Friday, January 31, 2014

5th Grade Abstract Results

Here are a few results (as promised) from last week's lesson.

You may remember that 5th graders started with a cropped photo of something from nature and copied part of it or the whole thing using pencil and a 3" X 3" paper.

In this example the photo was a close up of a part of a Montana pinecone. There were so many details that I suggested the student draw just a portion of them. I must say that during this initial sketching phase of the lesson you could have heard a pin drop, as students were completely absorbed in capturing details, angles, etc. accurately!!

She glued the finished sketch on a 6" X 6" board and extended the lines of the first drawing into the boarder area. The last step was to use complementary colors to finish the little abstract.

Since we have been talking about VALUE lately, quite a few students practiced using different amounts of pressure on their colored pencils to get darks and lights of a color.

(Sorry for the photo quality on this one, but I think you can still get the idea.)

I think one of the things I like best about this project is seeing the transition of design from black and white in the center to color around the outside!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Little Abstracts using Value

I have been thinking about having 5th graders do this lesson for about a year and a half, so I'm anxious to see how it goes!!

The idea started when I got a new camera and spent several weeks snapping pictures of interesting shapes, textures and patterns. My thought was to have students sketch these in black and white focusing on value.

Indeed, that is what kids will do as step #1. I have a variety of photos (printed in color) that students will choose from and draw using Ticonderoga Laddie pencils.
This photo is of a part of the ceiling in my brother's log home in Montana.
I used pencil to sketch it, pressing hard for darker values. I found that many students found this skill challenging as they worked on last week's art project, so this will give them some added practice. I like the idea of changing color to black and white here.

Once students have their 3" X 3" pencil sketch, step #2 will be to glue it on a 6" X 6" white board. They will draw the lines from their small sketch onto the board, extending them however they like to the outside edges. They might choose to extend the lines as they are on the original sketch, or they may choose to extend them in different directions, creating a new design/composition.
In this sample, the extended lines pretty much follow the original directions. 

The last step is to interpret the new design using complementary colors. Students may choose to use "flat" colors or to use value and shading to give their design the illusion of 3-dimension.
The sample above uses both colored pencil and watercolor. I think that going from black and white to colors different from the original photo adds an opportunity for additional creativity to this project.

Here is another example from Step #1 through Step#3:
These are plates stacked in my friend, Nancy's kitchen.

Here is the pencil sketch.

Lines meander out from the original sketch to the edges of the  6" X 6" board.

The new shapes are colored with colored pencils using shading to mimic the black and white sketch.

Yellow, the complementary color, is used for the large top and bottom areas.
 Here is an example of another sketch (the stones in my fireplace) colored using watercolor markers. This does not have shading in the colored area, but flat color instead.
I'll post the results later this week when we have lots of what I hope will be wonderful mini-abstracts to share!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

5th Grade One-Point Perspective Results

I started the second session of this 5th grade lesson with a "Hang Spider" game using the word "quadrilateral". Hang Spider is my less violent version of the old game Hangman.  It was interesting that the kids didn't guess the word right away after our work from last week. (You can see last week's lesson here.)

I asked them to review any coloring they started last week to try to emphasize the difference in value from their very darkest to very lightest hue. This was hard for some kids and they expressed that it was hard to tell how hard to press with the pencil. I think we sometimes forget that these seemingly simple skills take time to master!! Some students used erasers to get even lighter tints nearest each quadrilateral. I was so pleased to see how conscientious most were in trying to achieve the desired result!!

Students had choices for their background. Most went with the watercolor wash they made last week, but a few branched out and used other recycled illustration board that I had around.

I loved it when one boy decided to put this pattern on one of his quadrilaterals. Of course, I jumped on that and shared his idea. That generated some more variety (as you can see in the top photo).  I especially liked his checkerboard look!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Color Theory, Hearts and a New Book for the Art Room

With February inching closer and closer I have to decide whether to do a Valentine theme art project.

 I don't acknowledge many holidays in the art room, but a while back I was given this cool book and I am thinking that now would be a good time to share it with you and my students.

