Monday, September 28, 2009

The Coil Method

Third graders started this week by making pinch pots. That was the easy part. Next we took it to the next level! We made the pinch pots larger by using the coil method. That's when you make little snakes out of clay, and coil them around the top of the pot until it is the height you want. You can also use the coils to make handles, decorations, etc.

It's easy to remember the name of this technique, because you use little snakes of clay and coiling is what a snake does when he's about to strike.

But you have to score the coils with a plastic fork and wet them. When working with clay, remember this simple rule,

"You must scratch it,
If you wish to attach it."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Compare and Contrast -- Warhol vs. Lichtenstein

We started the class with art reproductions by two different artists, but they were all mixed up! Could the kids separate the work of two artists into two groups, just by looking at the paintings? They actually did it by analyzing the styles and subject matter of the artists and discussing it among themselves.

Here they have them all separated, with the work by Roy Lichtenstein on one table, and the work by Andy Warhol on another.

They decided that the work of Lichtenstein used mostly primary colors and very crisp clean straight black lines. Warhol had more varieties of color and a more subdued pallette. He also used photography printmaking and sometimes expressive, painterly effects. Of course, they put this in their own words by saying things like "Roy is more cartoony and Andy is more serious."

What do the two artists have in common? They were both artists who worked in the Pop Art style in the sixties and after. They both used imagery from popular culture in fine art settings.

Students summarized what they learned from this activity in writing. I told them they could organize their thoughts any way they liked. Below are a couple of the really good ones.

Making a Splash with Watercolor

Kindergarten classes are making fish paintings in watercolor. We combined simple lines and shapes -- like ovals, straight lines and curved lines -- to draw a fish. Then we painted with watercolor paints.

"Out of this World" Watercolors

Second graders are learning about watercolor techniques. When we talk about how things are made, the materials are what we are using, the techniques are how we use them. We're making paintings of planets in outer space. One of our planets will be painted using the salt technique. That's when you sprinkle salt on the paint while it is still wet. As the paint dries, the salt crystals suck up pigment gradually. This produces crystal or star-like effects in the paint.

The second technique is called wet-on-wet. This is when you paint an area in the painting with one color, and while it is still wet, paint over it with another color. Add a stripe and watch it spread out. With this technique, you can't really control what the paint is going to do, but it creates very interesting effects.

The last one for this week is called "puddle painting". You paint the area with clean water -- lots of it. Remember, you're making a puddle. Then you load up your brush with a really watery mixture of paint. Then, drop it on the puddle and watch what happens. The object is to add color without having the brush touch the paper. Drop it on from above.
These are techniques that show the possibilities of what you can do with watercolor, and some of the effects created by random application of paint look a lot like what you see in photographs of planets in space. Tune in next week to see how they turned out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Texture Rubbings and Crayon Resist.

Remember last week when we used texture plates to make rubbings? The patterns in the texture on the plates showed up on our papers. Well, we can make texture rubbings from things we find around us, too -- like our shoes!

Today, everybody took of one shoe and made a crayon rubbing of it. A lot of shoe treads have very interesting patterns.

Then we painted over these and the abstract crayon drawings we made last week. When you paint over crayon with paint, you're using a technique called crayon resist. Because crayon is made of wax, the paint won't stick to it well, but flows into all the spots that didn't have crayon. The crayon is resisting the paint. It's as if the crayon is saying, "Get off of me!"

Optional assignment: Can you make a texture rubbing with a pencil, paper and a penny? What other textures can you find at home?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Extra Texture

Second graders looked at two paintings and compared and contrasted them. One was realistic, and the other abstract. Then we all experimented with making abstract portraits.
To add texture, we used texture plates. We learned that texture is "how something feels" or "how it looks like it feels." Sometimes art has texture and sometimes artists create illusions of texture. When we place the plates under the drawings and color, we are making texture rubbings.

Name Design Posters

Third graders are using rules to make guidelines.
Our goal is to make a poster using our names in block letters. The letters will be three inches in height and parallel with the top and bottom of the paper.

After drawing them in pencil, we'll outline them and color them with marker. Then we'll add creative details by drawing or using collage.

Shapes in our World

In their first kindergarten class, students learned about using shapes to make things. We used patterns of triangles and squares to make a house, then added details with shapes drawn freehand.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Got Sketch?

Many artists say that the sketchbook is one of the most important tools they have. We discussed why that might be. Sketchbooks are a great place to:

1. Plan big projects.
2. Jot down ideas to develop further later.
3. Practice techniques.
4. Do some visual brainstorming.
5. Express yourself!

One of the best things about being a fifth grade art student is getting your very own sketch book. For now, we use it in the art room, but later in the year students will take them home to work on them if they like.

This week, everybody designed a cover for their sketchbook.