Students used oil pastels to color in. I gave them a demo on how to mix their oil pastels and build up their color to achieve value and a wider range of colors. They have a basic color set of Crayola hexagonal oil pastels (class pack) so I was pretty impressed with what they were able to achieve. Once the students finished with the oil pastels, they added a little baby oil to really finish off their pieces!
My Art I students started their unit on Color and have been busy making color wheel mandalas. When I asked my students if they knew what a mandala was, most of them looked at me like I was crazy. When I showed them this picture though.. they were like.. "Oh! Yeah, of course! We've seen those!"
We looked at traditional Mandalas and how they have been picked up by different religions and cultures all over the world. Mandala is a Sanskrit word for "circle." The circle represents the universe, wholeness, or the continual feed from man to God and from God to man. We looked at pictures of Tibetan monks and women from Nepal. We saw the use of Mandalas in churches (the rose window in the National Cathedral is my favorite!), in Native American medicine wheels and dreamcatchers, in Aztec artifacts and our everyday designs. I love how Art can tie all of these cultures and peoples together!
Students first used a ruler and marked off nine and 18 inches on each of their papers. They then drew straight lines to form a "t" on their paper. Using a compass, students drew a circle as large as they could. Then, they used protractors to mark 30 and 60 degrees in each quarter of their circle. This made 12 nice little "slices" of their mandala.
I had them label their sections in the order of the color wheel, and in each of the sections they had to use the regular hue, a tint, and a shade of each color. Thankfully, they had spent a day practicing making their colors in their sketchbook.
Painting in their mandalas was a tedious process, but the end results are amazing!
Sixth Graders looked at artist M.C. Escher. This was a GREAT transition from Op Art because his drawings and prints will definitely play tricks on you! The students loved his drawings and one even said "This reminds me of the movie the LABYRINTH!" I immediately got all warm and happy inside! Not only is this my favorite movie of all time, but she was able to spot this artist in something in her life! (I'm always telling my kids that ART is EVERYWHERE!!!)
Anyway, We looked at some of his work and then started working on our own. Students received a three inch square piece of an index card. They drew a line on the top side of the square and cut it. They took that piece and taped it to the bottom of the square. They did this again on the side. It looked something like this:
After students had their new shape, or motif, made out of their card, they traced it a few times into their sketchbook to make sure everything matched up. They then had to create something out of their motif! Like finding images in clouds, it was so fun to see what these kids saw. After their design was chosen, they started on their big, final piece. Students traced their motif onto a 9x18 piece of paper.
Students were then able to choose any color from the color wheel to paint their picture. Only one color, though! They learned how to make different tints and shades with their color choice, and was able to practice a bit in their sketchbook before moving on.
This was a great project for all students. There was really no way to mess up. You could cut your motif any which way you wanted, and as long as you taped it right, they would always match up. For some, I could see relaxation washing over them because once they got that first step right, everything was smooth sailing after that. For students that find it hard to draw, this was something that was instantly successful. I really loved watching my students see their piece coming together.
Students also created an artist page in their sketchbook. I loved their drawings of Escher, himself. One student even numbered how big she thought his head was compared to hers. I thought that was so funny! They did a wonderful job. This helps them know a little bit more about the artist that we are learning about, but also helps their drawing/people drawing skills.
These sixth graders are a pretty special group of students. Not only are they awesome little artists, but they are the first group of chil'ren that I have had since Kindergarten. I love that I've gotten to move up with them! Going to a new school can be hard, so I am glad we have each other! They are a breath of fresh air! We've been able to jump right in and take off where we left off last year. They know me and I know them; they know not to give me any "I can't"s!
We started out the year by making our very own sketchbooks! They were able to create their cover page using any art supplies they wanted--oil pastels, colored pencils, crayons, markers, or watercolor. I laminated them when they were finished so hopefully they will last us all semester. We then sewed three signatures of ten pages each into our journal. They turned out fantastic and the students are super proud of them! They start each class with a sketchbook prompt, and keep it on them throughout class to try out new techniques or to practice any drawings.
Out first project is an Op Art color wheel. These kids know their color wheels, but we haven't touched on tertiary colors as much, so it was a good review. I also wanted them to practice their colored pencils skills and blending techniques. We looked at Bridgette Riley and Victor Vasarely for inspiration.
