So we did this project a while ago in celebration of the Chinese New Year on January 28th. We talked about how there are 12 animals that rotate each year and how those animals represent certain characteristics in people. We also learned a bit about the significance of certain colors to the Chinese as well as a bit of history regarding the Chinese New Year.
We started of by gluing down a piece of yarn onto our paper. Then we talked about symmetry and how things that are symmetrical are the same on both sides. We discussed some things that we see often that are symmetrical like people's faces and butterfly wings. After making a head and tail for their dragon, students were asked to fold pieces of paper in half and cut out various shapes. This would create two of each shape. They were then to glue one of each shape on either side of the yarn, making it symmetrical from the head all the way back to the tail.
For this project, we checked out Henri Matisse's work. Matisse was a French artist who is most well-known for the paper cutouts (collages) he made. He used a mixture of both organic and geometric shapes to create his works. Late in life, he developed cancer. After a botched surgery, he was left wheelchair-bound and his vision was beginning to fail him. He oftentimes made art from the comfort of his bed, bringing the outside world into his room through his artwork.
We started off the project watching a couple videos about Mr. Matisse. Then we discussed the difference between organic and geometric shapes. This was the big focus of the project. I explained to them that organic shapes look like blobs of spilled milk and geometric shapes are shapes that usually have names (circles, squares, diamonds, etc). The first day of the project was spent cutting out shapes of various sizes, colors, and a blend of geometric and organic shapes.
The following two classes were also spent cutting out and gluing shapes. Throughout the process, I emphasized that they be thoughtful with their shape placement when gluing stuff down. I'm really happy with some of the compositions!
1st grade checked out the work of Laurel Burch. Laurel was an American artist who is most well-known for her brightly colored and patterned paintings of animals, particularly cats. What I find so amazing about Laurel is that she had a condition in which her bones were so brittle that they often broke/fractured doing everyday things. It is estimated that she fractured over 100 bones throughout her life. Despite the immense pain that she was often in, her artwork was still so bright and cheerful. It makes you feel happy just looking at it!
The first day was spent learning about Laurel and then drawing a cat. After drawing their cat and tracing it with crayon, they added three different patterns to the cats body with crayons.
The 2nd day of the project, we talked about tints and shades. This is the first time we have talked about them since they were in kindergarten. Our artists used tempera cakes to mix tints and shades and add them to their cat. They mixed the colors right in the tempera cake pans.
The final day was a busy one! They added a pattern to their background with markers. Then we talked about organic shapes and used those to create at least 3 flowers for the background. Lastly, they cut out their cat and glued it to the background.
I was somewhat happy with the results, however, I would like to find a better way to go about painting them. A lot of students struggled with thinning out their paint with water and not making the paint go on their paper too thick. It's something that I will have to put more thought into the next time I do the project!
Hokusai was a Japanese printmaker most well-known for his series titled Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is very important to the Japanese due to religious reasons. Of the series, The Great Wave off Kanagawa is the most famous. The print shows a menacing wave looking to crash down upon a small Mt. Fuji in the distance. The print symbolizes the everlasting nature of the mountain. While the waves will come and go, the mountain will always be there.
This was a project that I got from Laura Lohmann over at Painted Paper. You can check out her project details here.
Our first day, we painted using black and white. Students started with white in the middle of their paper. They painted from the middle of their paper to about halfway between the middle and the bottom of their paper. Then they used black and started from the bottom and worked their way up to where they stopped with the white. Some of the black would mix with the white and create a gradient from white to grey to black. We talked about how when a color goes from light to dark, we call that value.
The second day, they drew a large "C" shape on the top of their black and white value painting. From the top of the "C", they drew a diagonal line downward. This formed a large menacing wave. They painted their newly drawn wave with blue, as well as painting over their value painting from last class. When they painted the blue over their value painting, it made the top of the wave lighter and the bottom of the wave darker, creating a blue value scale. Then they used white paint to paint along the top of their wave, as well as some ripples in the water. Lastly, they dabbed some white paint along the top of the wave to make it look like spraying water.
1st grade did a quick one day project on Gustav Klimt a while back. Klimt was an Austrian artist known most notably for his painting which feature gold leaf. His artwork is also rich with patterns and spirals.
After taking a look at his work, each student traced a large spiral onto a black sheet of paper. Then they used GOLD PAINT (WOOHOO!) to paint 5 lines on their spiral. The lines helped divide the spiral up into smaller shapes. Lastly, they were asked to paint a different pattern in each of the shapes. When everyone was finished, I glued them together into a large collaborative mural based on Klimt's Tree of Life.
