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

Clay sunflowers -1st grade

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

First graders were inspired by Sunflowers by Van Gogh.  But really, it's quite easy to get elementary aged children to fall in love with Vincent van Gogh...One look at Starry Night and they're hooked. 

I introduced the unit, which will be comprised of these clay sunflowers and a still-life painting of sunflowers, by reading the story Camile and the Sunflowers.  Before I read the story I showed the students a Smartboard file with some images from the book to give them a bit of background.  I showed them some pictures of Van Gogh's work that is illustrated in the story.  I also showed them the various paintings that the artist had done of  the Roulin family. 

 I set up a still life of sunflowers so the students would have a visual (this would later be used in their still-life paintings)

 I showed the students how to make a pinch pot and then pinch the edges to create simulated petals.  I created an oak tag template and had students flatten a piece of clay and then trace from the template to create some 'leaves'.  In some classes I skipped the template and had them simply flatten and piece of clay and pinch the edges, similar to the way the pinch pot was made.  To attach the two pieces I tried two approaches.  The first way  was the traditional score, slip, and smooth, the other way was that I bisque fired the clay slabs and pinch pots separately and then glaze fired the parts so they fused together.  I used Mayco Stroke & Coat in Sunkissed, Dandelion, just froggy,  irish luck, java bean,  and crackerjack brown.

3rd Grade Still-Life with Goldfish

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

I've seen the Matisse artwork 'Still-Life with Goldfish' done many times and I always loved the artwork and wanted to try using the artwork for a project myself.  Here's what I came up with.

Day 1- We discussed what a design is and identified designs in Matisse's painting. I demonstrate to the students how to divide their paper into 3 parts to create the illusion of perspective to create the corner of the room.  Students then chose 4 colors of oil pastels and created 3 different designs (one in each part) using only those 4 colors.

Day 2- I discussed the idea of unity and using a color family to create a sense of cohesion and unity in their artwork.  I then reviewed how to use watercolors and had the students paint over their oil pastel designs using the same colored watercolors.  The students were challenged to create light values of blue, green, and red if they used light blue, light green, or pink oil pastels.  It was important that they background have a specific color family so that the fish would eventually become the focal point. 

Day 3- I discussed focal point with the students and after looking at Matisse's painting came up with 3 ways an artist can create a focal point: color, shape, and size.  I then demonstrated how to use newsprint paper to draw a fishbowl with fish in it.  Students had photo references of fish to use and when done with the sketch students traced their drawing onto acetate with colored Sharpie's.To create a focal point, the fish(es) had to be a color that wasn't in their color family. 

Day 4- This was the last day of the lesson.  Students cut out their fishbowl, cut and glued tinfoil to the back of it where the water in the fishbowl would be, and then drew and cut a symmetrical table.  Although not every students stuck with their color family and some created fish that matched their background instead of standing apart from it, the projects still came out great!

Recycled Art

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in
Remember that giant heart my students made out of cardboard tubes?  Well it was taken to the annual recycled art exhibit I participate in and was proudly displayed amongst some really wonderful recycled art projects from local schools in the area.  Here are some  highlights (and if you didn't see our project, you can click HeRe to view it):