everywhere and takes pictures of his "heart finds." A lot of kids found that when they dipped their fingers in the white paint to tint the color already on their finger, that they left a heart shape of color on the surface of the white paint!! That was quite a thrilling discovery for many!!

Here are some of the finished pieces:
These are drying outside in the sun. I thought some of you in the  East might want a peek at some 70° weather as you await Spring. Don't worry, it WILL arrive for you!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Patterned Columns a la Siena Cathedral

Every now and then Pinterest provides a wonderful "find." That's how I felt when I stumbled upon a zentangle blog (here) that took its inspiration from the columns inside the wonderful Siena Cathedral. There are some great images of the cathedral's interior on Google.
The site teaches how to get the 3-D look, as well as how to "wrap" the design with a frame. What a great way to reinforce repetition, pattern, line direction (vertical, horizontal, parallel) and shading!!!

Since the only materials needed are a fine line marker, pencil, ruler and paper or board, it is great lesson to leave for a sub when you are going to be out of your class, too!

4th graders started by drawing their frame. Next they drew vertical pairs of lines to mimic the columns. These can be parallel, that is not necessary. Single vertical lines can be used to create a zig-zag effect. The next step was to draw horizontal bands that they would fill with patterns. ** Some students needed help seeing the arc lines connecting the verticals:))

 Then they created border designs that wrapped around their piece. The last step was to shade one side of the columns or zig-zag and shade the interior side of their frame border to add depth.
Here are few that are almost finished.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Art in the Hallway

The main hallway in our school leads from the school entry to the office to the cafeteria and then out to the main playground. In other words, it gets LOTS of foot traffic.
 This part of our school was built in the late 1930s and all corridors are outdoors (but covered), so when they added these display boards much later, they put glass on them to protect the contents. The lesson for these still lifes can be found here.
This recent lesson can be found here. The mat board frames come from the recycle bin of our local frame store (thank you LA Art Exchange for saving us your scraps!!)
I love that kids (as well as parents, teachers, etc) often stop to view and discuss the art. I have often thought, "Wouldn't it be great to have a way to listen in on all the conversation that student art generates?!" I get to hear a little bit of it as I am putting up or taking down displays, but I would so love to capture all the spontaneous comments and share them, too!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Color Matching and Composition

Here's a little one day project that incorporates using a lot of art skills: composition, color matching, line, balance, repetition, mixing colors, brush techniques, -- you get the idea.
Perhaps best of all, it starts with recycled boxes/magazines -- my favorite!! This means I get to reduce the size of my saved cereal box stash!!

This example started out with a raisin bran box. Kids can cut whatever shape they like, although I found that areas where different colors meet (like the stripes in the cereal bowl here) are easier when it comes to finding lines to extend.
 I forgot to mention that this project provides yet another opportunity to practice making SMALL glue dots!
 Then come the lines. Everywhere that two colors meet provides a line to extend onto the background. I like when the recycled piece offers the inspiration for variety in the lines. Notice straight vs. curvy, crinkly vs. smooth, etc. Kids have so many choices to make. They can stay with the direction the line has in the original drawing, or let their imagination go as they extend their lines in whole new directions.
 Mixing the colors to try to exactly match the original color is a skill that students perfect as they mature, but I think it is good to start practicing early. It gives them an awareness of subtle gradations of color and they can start to develop their ability to manipulate the paint colors.
 Some areas may not be exact extensions of original color and students have the opportunity to use balance or repetition as they select colors with regard to the whole composition. For example, the areas in the lower right below are trying to balance the yellow-oranges in the upper left corner.
I think some of these make great compositions with just the recycled picture and the black and white line background.
 Many of the original pictures provide opportunities for students to experiment with reproducing textures. The lower left example below started out as a cake box. Getting the bumpy texture of the cake was a challenge to mimic with watercolor!!
The only problem with this project is that it is a bit addicting and once you have done one, you start looking for other great pictures to start cutting up. As I am eyeing the last cookie from this Trader Joe's holiday cookie box I am already getting the scissors ready!! Just look at all those luscious lines!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Line Patterns From Black & White to Color

We are welcoming the new year with line patterns that start with black and white on a small area and then extend out onto the background board and burst into color. This is a great opportunity to revisit the idea of pattern in art as well as use color systems based on the color wheel.
This piece is using the basic 6 colors of the color wheel and then mixing tertiary colors for the extra spaces.
The first version of this project is for older students. They draw a geometric shape and then add sides and glue tabs: (a simpler version for primary grades is illustrated below if you scroll down aways)

Next, students create different patterned lines that begin and end on an edge. In other words, no ending your line somewhere in the middle of the shape. This could be done with permanent marker or crayon, although I prefer crayon when we get to extending the lines onto the background because the crayon acts as a barrier to stop watercolor running from area to area.
Students carefully fold their flaps and glue onto a background board:
They could opt to glue more than one shape on a board depending on time constraints.
Then it is time to extend the lines onto the background board.
This color was added using watercolors, although any media would work.

I really like the contrast of leaving the original geometric shape black and white, but you could always add color to it also.
For students who are younger or unable to manage drawing and cutting the flaps, here are two easier options:

1. Have students draw a simple geometric shape on card stock -- no sides or glue tabs necessary. After drawing their patterned lines they can cut out small squares of foamcore and glue them on the corners of the back of their shape (with one in the center for support) and position it on the background board. For this option, I think it is easier to do the painting before gluing the lined geometric shape in place so they can get their brush to the underneath spaces with greater ease.

 This is done with watercolor markers (Crayola) brushed with clear water to give the appearance of paint.

2. Another easier option is to create a shape with tabs on only two opposite sides. The example below is in progress and has not yet been painted, but you get the idea:))