We learned about the second most famous Pop Artist (behind Mr. Warhol), Roy Lichtenstein! Roy Lichtenstein started out as a graphic designer. One day, his kids challenged him to recreate a picture of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck that they had seen in a comic book. He took the challenge upon himself and recreated it perfectly. This would go on to spur his iconic style. He is most well-known for his paintings of comic book pictures. Many of his paintings depict women or scenes from WWII comics. He is also known for only using the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue). To create other colors, he used ben-day dots. If you have ever looked at a comic closely, the colors are made up of tiny dots of colors. If a bunch of red dots are placed closely together, the image appears red. If they red dots are spaced further apart so that there is more white space between them, the color begins to appear more purple. The primary colored dots can also be overlapped to give the appearance of other colors, such as putting red and blue on top of each other to create the illusion of purple.
We touched up on our organic and geometric shapes from kindergarten to start things off. Then we practiced cutting these shapes out of primary colored papers and gluing them down to our backgrounds. Students were expected to fill up a good chunk of their paper.
The second day, we got a crash course on the proportions of the face. We really emphasized drawing our eyes in the middle of our head and NOT on our forehead. After drawing their self-portrait, they traced it with a sharpie. Lastly, they used bubble wrap to prints dots using the primary colors onto their backgrounds. The bubble wrap prints look king of like large ben-day dots like Lichtenstein used.
While I had fun with the project, I need to come up with a more effective way to teach this one.Maybe draw the shapes on next year with markers instead of cutting them out of paper?
I enjoy doing Day of the Dead projects and making students aware of other cultural practices outside of their own. This is one that they always love to learn about. After talking about Day of the Dead as a holiday in Mexico which celebrates the life of people who have passed, we kicked off the project.
On the first day, they used a sombrero tracer to draw out a sombrero. Then they used tempera paint to paint lines across their sombrero. It was a good chance for us to re-learn our lines!
The second day was spent tracing out a skull, gluing it to their sombrero, and then painting traditional Day of the Dead designs onto the skull
Gerhard Richter is a contemporary German artist who is well-known for his photorealistic paintings that he then blurs using a soft brush or squeegee. He is also famous for creating abstract paintings and then using a squeegee to scrape away paint.
For this project, we painted two sheets of paper the primary colors. When painting, we had to work thickly and quickly with our paint so that it wouldn't dry. After students had covered their papers with the primary colors, they used a strip of tagboard to scrape away the paint on their paper. As they scraped, the primary colors would mix together and create the secondary colors. The kids thought this was the COOLEST THING EVERRRRR and I thought it was pretty cool too for re-learning our color mixing! As they scraped, they could also change the pressure to their scraping and it would create different effects on their paper.
Each student made two paintings. One of the paintings they got to keep, the other painting I cut up into small strips that we then used in a weaving project. For the weaving project, each student got a sheet of paper that had slits cut into it. Students then practiced weaving their painted paper strips into it. Some students caught onto this right away while others struggled. I was really proud of the ones who got it and then helped teach it to their friends who were struggling with it. Throughout the weaving, we talked about patterns and how it is similar to ABAB patterns that they may have learned about in music.
On the final day, we used construction paper crayons to add a different pattern to each row of the weaving. I think next time I will have them just do one pattern on the entire weaving rather than a new pattern for each row.
I saw this project floating around somewhere on Pinterest and thought it would be a great chance to touch on shapes again with me first graders!
Reggie Laurent is a contemporary artist who makes abstract paintings. His artwork features brightly colored shapes on a black background. The shapes vary from geometric to organic. On top of the shapes, he paints vibrant lines and patterns.
Throughout the project, we talked a lot about the difference between organic and geometric shapes. I usually say that geometric shapes are shapes that have a name or that they are shapes with a lot of straight edges. Organic shapes are shapes that are blobs. We cut out tons of organic and geometric shapes and glued them to a black background. When gluing, we glued so that our shapes didn't touch each other. Our scissors were SUPER hungry so we did TONS of cutting. We recapped on using our glue properly too.
The 2nd class, we finished up cutting and gluing. After that, we used a white crayon to create squiggly lines between our shapes. Lastly, we used construction paper crayons to add lines and patterns to our shapes.
This is a project that I saw over at jamestownelementaryartblog.com
James Rizzi was an American Pop Artist who is most well-known for his fun, bright, and cartoon-like depictions of skyscrapers. His skyscrapers typically feature faces with various expressions.
We kicked things off by talking about space in Rizzi's work. We noticed that just because some buildings were bigger than others, doesn't mean that the bigger building was closer to us. We came to the conclusion that this idea of space was created by Rizzi's use of overlapping buildings. We also discussed the difference between foreground and background. We also talked about how buildings are typically made up of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. Students drew 3 large buildings and added faces and windows to them. They finished off the class by tracing everything they drew with a black crayon.
Next, we added 3 smaller buildings to go in our background and then traced them with a black crayon. We brushed up on ROY G BIV from last year and then used liquid watercolors to paint our buildings in rainbow order.
On the last day, we finished up painting our buildings. Then painted our sky black. Lastly, we did some splatter painting with white paint to add stars to our sky.
Harmony and Consolidated Elementary Art Teacher in Milton, WI. UW-Eau Claire graduate. WAEA Membership Chair.