Cat does NOT like Valentine's Day. It's much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine—especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence. He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head! But just as Cat’s about to send Dog an angry "valentine" telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a ball over the fence.
I know my Picassos enjoyed this simple picture book and it's partly because cat is so darn snarky, but it's also because of the great job the illustrator did! Cat's facial expressions are the greatest! So I tasked the Picassos to create a drawing of cat using their favourite expression from the book, or maybe even to make one up... then write a short poem on the card in his hands! This was sooooo much fun but they really had to focus on using simple lines purposefully!
Coming from the Caribbean, where we experience the wet and dry seasons, we are all familiar with the gorgeous parade of colours that burst onto the landscape every year between the months of January and May (the dry season). This year my Picassos are looking at perspective and in particular the vanishing point, but to make it beautiful and to give them a local context we imagined a street lined with these richly coloured trees in full bloom!
I used the pic up top to show them the vanishing point and so they could get a real example of how things appear smaller the further back they go. Unfortunately I couldn't find real a poui-lined street :/
Of course they took a while to get the concept of drawing at an angle and decreasing in size but the end result... well see for yourself!
Last day the children listened to a lovely story Over and Under the Pond. The mother tells her son there's a secret world underneath their boat, a world of minnows, crayfish, turtles, bullfrogs, and tadpoles slowly growing into frogs, learning how to hop on newly developed legs.
So today we are adding the details! Lots of drawing, cutting and sticking and they each decided what animals they wanted to add and where to place them. Then they cut them out and collaged them onto their background.
We're starting off the term with this gorgeously illustrated picture book as the inspiration for our art piece.
The story follows a curious young boy and his mother as they paddle across a pond. We get the chance to talk about ecosystems and food chains and how the cycle of life is all connected.
For our art piece, the Picassos have started to draw and paint their pond ecosystems and in our next class they will add details like leaves, rocks and of course some animal life!
Check out what they've done so far!
This year my Picassos and I did a bit of exploring! We looked at Christmas traditions around the world and we focused on Russia for our art piece! Children in Russia don't have Santa Claus... they have a similar figure called Grandfather Frost or Ded Moroz. He's actually tied more to winter than he is to Christmas.
We learned that Christmas was banned in Russia from the early 1920s right up until 1991! During that time Christmas was celebrated by very few people and only in secret. Trees may have been put up but they were called New Year Trees, not Christmas Trees. Since Russians follow the Orthodox Church they celebrate Christmas on January 7th and Grandfather Frost dressed in either his elaborate red or blue coat grants children's wishes or brings presents. He also doesn't have reindeer... nope his sleigh is carried by 3 white horses that represent the three months of winter!
After our very interesting discussion, the kids drew Grandfather Frost in an abstact style and we started painting him in using tints and shades of red, pink and orange. The focus here is using colour to demonstrate warm and cool colour pallets and how they can be used to make things either advance or recede.
The Picassos heard all about Gustav Klimt who was born in Vienna in 1862. His father, a gold engraver, taught Gustav how to work with gold. When Gustav was older he used gold, tiny pieces of colored glass and stones to make images that were inspired by Byzantine Mosaics. This was called his “GOLDEN PHASE”
Klimt was a part of a group of artists that were tired of traditional art and wanted their art to symbolize something beyond the canvases. They used bright colors, swirling lines and curves. They called this new style of art ART NOUVEAU. Klimt was famous for his paintings of women. They were both decorative and abstract.
He’s most famous for his painting The Tree of Life but he’s also done numerous portraits, mostly of women, so I decided to go the portrait route.
My Picassos drew a simplified version of a Klimt lady wearing a robe. They created patterns and really zeroed in on using pattern and colour that was indicative of the ART NOUVEAU period.
This one will take two classes so stay tuned to see how they turn out!
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!
The Sugar Skull is a symbol of El Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated by Mexicans in November that honors the life of a loved one who has died. It's not at all spooky or scary. As a matter of fact the day is a festive one where family members make special foods, collect flowers and make yummy treats all in preparation of this day of remembrance. I paralleled it to All Souls Day which is a similar Christian tradition in Trinidad.
I think it's important to expose my artists to interesting festivals and cultural elements from around the world, so they get a glimpse of life outside of Trinidad and Tobago. So they listened to the story Day of the Dead and then we got down to creating our sugar skulls which are really one of the sweet treats made for that day, but for our project we drew, painted and then collaged some flowers!
Continuing on our artist study of Cezanne, the Picassos and Warhols took a look at some examples of Cezanne's landscapes. We looked at his use of complimentary colours and his brushstrokes as well as his shapes.
The Picassos went on to create a Cezanne-inspired landscape using simple plains and focusing on colours and brushwork.
This week the Picassos were introduced to artist Paul Gauguin, who was born in Paris, but moved to Tahiti. He loved the tropical setting and native people. In his painting, Tahitian Women on the Beach, he depicts two women in their everyday environment. One woman is weaving a basket while the other keeps her company. In his paintings, he used colors that were much brighter and bolder than the colors found in nature. Because of his use of color and painting style, he was called a Post-Impressionist painter.
My artists focused on his use of complimentary colours as well as contour lines in recreating this piece. By looking at this piece they also got a good example of how an artist can be influenced by his surroundings... for instance Gauguin started using the bright, sun-drenched colours of Tahiti in his work.
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 :)