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.
Cezanne is called the Father of Cubism and the Warhols got to really focus on what that means in creating this piece. They looked at how Cezanne famously reduced the subjects of his paintings into geometrical shapes like cubes, cylinders and cones. The were also asked to observe his brushstrokes and mimic his choppy style.
Cezanne of course never painted coconuts because they were not native to his home country, France. His works are full of apples, oranges and other fruit. But local artist Che Lovelace created a piece in Cezanne's style and I thought it would be nice to show them both side by side and have them try their hands at this master's style but with our own local flair!
They focused on drawing this week, next they will add colour and texture to complete their Cézanne/Lovelace inspired coconuts.
For our first Picasso class I decided to do a fun little piece depicting a circus tent! After all who hasn't been to see the Suarez Brother's over the vacation?? Yup... I think they stayed long enough to ensure every single Trinidadian child made it to the circus! LOL
This piece was meant to serve as a kind of warm up for my newbie Picassos as well as a relaxing welcome back to my oldies! A nice, fun and easy piece that still delivers a gorgeous end product!
They had to create the tent curtains and also draw who was onstage so that when the curtains were pulled back you would see inside! Loads of fun and we got their creative juices flowing, while having a nice time chatting about our vacation.
So I wouldn't normally make Republic Day about the specific president. In the past I've focused on our national symbols but I figured this President is special! She's our first female president so I think a portrait is in order!
This term we're also focusing on the work of French artist Paul Cezanne so my Picassos and Warhols are going to be applying Cezanne's style in this piece. Two of his pieces are shown below.
They used a limited colour palette (in our case we chose red, white and black... I'm sure you can guess why) just like Cezanne and focused on making tints and shades and studying how light affects the appearance of colour.
Homework for Warhols:
The Muslim community has spent Ramadan fasting and praying and this week my little artists and I took a look at the beauty of Islamic architecture. The symmetry and gorgeous domed rooftops, not to mention the crisp white walls and simple colours!
They drew and painted mosques that are set against an evening sky that is just bursting with gorgeous colours... partly because this is when Muslims are called to prayer, but also because I couldn't hold them back from painting the mosque in Carnival colours if I didn't tell them they could use some bright colours somewhere!
Eid Mubarak to the Muslim community!
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 :)