Divali is in the air and while the Hindu community is immersed in prayer and fasting, the rest of us can't wait to take in the colour, food and fashion that culminate on Divali day!
When I first came across these Indian Dancers by local artist Danielle Rahael I was immediately drawn to them! I love her use of colour and her the fact that she stays true to her abstract style while also infusing our Trinidadian culture! Thanks Danielle for giving my Picassos such a fine example of how a local artist can interpret our life, our colours and our vibrancy into a style that is not always easy to digest.
Check out my 7 to 11 year old Picassos as they try their hands at recreating an Indian Dancer in the style of Rahael in celebration of Divali! Our focus here was on colour. They took turns using the colour wheel to figure out their split complimentary colour scheme starting with the colour of their backgrounds. Then they drew and painted in Rahael’s signature style!
Last week the Picassos started their abstract portraits inspired by contemporary artist Sandra Silberzweig and this week they're adding lots of colour, line and pattern to make those portraits really pop!
They are also getting some practice using analagous (colours next to each other on the colour wheel) colour schemes and working with chalk pastels!
To see the first part of this project -> Silberzweig Portraits
This week the Picassos looked at the work of contemporary artist Sandra Silberzweig (and incidentally learned that this just means she is still alive and creating art today, in our time). She's from Canada and loves to create colourful abstract portraits, but what's also very interesting about her is just like Kandinsky who we met last term, she also has the condition synesthesia! She wrote the following verse about how she experiences colour...
I am a synesthesia goddess
The children looked at some of her art pieces and we talked about how she uses the Elements of Art to enhance her creations!
They got starting drawing out their abstract faces today and then outlining them with glue... next week they will add colour and pattern and complete their lovely designs!
The Christmas season is fully upon us so I thought it was time to bring some holiday cheer to our class! This week we looked at the work of the artist Kandinsky and infused his style with our Trini Christmas flavour!
Kandisky is credited as the father of Abstract Art and he is also famous for having the condition SYNESTHESIA! Synesthesia means that colour and sound are inextricably connected in the brain, so a person with this condition can 'hear' colour and ascribes colour to music! It's no wonder then that his art came out looking the way it did! Putting Kandinsky and Parang together might seem an odd paring, but to me it seems quite natural and hopefully my Picassos left feeling the same way. They listened to a reading of The Noisy Paintbox which is based on the life of Kandinsky so they could appreciate the art and the artist we were going to try to mimic.
To make sure my Picassos created something unique to them and something they could relate to, we talked about the instruments used in Parang. They practiced simple versions of them and then they came up with their compositions using Kandinsky as a guide! They had to be sure to use at least 3 instruments, make sure one pair is overlapping, then divide the background using irregular shapes! Lots of instructions to follow and I could just see the problem solving skills developing in this project! LOL
They painted their compositions using a warm and cool colour combination... so yet another art concept comes into play!
There is nothing like the look of accomplishment on the face of a child when they do something and it comes out just the way they envisioned! This simple little drawing of Porky the Pig (I just had to name him guys 😀) delivers an easy win but it also works in lots of fundamentals.
They have to use their shapes and follow instructions step by step and then of course they get to mix a tint! Red and white makes pink!!! Gasp! Finally I get them to say PERSPECTIVE and they learn that things look very different depending on which way you turn them! This piggy is viewed from the front, but if we drew him from the side it would be very different!
Simple step by step drawings like these are real confidence builders for my little artists because they always start off thinking they can't draw whatever I say we're going to do, then voila they see that they can!
Take a look at my darlings as they create the most adorable little pigs you've ever seen. 😉
I try to squeeze a colour wheel lesson into every term not just because colour theory is to art what phonics is to reading, but also because children simply LOVE to mix colours! It literally never gets old... they can spend an entire class simply mixing colours to see what they come up with and not actually paint a single thing and giving them the freedom to experiment in this way is just a must... so take a look at them as they mix their secondary colours and create an adorable little juggling clown in the process :)
This week the Picassos looked at one of the elements of art VALUE. Value is the degree of lightness or darkness in a colour or hue. Artists use value to manipulate space (another element of art) because the further away things are the lighter they appear. This phenomenon is called atmospheric perspective... Phew! That's our big art term for the day and it simply means how we see the air around us! We discussed how things appear to fade off into the distance because of dust, humidity or even air pollution.
Take a look at them in action and see how they achieved the goal of making the forest look like you can walk further and further into those enchanted trees by varying the value of the colour we used!
