Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aboriginal Texture Animals

Got the original idea for this AWESOME project from my good buddy Matt over at http://lawnim19artisticfreedom.blogspot.com/.  He did a texture lesson using rubbings and I thought that this would be a great way to talk about some Aboriginal art (especially since I have a bunch of great Aboriginal prints hanging up in our classroom). 

I started this lesson by simply asking students what texture was?  What senses can you use to identify texture?  Almost all agreed that by feel was the only way, but after I asked lots of questions, we found out that in ways, you can most certainly hear texture through vibrations, taste can be associated with texture as almost all the students recognized some sort of food they did not like because of how it felt, and lastly we talked about how you can see texture.  That was a key in our discussion because it lead to us talking about how we can see actual textures and how we can use sight to give the impression or illusion of texture without actually having any, much like artists do.  I showed a few examples and the students were quite impressed that they figured out how amazingly noticeable texture actually is with almost all of their senses.

I then passed out papers with a 6 section grid on them and told the class that we were going on a texture hunt.  I opened up our storage closest and my office as free to roam as long as students put everything back where they found it.  I showed them how to use a crayon to rub almost any texture they could find.  I said to find as many and as unique of textures as possible.

Once students filled up their first grid I had them flip it over and draw the grid on the back and use that to collect more.  I had some students that collected over 35 textures!!  The students LOVED this.  I did it with them as a little motivation and you could feel the excitement in the air.

In the second class, I reviewed the info about textures and we again talked about how artists use actual and implied textures in their work.  I talked about and demonstrated how we were going to practice re-creating textures by drawing them in 2-D.  They picked their top 8 favorite textures and then we talked about the use of lines.  Most students wanted to draw lines, but I asked the class if they drew any lines with their crayons when we did the rubbings?  The answer was no, so I told them that this was one of those rare times that Mr. Malcore wanted them to use scribbly lines and rough jagged marks.  The students really took their time and re-created some beautiful textures.

It took most students 2 class periods to complete their texture re-creation drawings.  The next step was to create our background paper.  I know its kind of strange that I have not yet really talked about what we were actually making for this project, but I like suspense haha so please just hold on.  This was by far one of the funnest art classes this year.  The students had been workings so meticulously on their textures that I wanted them to be able to let loose, have fun, and get sloppy.  We made some super messy tissue paper and watercolor diffusion paintings.  I demonstrated to the students how to wet tissue paper onto our large white paper to make the color diffuse out of the tissue and into our paper.  Now most projects I've seen using tissue paper this way involves glue and sticking the tissue paper to the background paper but that is not what I wanted.  I wanted the students to be able to see how the colors actually bled into their paper and stayed.  After slopping on lots of tissue paper and water, we added their choices of primary colors in liquid watercolors to get a nice wet on wet mess as well.  The students really loved this and did not want to stop.  We left the wet tissue paper right on their papers to dry.  Once dry I shook all the tissue off into a bin and am hoping to use them for another project.

After making these awesome backgrounds, we began making our aboriginal animals.  I talked with students what Aborigines and where they come from.  I have 8-10 posters in my room of their art and we talked about things we noticed in each of them.  There was always some sort of animal (alligator, lizard, turtle, snake, or sea serpent in my posters) and lots of repeating pattern and line work.  I explained to students that they would have the choice to create a turtle, snake, or lizard and that we would decorate the inside of the animal with our textures that we collected.

I drew up some of the animals we were working with and printed out copies as handouts that the students could look at while drawing.  I also gave a little demo on how to break up the animals into easy to draw shapes and add features like legs and heads on after.  We drew out our animals in pencil and traced their contour outline with black sharpie marker.  I then gave out some metallic sharpies and demonstrated how to draw a rounded outline, just like bubble cutting but with a marker, around the animal about 1/2" from the black outline.  Students then decorated this space with many different repeating patterns.

In the next class, I showed students how to divide their animal up into 8 separate sections like a puzzle.  Students came up with lots of creative ways to divide their animal up.  We then used colored sharpies to trace the divisions.  Students took out the handout they drew textures on in an earlier class and began using colored gel pens to decorate each separate section with one of their top 8 favorite textures.  This took a little while but the students did a really great job trying to capture the likeness of their textures.  When completed, we cut them out and pasted them onto our colorful backgrounds.  I loved this project and it provided lots of learning and combining different mediums and ideas into one aesthetically awesome product!! Give it a try :)

Plaster Mask In-Progress

I wanted to post some photos of my sixth graders amazing plaster masks they have been working on.  This is one of the last art teacher's projects which was a student favorite.  My sixth graders made it very, very clear that "we need to make plaster masks!!!"  I had no problem with it but have since put my own twist on the project.  In the past, students used plaster of paris to coat the inside of a plastic mask.  Once dry, they removed them from the mask and painted them however they wanted to.  I added an element of creative construction to the process.  After the first round of plaster in to the plastic masks, all the plaster masks look exactly the same.  I gave the students a chance to give their mask some personal flare and style by building and adding on to them with aluminum foil and hot glue. 

