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.
This week it's all about the eccentric Salvador Dali at the studio! Dali is known for creating some extremely strange and thought-provoking art in the surrealist style. He was born in Spain in 1904, the second son to his parents. His older brother also named Salvador Dali died before he was born and his parents gave him the same name. Some say that this is why young Dali fought to have his personality recognized and made such a show of his presence.
Dali had many, many quirks... such as;
But Dali put all of his eccentricity into his art so you know that the resulting images pushed the limits of what was considered to be normal! The Picassos looked at one of his pieces in particular, simply named Elephants, which you can see below.
The animal with its long spindly legs brings to mind the concepts of weight and space. We talked about the symbolism in the painting and I drew their attention to the bulkiness of the animal, the thin legs, the barren background and the obelisks on the backs of the elephant and the fact that these are actually floating.
They created their own Dali-inspired animals! Take a look.
Last week the Picassos followed in the footsteps of Post-Impressionist artist Henri Rousseau and created some beautiful jungle scenes. This week watch as they bring these jungle scenes to completion using a variety of different techniques and take in their animals!
Point of Note:
Rousseau painted a variety of 'zoo animals' in his jungle scenes because he never actually left Paris and created his paintings from his research at the zoo and the botanical gardens... so the children are aware for instance that a giraffe's habitat is actually the savanna! LOL
Artist Henri Rousseau painted lively jungle scenes, but he actually never traveled outside his home city of Paris, France and friends there are no tropical jungles there! So how did Rousseau come up with the scenes for his paintings? Well, he visited the Paris Botanical Gardens and embellished what he saw using his very wild imagination!
Today the Doodlebugs started creating our version of what Rousseau might have seen on one of his visits. They sponge painted some flowers and leaves today and we talked about what a greenhouse is and what it is used for as well as how it is different from the jungle!
Next week we will add the greenhouse gates and some more plants to make our Rousseau piece complete!
From contemporary artist Sandra Silberzweig we're moving to 19th Century Post Impressionist artist Henri Rosseau! Rosseau was a self-taught artist who became famous for his jungle scenes. All his artwork was created from his imagination because he never actually left his home of Paris France.
The children started creating their leafy backgrounds today using a combination of techniques. They learnt all about positive and negative space and created their own stencils, they sponge painted for texture and also drew and collaged some leafy foliage to give their jungle scenes some depth. Next week they will finish off their backgrounds and our jungle inhabitants will move in, so stay tuned you don't want to miss that!
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!
Our art this week takes a bit of inspiration from our stormy weather. I introduced the Picassos to the artist Winslow Homer and we looked at lots of his paintings of the sea. Children generally want to paint the ocean blue, but Homer's work really shows all the varied colours the ocean can be!
This piece, which I'm calling Calm after the Storm was loads of fun because we used different media and techniques. I like highlighting that art can be made with different materials and in different ways, sometimes in a single piece! Here we used watercolours, tempera and acrylic paints and they used brushes and even cardboard chips as tools! The only limit on what or how you create is your imagination!
My Tuesday Picassos and I were in the mood for a little more oomph so we used Tempera paints for the sky and ocean.
The Picassos delved into my favorite era today... the Impressionist Era! The 1980s were golden for music and the 1800s produced some of the greatest artists of all time... simple facts in my humble opinion! 🤓 (oxymoron much 😀)
Anyway, we talked about how art was changed by these artists both in terms of subject matter and in terms of style and then they attempted this little number by Claude Monet.
It's called The Isle Grande Jatte and it was completed in 1878. Notice how you can see some houses across the river as well as a distant field and how Monet uses small brushstrokes and lots of tints and shades so we can imagine the light pouring through those trees and we can feel the way the artist felt standing there squinting in the sun and capturing it all for us to admire centuries later.
Take a look at how my little artists did 😀
We started off this class with a little cartoon about the artist Claude Monet so my little darlings could envision something about the man whose style we were going to try to mimic!
Monet painted apple trees in blossom many many times but for my Doodlebugs I thought we would focus just on the flowers and paint them huge but using his technique of blending colors right on the canvas or in this case paper! We looked at Monet's flowers and some pictures of real flowers then they drew and painted their own. They were thrilled with seeing the changes in the colours by adding more white and the results are simply gorgeous. Although I tried to get them to leave traces of white in their flowers most of them couldn't resist mixing the paint until they got a smooth lighter tint... but aah well! All in good fun!
Of course they also drew leaves and cut their flowers themselves so they're getting lots of that much needed cutting practice parents 😃
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 :)