Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Musings about the importance of art and art education

Peacocks Aplenty

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in at 9:42 AM

After having been inspired by these wonderful clay elephants (complete with oil pastel rendered rugs to stand on)
that I came across at the incredible art department website.

And then, on the other end of the spectrum, after seeing a mediocre bulletin board entitled 'Peacocks: the National Bird of India' rendering in oil pastels as well, at a school I sub in. I decided it was karma, and that it was time for me to create my own lesson on the whimsical and beautiful peacock.

As part of a unit based on the art of India that I'm working on, I decided to discuss with my students the symbolism used by countries of animals, or for that matter any other items, such as flowers, trees, and even the idea of flags. I asked them about symbols, why and how we use them and then we studied the symbolism of peacocks and how they pertain to India. We also learned a little about the animal itself, it's habitat, food, characteristics, etc. But the best part, as always, was the creation of them. After seeing the good...and the bad results from two different approaches to the idea I decided to go in a different direction. Instead of merely rendering them, which, even to me, would be a little overwhelming (they have sooo much damn detail!) I decided to use collage.

Initially I was going to intergrate the idea of complimentary colors, having the students create yellow/orange backgrounds to contrast with the blue of the bird, but when the kids got started they really wanted to chose their own background colors. Additionally, I was going to have them collage in the background using constrctuion paper and snippits of the same color magazine peices, but after doing one myself I found the background to be too complex and it detracted from the actual subject. So instead we used tissue paper. I let them chose a color family and work from there. Some chose pinks, purples, and teals. For the bird I let them chose any color in the blue/green family and told them that the tail feathers could be diamond shapes, circular, and tear drop, as long as the cut out shapes stayed consistent.

The results were really good. Here are 3 examples. One of them I'm even using for the cover of the art exhibit invitation in January. I'll post more finished peices when, well, more kids finish them. I was really excited at the results. It's nice when a lesson goes well, especially after putting in the time and effort to make it successfull!