This is what the masks look like after being removed from the plastic molds.  From here on out, no more molds, pure creation!!

I showed students how to crumple tin foil to take up space, hot glue it into place, and cover with plaster strips to add strength.  Some of the things that the students have come up with are amazingly creative and innovative.  I am super excited to see how they turn out.

We have started painting and that masks are looking AMAZING!! I love them and will have more photos soon.

Here are a few photos of the in-progress painting on the masks.  I have helped students come up with multiple different ways to paint and add texture their masks.  Here is our splatter painting box which is turning out very cool in itself.

I taught students how to create a stencil to put over their mask so that they could achieve a splatter paint look but only in desired areas.  I especially loved the outcome of this one...
Here are a few more in-progress masks that are turning out pretty cool!!  I gave a demonstration on how to paint realistic eyes which seemed to help many students.

Monday, January 23, 2012

3-D Block Letters

I wanted to so a short project with my 5th graders that worked with some perspective and using rulers because I noticed that many of them seemed really rusty.  When I asked how many of them knew how to draw letters or shapes in 3-D and only a couple students raised their hands...I knew it was time.  I had come across a fun little 3-D name project on the Dali's Moustache Blog @http://dalimoustache.blogspot.com/search/label/5th%20grade (which is a super amazing blog by the way, and if you haven't seen it yet you really need to check it out).

Since part of the problem was the 5th graders not knowing how to use their rulers properly (seems crazy I know but honestly I had kids flipping it back and forth between inches and centimeters with a super confused look on their face saying "way are some of these numbers super small?" YIKES) so I made them all measure out a grid on their paper in which we would be drawing our block letters.  Students could either use their name or nicknames.  After creating a rectangle with divisions every 1-2", depending on how many letters their name had in it, we drew a center line to help us judge where to draw our letters.  I had handouts of the alphabet in block letters for students to look at and did a demonstration for the whole class, explaining how I would draw five different block letters, I let the students choose which five letters they wanted to see.  They gave their best efforts to draw the block letters as I tried to help out as many as possible.

In the next class we talked about one point perspective and how three dimensional things seem to extend back into space.  I did a demonstration and passed out some examples showing one point perspective examples on some letters and shapes.  Most students picked up on it really well and finished with time to spare.

In the last class, I showed students how to make their letters end, so that they do not look like they extend all the way back to the vanishing point.  If they liked how it looked going all they way back to the vanishing point I allowed them to keep it like that but most wanted to make their letters look like true block letters.  I gave a demo and let them at it.  This was by far the most difficult part but the students did a great job helping each other out and working together.  I also showed students how to shade in the letters to make them look even more convincingly 3-dimensional.  We talked about shadows and where they would be cast in our letters.  I used caves and valleys as examples for the shading and that seemed to work well.  The students colored them in, cut them out and mounted them on a background paper.  It wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing project but that also wasn't the goal, the goal was to get better with rulers, measuring, and learn how to use one point perspective.  Overall, a SUCCESS!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snowy Horizon Line

My good friend Matt from http://lawnim19artisticfreedom.blogspot.com/ had a project he posted about working with the horizon line that I really liked.  I took his idea and added a little lesson about perspective and atmospheric perspective.  Here is a sneak peak at how they are looking so far.  We are still adding color to the trees and a polar bear!!

We had discussed the concept of horizon lines for a while before starting this project.  The students painted one half of a sheet of paper blue for a wintry sky and the other half they mixed up some gray for our snowy ground.  In the next class I had them tear up each color into quarter sized pieces and glue them onto another paper.  This took a while but ended up looking very neat.  After students were finished with the tearing and gluing, we drew three trees on white paper.

We then had a discussion which was pretty mind blowing for the 1st graders.  I put all three trees next to each other, the small, medium, and large, and asked them how we could arrange them on our background so that the trees would all be the exact same size.  No one had any idea how that was even possible let alone how to do it.  I then told the students to use their fingers to measure my head as they were all standing close to me around the demonstration table.  After they had a good measurement, I had them go all the way across the room as far away as possible and measure my head again.  The size of the measurement had obviously changed but when I asked the students if the actual size of my head changed, they agreed it hadn't.  Light bulbs starting going on right..about...NOW! We realized that if we put the smallest tree further back, near the horizon line, it would look far back in the distance.  The medium sized tree would go near the center of the gray snow and so on.  Students glued them on and I talked to them about atmospheric perspective and how things that are far away become duller in color because there is more air in between our eyes and the object.  We cut up three different green colors using the lightest colors for the furthest tree and so on.  Last but not least, we added a polar bear for fun because they had worked soo sooo hard on this project.  I was very proud and they all turned out beautifully.