William H. Johnson was a brilliant twentieth century American artist. Although his work was largely ignored in his lifetime he gained the notoriety he so desperately sought after his death.
He was born in South Carolina in 1901 and by the age of 17 had left his small rural hometown for New York seeking success and fame as an artist. His travels took him all the way to Europe where he met and married his wife, but he eventually returned home after he began to have a longing for painting people and scenes that were familiar from his childhood.
His style changed very much over the years, but he is most well-known for his later works done in a simplistic cubist style using bright and vibrant colours.
Tar Beach is a children's book written by Faith Ringold who is also an artist who creates quilts that tell stories. Tar Beach is the story of young Cassie who lives in the heart of New York and her favourite place to be is up on the rooftop of her apartment building at night where she can look at all the twinkling lights and see buildings from up high. The rooftop is covered with tar, which is why the story is called tar beach!
It tells of a child's simple wish for a better life and how dreams and fantasy can help us all to escape and to create a world that makes us feel happy and hopeful.
The Doodlebugs will create their very own Tar Beach collage. Today they created the sky and the George Washington Bridge and coloured in a picture of themselves arms and legs outstretched like they are flying over the city just like Cassie in the story.
My Picassos are getting into the whole Dr. Seuss celebrations too! In honor of his birthday we talked about our favorite Seuss stories and favorite Seuss Characters! Who doesn't remember learning to read (or for some of us more recently, watching their toddler learn to read) Green Eggs and Ham?!? There are soooo many to choose from!
Each character of course has its own look and style but they are all distinctively Seuss. So we looked at a few popular ones and talked about what they had in common and then the kiddos got to create their very own Dr. Seuss character which they drew and painted.
They also had an additional exercise today... they each had to complete a little worksheet of sorts that gave a bit of description to their characters. Let's hear it for Dr. Seuss!
The Hindu community is celebrating another beautiful festival so this week the Picassos and I are learning all about this colourful event! Phagwa or Holi as it's also called is a celebration of new life and it marks the beginning of the Hindu year! It also coincides with spring (yet another point of learning since we get to discuss seasons we don't experience here at home), which is probably why all those beautiful colours are used to spray the joyous participants!
Our piece today portrays the lively colours of the abeer dye and the Picassos created a loose and expressive line portrait of a face drenched in the festivities of Phagwa!
Note: all tissue paper are not created equal! Because our colours were not as vibrant as I had hoped we added some splashes of liquids watercolours as well!
Dr. Seuss strikes again with his fun rhymes and hilarious sentences that can always provoke a giggle! I introduced the Doodlebugs to Red Ted before we read the story and asked them to look out for him so they were all leaning in waiting for him to make his appearance in the story!
Of course they were repeating the rhyming words and then we got down to our directed drawing of Red Ted and his crazy hairdo! They also got to cut him out and stick him onto a very Seuss-styled background that we created with glitter! Whaaaat? Scissors and glitter in one class... what was I thinking? LOL
Be a fly on the wall in our art room! Take a look at what we do, how we do it and the smiles that I get to see week after week :)