Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thinking about Light and Shadow

Our school got some really nice art posters as part of a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities. One of the works of art second graders are learning about is this one by Edward Hopper, House by the Railroad. How about that four-story tower?!

After answering some discussion questions about this work of art, we decided this painting had a lonely feeling. There are no signs of people, and the shades are all pulled down. Someone suggested that maybe the people moved away because the railroad tracks are so close to the house!

One thing I wanted to point out is that the light source in the picture is very clear. Can you see how the left side of the house is very light and bright -- and the right is shaded with blues and greens and purple?
We're all used to drawing houses with squares, rectangles and triangles -- but we all decided to use some shapes that you might find in Victorian architecture, like the curved Mansard roof and the arched windows with ornamentation. Most of us didn't want to make ours look so lonely, so we made all kinds of signs of life in the surounding area.

Notice how we all started with a main object that was kind of the same, but everybody's picture has things in it that are different.

We tried to make one side of the house in the light, and the other in shadow. We colored with Payons, or painting crayons. These are really neat crayons that you use just like regular crayons. Then you paint over the drawing with water. The crayon turns into paint! I know that I told you that I got them from a leprechaun, but I may as well tell you -- you can order them many places, including here.

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