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
Oh my goodness! Or should I say "Oh Dios mio!" When I came across this little picture book I was over the moon! It's a Mexican twist of the classic The Little Red Hen... with all the repetition and morals of the old story, but with the added benefit of introducing some Spanish words!
I don't have to tell you that we had a blast repeating;
"Yo noooooo! I move tooooo slooow!" and "If I grow arms tonight, I'll help you manana igauna!"
Then we painted our desert background and drew and cut out Tortuga the lazy tortoise who refused to help Iguana prepare for her fiesta!
Last week the Picassos looked at the struggles of Horace Pippin and his determination to get back to painting after injuring his arm. (He took 3 years to complete his first painting after his injury!) They created pictures of themselves sitting at their easels and imagined what they would be painting and conjured up their fantasy bedrooms/art studios! See the first part of this lesson here.
This week they painted them and they are just dreamy!
This week the Doodlebugs learned all about frogs! Bull frogs to be exact! We took a look at the life cycle of the bull frog and a lot of them could identify the stages. I love when we get to work a little science into our class and this was definitely fun for both the boys and girls to look at pictures of the different stages and learn just how BIG a bull frog can get!
Then of course we got down to drawing and painting our own fantastic frogs! Take a look at them in action :0
The Picassos were introduced to the artist Horace Pippin and I used the book A Splash of Red to tell the story of his life and give them an idea of the man and his art. Horace overcame his poor upbringing and even survived a war albeit with an injured arm but none of that could keep him away from his love of art! He found a way to prop his injured arm so he could still draw and he worked and worked until it got stronger and he was brave enough to exhibit his paintings even though he had no formal art training and his work eventually made him famous!
This story is meant to highlight that everyone's journey is different and really gives the children a chance to be quiet and imagine. (Something that can get lost in a world full of distractions!)
They looked at some pictures of his art and then they started drawing from their imaginations... which is what Horace did! They all started off with the shape of an easel on their paper and they were tasked to imagine the rest of the art piece. What would they be painting on their easel? What would their room look like? Take a look at the start of their imagination pieces... Next week they'll complete them with paint!
My little Doodlebugs are certainly not too young to get in on our Moko Jumbie action! They looked at a short clip of some Moko Jumbies in training and saw lots of tricks and we talked about the wonderful colours and costumes that these characters can sometimes be dressed in!
To portray their Moko Jumbies they created a textured background to mimic the sky and then they traced the silhouette of a Moko Jumbie! They added their own colours and decorations to complete our Carnival piece.
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 :)