Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Matisse's Goldfish

My second graders did an outstanding job on their Matisse project, so I decided to share it.

~Know who Henri Matisse is, and that he had a big impact on the art world.
~Recognize the use of outlines.
~Know what collage is
~Create a successful work of art using Matisse as inspiration.

Henri Matisse:An artist that started as a painter, using bold colors, outlines, and patterns. Known for founding "fauvism" and inventing collage.
Collage: The art of cutting shapes out of paper and gluing them together to create a work of art.
Outline: A line around the contour of an image.

Goldfish by Henri Matisse

We began with a PowerPoint of Matisse's life and work. We started with his paintings, and noticed his use of bright color, bold pattern, and outlines. The PowerPoint then lead into his invention of collage and finished off with a more detailed discussion of his painting Goldfish. My observant students noticed all of the above aspects of the painting, and also the reflections of the fish, and use of a unique "bowl" for the fish.

We then used a ruler and three lines to create a 3D room for our fish bowl. Students found the 6" mark on their ruler and put it on the edge of the paper, about a third of the way up on the right hand side and drew a diagonal line from the 6" to the end of the ruler. Next, they created a horizontal line from the end of the diagonal line to the end of the paper. Finally, a vertical line was added from the point where the first two met to the top of the page. Instant room! Then next class, students painted each wall a color, and the floor a third color. Finally, when the paint was dry they used oil pastels to add patterns on the walls and lines on the floor. I show them how to use parallel lines to create tile, brick, or hard wood floors.

The next step is to create an imaginative bowl for the fish. I remind the kids that Matisse's bowl was unusual and theirs can be traditional or unique. I demonstrate how to add oil pastel to the fish and details in the bowl and watercolor over it. Some even added salt to create a texture that represents bubbles! I am currently teaching this lesson at one of my schools, and we also discovered that it's fun to use a broken pencil to scratch details such as scales into the oil pastels! They look stellar!

Finally, students created paper for the leaves by painting a 50/50 glue/water mixture over tissue paper in shades of green and yellow onto a piece of white paper. When dry, they drew leaves on the back and cut them out. The whole work of art was collaged together to create the final work of art. The finishing touch was to use green, black, or brown (or all three!) markers to add veins in the leaves.

ASSESSMENT: Because this is such an involved project, it takes a long time and makes talking with the kids about it easier. Students are focused on the same learning targets for a number of weeks, and during class discussions, 99% of hands are raised with the answers to questions about Matisse and his work. I also look at the final projects for craftsmanship, creativity, and attention to detail. These always turn out amazing, and I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from parents, other teachers, and people on Artsonia.com.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Dot

I have found that first graders are very conscious of the craftsmanship of their art. Many get hard on themselves for not being able to do a project as "good" as my samples, to which I remind them that I have been practicing much longer than they have and if they keep practicing they will keep improving. To help them gain confidence at the beginning of the year, I start with this pointillism project. It's great because it teaches them to try new things, art history (George Seurat), and a new art technique (pointillism).

~Use dots to create a successful work of art.
~Understand that artists use dots to create an image (pointillism).

10" X 10" white tissue paper
12" X 12" colored paper
Sponges and water
Glue (for mounting finished pieces)
Pointillism: Technique of using dots to create an image.
Symmetry/Symmetrical: The same on both sides; a mirror image.

We start by reading The Dot by Peter Reynolds, about a girl that didn't think she was good at art. Her art teacher told her to "make a dot and see where it takes you." By the end of the book, she has her own art show! We talk about the importance of trying new things and practicing-I stress that "practice makes better"- not necessarily perfect.

Next, I show the students my examples and tell them that it's not as hard as it looks and if they pay attention to the instructions, they will have a wonderful work of art. Next, I demonstrate the project. First, they fold a 10" X 10" piece of white tissue paper in half twice to create a smaller square. Using a sponge with the tissue on top of a piece of newspaper they should get the tissue wet, so they can see through it but not have a puddle on it.

Finally, they use markers and only dots to create a pattern on the smaller square. I stress that if they want a line they have to make the line with dots, not by drawing a line. I demonstrate how to make shapes with dots instead of drawing them. Lastly, they bring their papers up to me to open them up. I lay them on the newspaper with the artist's name on it until it is dry and then mount them on 12" X 12" colored paper.

ASSESSMENT: In addition to circulating the classroom, watching for comprehension and guiding students to find success, I assess the completed works of art for the use of dots, craftsmanship, and creativity. When assessing for the use of dots, remember that the water can sometimes blend the dots together; especially if the student didn't finish in one class period and had to re-wet the project the following class.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Op Art

My fifth graders finally finished their first project! I was amazed that they were still working on it, since they started before I left for my maternity leave. Apparently, they had several classes canceled due to assemblies and field trips, etc. Next year we will use smaller paper so it doesn't take as long!

~Students will understand Op Art
~Students will understand the introduced terms
~Students will create a work of art with value and depth

Op Art: Optical Illusion Art. Art that tricks the eye.
Vanishing Point: The spot where everything disappears.
Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.

We started by dissecting the term Optical Illusion Art and looking at examples of Optical Illusions. The terms were introduced, and then there was a demonstration. They were asked to trace three circles anywhere on the page. I then asked them to make a dot near the center of the paper and use a ruler to make lines coming out from the dot. They had to make an even number of triangles for the project to work. They were shown how to add curved lines in each triangle to create the illusion. After working on that, I showed them that they should color the smaller stripes with a black Sharpie.

Once the lines were colored, I showed them how to do the circles. I asked them to do half a circle at a time. Their lines should start and end at the middle of the outside of the circle, and curve towards the outside of the circle, creating an "eye" on the circle. They then do the same thing, crossing the first and color it in a checkerboard pattern.

Once all the black is colored, we reviewed Value and I showed them how to create not just darks and lights, but many middle values. I stressed that the middle values are what really will make their drawings "pop." Both the triangles and circles should have dark values on the outside of the shape and get lighter as they move to the center. They took forever, but turned out amazing!