The students started drawing their Op Art by following a quick demonstration. Rulers, french curves, and compasses aided in our initial drawing. After the students had drawn their picture, I showed them how to blend their colored pencils. We talked about value, and how with the use of value we can "trick" the viewer into believing our picture is 3-D.
Once their color wheels were colored in, the students had to decide which parts of their picture were "moving" up or down. They added value with a black colored pencils, making sure to have a really dark shadow, and a white highlight. Some students even used baby oil to help smooth out their shadows in the end. I think these were a HUGE success! I love the way they look! SO PROUD OF THESE GUYS!
Like I said in the previous post, most of my students have not had art since the fifth grade. Most of them also told me at some point during class that they "can't draw." I really wanted to stress to my students that you can be really terrible at drawing but still be a good artist. I have friends in the photography profession who can't paint. I know people who are wonderful sculptors but aren't really strong at drawing. I wanted my students to understand that art is a really large field, and they might be good at drawing--but even if they aren't, there could be something else for them.
But, first, I want to prove to them that they probably really CAN draw! We briefly chatted about your right brain and your left brain. Our brain creates symbols and tells us what things should look like on paper, not what they actually look like. I drew a few of these symbols on the board.
I showed the class Picasso's drawing of Igor Stravinsky. I told them that we can trick our brains by turning the image upside down. By looking at the image as a set of lines and shapes instead of hands and a face, we are able to create a more realistic drawing. As in most problems that we face, if we step back and look at it from another angle, we are able to figure out a solution. The kids doubted me.. but I begged them to trust me!
Once they had their drawings complete, they traced over their lines with Black and we added some spontaneous color. They spent most of their class time working on this drawing and I wanted to loosen them up a little bit. I also wanted to show them that sometimes the process of art is more important than the actual end product. Sometimes its okay to just have fun. Sometimes you have to let the medium do the work, and you just facilitate.
We took crayola markers and colored on a laminate sleeve. We then blotted the paper with water and pressed our colored side down onto the paper. Students were able to manipulate the colors if they wanted to, were able to print again and again, or wipe it clean and try new colors.The end results were beautiful ! I think they were surprised at how well they turned out. Hopefully, they realized that deep down, they really are good at drawing!
I have actually done this with students as young as fourth and fifth grade. Even theirs turn out just like Picasso's! I promise you, if you doubt you can draw, try this exercise and see if it works!
First day of art class! My Visual Arts class is a good mix of 9-12th grade students. I have had the juniors and younger, but its been since they were in fifth grade. Most of these students have not had art since they were in elementary school. I wanted a good project that was not too intimidating, but still allowed them to work on something throughout the class period.
As for me, I needed to know where they were. I also needed them to know how the rubric was going to work. We briefly talked about grading and I explained they would get a detailed rubric at the start of each project, and that everything they needed to know would be on it to get a good grade.
I introduced the project: Cardboard Relief Self Portraits. I didn't go into too much detail about how it was made; again, I needed to see what they could do on their own. Theses were their requirements: It had to be their face, have at least two different kind of textures, had to be a relief, and pencils could only be use to draw the shape they were cutting out (not shading). It also HAD to be finished at the end of class. I passed out their rubrics and they began!
At the end of class I had the kids grade themselves on their rubric. Some were surprised as to their grade. Some thought they would not be able to do this project well, but did and scored well. Some are very artistic but didn't score too well. I explained that I did not at all want to trick students, but that it was important for them to know during the week what is expected. I also wanted students to know that they would be fully prepared for the project (unlike just letting them at it!) and that I am NOT grading on how beautiful a project looks at the end.
A part of the rubric included time management and using class time wisely. We talked about the differences in examples: sometimes student can cut up and waste class time that way. However, sometimes, its not that at all! Sometimes we get "Art block" and don't know where to start. Sometimes we plan WAY too big of a project for the time period allotted. I wanted to them to be fully away of the circumstances that can get in the way of making ART!
And then, of course, some students got completely wrapped up in their project and forgot completely about their requirements. This was a great one-day lesson to introduce rubrics in Art, and to assess where the students are, and in the end, to make a really fun self-portrait. The best part? We used up all my supply boxes from the art order!