This term I wanted to get all my students working in unison on one big collaborative piece. I took some time to decide what it should be and I came across a project that was originally done by a graffiti street artist which was a huge presentation of wings with a space in the middle for people to insert themselves and 'take part' in the art piece. I thought this was a lovely concept and it was also a positive theme that could spawn lots of great conversation about the things that motivate or make my kiddos feel good about themselves :) Of course working together also encourages cooperation and the recognition that pooling your efforts can make a huge task seem a lot more manageable and all that good stuff!
The picture below is the work of the original Nashville artist which is painted on the side of a building for folks on the street to use for their keepsake snapshots!
But of course I couldn't leave it at that... noooooooooo. I tweaked it so there were some of those trusty 'elements of art' concepts that we're always going on about. The element we'll focus on here is VALUE, which basically speaks to the extent of lightness or darkness in a colour or hue.
So for our version of these wings each child created a personalized feather by painting a gradation (moving from dark to light) using the colours found on the colour wheel. Then they added lines and pattern on top of that in white for even more pizzazz!
Take a look at what we've done so far :) Next week the whole project will come together as all the classes have an opportunity to make a feather and we mount them in the hall!
Our wings are finally complete and they are certainly a hit! Can't help but think they kinda look like a Carnival wing/backpack thingy :) Notice that our feathers are laid out in the order of the colour wheel! So now we have a giant colour theory reference right outside our door... a neat side effect of this gorgeous project. Even some of parents had to take a pic with the wings and that's what it's all about!
Today we worked a bit of science and math into our art.
Our Science Experiment
At the start of class we discussed how primary colours mix to form secondary colours and how all colours come from different combinations of these three colours. To demonstrate this we used some paper towels, water and food colouring in cups. Two primary colours (red and blue) were placed in two cups on either end and a third cup was placed in the middle with just water. It took the entire class (we were checking on its progress throughout) but eventually the coloured water travelled up the paper towel and met in the middle and created a new colour... purple!
We talked a bit about the sciency (yup I just said sciency lol) part of this experiment... namely why the water moves along the paper towel so they got familiar with terms like absorption, adhesion, capillary action and even gravity (I put the 2 end cups on a height so the liquid would travel a bit faster). We also talked about when this capillary action happens in nature... when plants take water up through their roots and up their stems!
Now for the Math part...
One important element of art is FORM and this refers to objects that are 3-dimensional, or in other words, not flat. In other disciplines such as math this concept is explained in terms of shapes and solids. Shapes are flat and solids have form or are 3D having length, width and depth.
So we reviewed this simple concept by discussing simple shapes and their solid counterparts... for example a circle is a shape and its solid is a sphere, a square is a shape and its solid is a cube, a rectangle is a shape and its solid is a cuboid... etc etc.
Then we moved on to how we represent this in art! The Picassos were asked to draw 3 different types of beakers (it is mad science colour mixing after all!) and turn them into solids or 3D forms. These beakers were to hold our 'liquid' for the colour mixing part of our lesson today. So I demonstrated how we use line to create an optical illusion and turn a 2D shape into a form!
We then went into colour mixing using a wet on wet technique so they got to see the colours move towards each other on the page and change right before their very eyes! We stuck to primary colours (red, blue and yellow) so they could then mix our secondaries.
Next they worked on drawing some gorgeous bubbles using chalk pastels on black paper which serves as the background for our piece. The bubbles also reinforced the form concept because they created mostly spheres using curved lines inside the flat circles... but of course it didn't take long for somebody to say "miss... you know bubbles are all kinds of shapes.. not just round" When our bubbles were drawn in the beakers were cut out and stuck into place.
The Doodlebugs mixed secondary colours out of the three primaries today. For some this is a skill they are familiar with and for others it was a new trick, but it was fun for everyone!
We also started class off with the 'walking water' experiment to demonstrate how 2 of the primaries mix to create a secondary colour. I didn't go too deep into the science with my Doodlebugs but I did tell them that the same thing happens when roots drink water from soil and the water travels up the stem to the leaves etc. The all got to say capillary action... which came out in all different versions lol but they were constantly checking on how far the colours moved up the paper towel as class went on!
The each got their own pallet with the primary colours and mixed their secondary colours all on their own. Then they cut out their ovals and we painted a branch on another piece of paper and they stuck them into place.
Of course we also decked our little birdies off with googly eyes and 'real' feathers ;P (Aunty Natalia knows how to pump up the oooh factor 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 :)