Friday, November 23, 2012

A Van Gogh Surpirse

I have a Quaker parrot.  

The joyous task of completing a bi-weekly cage cleanup usually falls upon me, seeing as if I left the cleanup up to my husband, my entire house would inevitably end up smelling like dirty cage and our poor Sully would be left in 'dirtiness' up to his eyeballs.  (Sorry hubby, but you are quite a procrastinator!)

                                                                  my bird, Sully

Anyways, the point of the lovely anecdote above was that in the reserve stack of newspapers set aside for the birdcage I came across an article in the NY Times about Van Gogh dated from February 2012. 
The subject of the article was the then upcoming Philadelphia Museum exhibit which focused on the landscape paintings from the last four years of Van Gogh's life.

Although the subject matter of Van Gogh's art ranged from portraiture to interiors, and self-portraits to landscapes, what made the article interesting was that the subject of this exhibit provided the viewer with a singular focus, devoid of the usual concentration on the artists tumultuous and tragic life.  The works tell the story of an artist who constantly revised and reconstructed his approach to painting and one who's obsession with nature demonstrates a passion and dedication to art and the depiction that even a single blade of grass holds within it meaning and beauty.

Here is a link to the exhibit:  The 328 page catalog for it is on sale for half-off at $38 dollars.

Philadelphia Museum: 'Van Gogh Up Close'

Here is a link to the NY Times Article: (Don't forget to check out the multimedia slideshow that is included in the article.)

'In the Eye of His Storms'

One other thing that I saw on the Philadelphia Museum website was that they apparently had a Haiku station at the exhibit where people would construct a Haiku based on some of the artwork in the exhibit.  This would make a great lesson extension for a Van Gogh project!! Here's one of the artworks people reacted to:
'A Pair of Boots'

He walked in the sun
With leather boots on his feet
Squishing as he walked
-Emily (4-7-2012)
Tired feet of mine
Rest these leather boots awhile
Sleep away the dust
-Karen (4-7-2012)
Oh weary feet walk
Miles trodden on the earth
Seeking new landscapes
-Charlene (4-8-2012)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

5th Grade Aztec Warriors

Thank you Deep Space Sparkle for sharing this great lesson plan based on Aztec warriors.

  I LOVE Pre-Columbian art and my students had a great time making their colorful figures.

I showed my kids 2 or 3 slides per session about the life, culture, and artwork of the Aztecs.  I demonstrated how to draw a 'cartoon' version of the warriors and gave out a 9 page packet of different Aztec design motifs I bought from Dover publications to help give them some ideas for patterns to fill their warriors with. 

Each student had to have a warrior that contained a headdress, shoes, top and bottom clothing, and had the choice of incorporating one or more of the following: spear, shield, dagger, cloak, and any other accessories they wanted to include.

The link to Deep Space Sparkle's original post of this lesson can be found here

'The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire' Getty Art Exhibit that the article was based  on can be found here

Friday, November 9, 2012

4th Grade Georgia O'Keeffe

I found the inspiration for this lesson through a fellow art teachers pinterest board.  The original source of the picture is from Spencer Loomis Elementary School in Illinois, a link to students artwork can be found here

I taught this lesson to my kids with a few key principles in mind. 

Good         Not As Good

We examined different compositions and discussed what made some more successful than others.  These compositions included works by O'Keeffe as well as other flower paintings I sorted from a Google search. We narrowed our opinions down to 3 basic principles which the students would use in their compositions. 

First, shapes had to go off 3 edges of the paper.
Second, shapes had to be various sizes.
Third, no large empty areas of space.

I demonstrated how to use oil pastels and how to blend colors.  I created a chart that showed the difference between successful blending and not so successful blending.  I asked the students to share what the differences were and we narrowed it down to 3 principles which the students followed when coloring in their compositions.

First. the areas you are coloring are covered completely by the oil pastel, don't leave paper showing underneath.
Second, layer colors light on top of dark to create gradations in color.
Third, color each shape in using one direction to keep the texture even.

We also learned all about the art and life of Georgia O'Keeffe...The next project we are doing is based on her painting 'Ladder to the Moon'  Here is the PowerPoint I showed my students, I only showed them the first few slides...Also the slides after her flower paintings contain images and ideas for other projects based on southwest art, folk art, and craft.  FYI, some of the slides are a work in progress!


Here are some finished examples of the students work.