The English fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” first appeared in print in 1734. Some literature researchers think the oral version of the story has been around for over 5,000 years!
It is an endearing story of a poor boy who buys magic beans that grow a beanstalk of gargantuan size. Jack climbs the beanstalk high into the sky and discovers that it leads to the home of a mean giant. Jack manages to steal some valuable treasures from the giant which causes the giant to become very angry. Before the giant shimmies down the beanstalk to get Jack, Jack cuts down the beanstalk.
Now we discussed this little tale at great length and it turns out that your children have a very firm moral compass! Congrats! They were all able to discern some important lessons...
This is all of course while they were working on drawing and painting their bird's eye view of Jack climbing back down the bean stalk! This piece drew their attention to different aspect of perspective in art. So far we have done 1-point perspective (poui trees), atmospheric perspective (winter landscape) and now bird's eye.
If you find yourself at Lopinot on a rainy night, you might be face to face with the ghost of Charles Joseph de Loppinot de la Fresilliere – a French Count who came to Trinidad in 1800 – as he roams about his estate house located in the northern village named after him. They had to find out a bit about the history of this gorgeous little house but of course I added my two cents.
This week we are going to try our hands at drawing this grand old house and next week we’ll paint.
This one is a slow process... lots of details and as you can imagine quite a challenge for my artists, many of whom are trying a piece with this level of detail for the first time. But if it’s one thing I’ve learned in my time teaching art to kids is that they will go as far as you lead them. So I continue to push ever so slightly, but push we must! Plus... lessons of perseverance and hard work aren’t confined to the art room! 😉
Haring (1958 - 1990) attracted public attention with his bold graffiti-inspired street style art. Drawing inspiration from the break-dancing culture of the times, Haring's action figures were characterized by bright colours and bold black lines.
He often used his work to make a statement about different issues and he was well-known for his social activism.
Today we are using Keith Haring as our master artist to create another piece on Carnival. We are imagining our Haring action figures are at a Carnival event jumping and dancing to the beats! Check out my Picassos as they use what they have learned about this artist to create their own artwork!
This week I thought we would shake things up a bit and paint a landscape that was totally unfamiliar! We talked about our weather and our seasons and the fact that at this very moment on the other side of the globe our friends and family might be bundled up under layers and layers of clothes and have to trudge out to work or school in heavy snow!
Of course our art isn’t going to be dreary at all... the book Slush Mountain has some gorgeous illustrations that we took our inspiration from and the Picassos had such a great time creating a wintry scene!
I also drew their attention to the difference between the trees we painted last week for our Poui Tree piece and these trees. So we discussed deciduous trees and evergreen trees and got a little science in the mix as well! In addition we got to talk about ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE, which is simply the use of colour to depict distance or space. So you'll notice that the trees that are in the distance are white, the ones in the middle ground are green and the ones closest to the viewer are the darkest!
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!
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 :)