2nd Grade just finished up learning about Sol LeWitt. Sol was an American artist who passed away just a few years ago. He is known as a conceptual artist as well as a minimalist. Conceptual artists believed that even something as simple as coming up with the idea for an artwork could be considered art and minimalist created work as simply as possible. Sol is most well-known for his instructional wall drawings. He would write up directions for an artwork and then send the directions to a museum or gallery. It was up to the museum/gallery to create the artwork based on his instructions. Because the instructions were open to some interpretation, no two artworks came out the same, even with the same directions. He is also known for his simple shapes, lines, and colors.
2nd grade did a project somewhat similar to this last year with Bridget Riley using colored pencils. This year I put a different spin on it and focused on Sol LeWitt instead. After learning about Sol we had a conversation about complementary colors and where they were in relation to each other on the color wheel. Students were then given a 6x18 sheet of paper that I had folded into thirds. I also pre-cut tons and tons of half inch strips of construction paper. Each table was given a set of complementary colored strips and students were asked to fill up each 1/3 of their 6x18 paper with a different set of complementary colors. By the end of class, they had all three sets of complementary colors displayed across their 6x18. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU NEED TO DO AN AWESOME JOB OF GLUING OR YOUR SHAPES WILL LOSE ALL THEIR PAPER STIRPS WHEN YOU CUT THEM OUT NEXT CLASS.
On the second day of the project, we recapped on Sol LeWitt. Then we did the EXACT. SAME. THING. as we did last class. We glued 1/2 inch strips down onto another 6x18.
On the final day of the project, we talked about Sol’s use of geometric shapes. Students used geometric shaped tracers to trace a shape onto each section of one of the 6x18 papers. Students then cut out their shape and glued it down to their remaining 6x18 paper, making sure that they gave their shape a quarter turn so that the shape’s lines were perpendicular to its background. When finished, students tweeted (their version of an exit ticket) what the three sets of complementary colors. Lastly, I found some instructions for a instructional drawing online so students were asked to make their own drawing by following the instructions. At the end of class, we toured our “art museum” and checked out how different everyone’s work was based on the same instructions. This also gave us a chance to talk about how you act in an art museum. Tip #1: Walk SLOWLY. Tip #2: Walk with your hands behind your back. Tip #3: Mutter “That’s interesting” in front of an intriguing artwork.
Alexander Calder was an American artist who is most well-known for his large metal mobiles that hang from ceilings. We took a look at his paintings instead and I was pleased to hear that the first thing my artists noticed was his use of the primary colors!
We kicked off the project by drawing triangles on our paper. I emphasized that their triangles needed to start at the bottom of their paper and gradually work their way up. After drawing each triangle, students drew another line diagonally downwards from the triangle's peak which created a pyramid-like effect. Students quickly noticed that by working from the bottom up, it created the illusion of space from all of the overlapping. After they finished drawing, they traced everything with a black crayon.
On the second day of class, we cut out our triangles/mountains. Then we painted using the primary colors. With our paintings, we only ended up painting one side of each triangle. This created an effect like light was hitting one side of the triangle. Lastly, we glued our paintings down to a secondary colored background. It got a little messy because students were gluing down wet paintings but I didn't want to spend another class period just to cut them out and glue them to their backgrounds.
Harmony and Consolidated Elementary Art Teacher in Milton, WI. UW-Eau Claire graduate. WAEA President. Apple Teacher.