Author Eric Telchin has taken over 3000 photographs of hearts he sees in his world around him. Some of them are published in his book, See a Heart, Give a Heart.

The possibilities for an art teacher to expand on this book are absolutely endless and I know many of you will think of ways to use it in your rooms.

I thought about taking the thought, "create a heart" and having students use what they know about color theory to make the first part of their HEART ART. This version has students drawing a one inch border and then using cake tempera to mix and make squares of analogous colors in a grid arrangement.

 This could be done at any grade level using whatever color theory you are teaching -- primary, secondary, warm/cool, etc.
Illustrating the use of analogous colors, this grid starts with yellow. The next square adds green to the yellow to make yellow-green. The next square is pure green, the next blue-green, the next blue, the next (starting row two) is purple, and so on .....
Then, using painted papers left over from another project (done long ago) kids cut out a heart and glue it on top of their painted grid. Voila!!

This one uses a photocopy of music score. First it was lightly painted with a thin wash. When dry three hearts were cut. You can see where little snips were cut around the large heart. The edges were curled by winding them around a pencil. The smaller hearts will get the same treatment.
This is such a fun idea to play around with. Actually, after reading the book, I found myself looking for heart shapes in nature any time I took a walk. It can get to be addicting!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One Point Perspective and Quadrilaterals

It constantly amazes me how art can be such a fun delivery system for teaching math. With the emphasis Common Core places on vocabulary, I am trying to be extra diligent in defining and using math terms as I talk about art this year.

5th graders are currently using quadrilaterals to create one-point-perspective drawings.

Step #1 was actually to make watercolor backgrounds using water drops and salt for extra texture. While those dried on the drying racks, kids started drawing quadrilateral shapes. They could use templates or create their own. Students had the choice of cutting foil for their shapes. (Those of you who have been with me awhile know that I have this (GIGANTIC) box of foil sheets from Smart and Final that I have been trying to use up for YEARS!!)

The next step was to connect the corners of their shapes to a single vanishing point using a ruler. This was an opportunity for some more math language (angles, degrees, parallel, point, etc)

They used colored pencils to shade the "sides" of their shapes, practicing the skill of pressing harder to get darker values.

Next week, we will finish adding color, cut out their drawings and glue them onto their painted background or another background of their choice. I showed students various options for mounting their artwork and asked them to give it some thought during the week how they would like their work to look.

I got the idea for this project from a cool site with high school art ideas, here. That lesson used recycled materials to make some VERY cool 1-point perspective pieces. My version is a bit simpler and I think easier for elementary kids to manage.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Art Inspiration from Carmel, California

Happy New Year from Carmel, California (where the weather is in the 70's!!)

Carmel is a quaint little town on the coast of Central California. Everywhere you turn there is inspiration for an artist, so my camera was clicking away, thinking of ideas to incorporate into our art room back at school!

Our first stop was the corner of 5th and Dolores at my friend's art studio/gallery (Nicholas Boghosian Fine Arts) LOTS of new paintings to see there while you share a cup of coffee and take in artwork. If I had a large dining room I would buy this pair of watercolors in a nanosecond!! They remind me of our trip to Paris.

One of the most unique aspects of this gallery is being able to see the artist at work. Usually he is tucked into his corner near the front window where people stand outside behind him and view him painting through the corner window.

But when the weather is balmy, as it was this week, he sometimes moves outside and paints. He is so welcoming to visitors and often stops to chat.

After that stop we left Nic hard at work (just imagine, he calls this work!!) and his wife and I strolled the streets where galleries abound!! Actually, we did this every day!
 And charm is everywhere you  look!!

Of course, there were MANY lunch breaks!!

Finally, there were the sunsets -- unbelievably beautiful. I am going to have to use some of these shots as inspiration for a classroom project.

I'm thinking about using this for an abstract positive/negative space project.
Ah well, I am back at home now and thinking about this week's classes. We'll be starting a one point perspective lesson with 5th graders on Wednesday. I'll share as soon as we get started.