Check out these Ted Harrison inspired landscapes! You can read the details to the project here.
3rd grade recently wrapped up learning about Richard Serra. I wrote about this project last year so you can find all the details here. Check out some of the awesome work they did below!
I typically try to reach out to the artists that we learn about in class (if they are still living). Once in a while, we get a tweet or an email back from them. 3rd grade recently learned about Julie Mehretu and even received a few tweets of praise back from her!
We looked at Jeff Koons' work. Koons is an American Post-Pop artist. He is most well-known for his large reflective sculpture balloon dogs. Most of his sculptures use a reflective surface. He likes how the reflective surface changes the way you perceive the area around you by warping and distorting the room on its shiny shell. He depicts objects that are popular in pop culture such as balloon animals, Popeye, and pool inflatables. His sculptures are highly rendered, down to the subtle creases along the seems of his metal pool inflatables. I find his balloon dogs particularly interesting because they toy with the idea of life and death. When something is full of air/breath like a human or a balloon, the item is thought to have life. But when those things run out of air, they become deflated or lifeless. By creating balloon dogs out of metal, they lose their ability to deflate making them immortal. He is a highly controversial artist who uses around 130 "assistants" to produce his ideas. The kids were amazed that he is the second richest living artist and is worth $500 million.
We did an observational drawing of a balloon dog inspired by Koons. To do this, we had to learn to break the dog's shape down into different sized ovals. After drawing it, we then traced over our lines with glue then left them to dry on the drying rack.
For the second day of the project, we talked about form. Typically, we talk about form as being something that is 3D but it can ALSO be something that has the illusion of being 3D. To do this, we would need to add shadows and highlights to our dogs. We chose a color and LIGHTLY chalked the various sections of our dog. The glue lines help to contain the chalk and the chalk also wipes off of the glue lines easily at the end of the project. They gently blended the chalk and then re-chalked it, making sure not to chalk quite to the bottom this time. Then smoothed and chalked again, going even less far down on the dog. By going over parts of the dog over and over, it creates a bright spot on the dog called a highlight. This gives the illusion that the sun/light is hitting that part of the dog. Lastly, we added a touch of black opposite of the highlight to give the dog some shadows. By adding highlights and shadows, our dogs now looked like they were 3D or had form.
3rd grade is currently wrapping up learning about one of my favorite artists, Julie Mehretu! Each year, I give the table groups in my room a different theme and this year's theme is contemporary female artists. Julie Mehretu is one of my table groups and students have been hoping to learn about her! This project was also inspired by another art teacher who made abstractions of maps on iPads that were inspired by Mehretu.
Mehretu is originally from Ethiopia but has since moved to the Michigan where she has spent most of her life. She is very inspired by architecture and chooses bits and pieces from different buildings and perspectives to paint. She also uses a lot of maps, charts, blueprints, etc in her work. She puts layer upon layer upon layer of different lines, shapes, and colors to build up her eye-catching paintings.
Students were given the opportunity to choose from quite a few different maps that I had screen-shotted from Google Maps. After choosing a map, they slid their map into a see-through paper protector. Students then used sharpies to color in certain parts of the map. They could color entire buildings, parts of buildings, roads, etc.
The second class, they chose a new map and slid it into their paper protectors. This time, they put it in backwards so they were working on the side of the paper protector that they didn't work on last time. They continued to color in parts of the map.
The final day, students chose a final map and colored in parts of the map on a transparency sheet. While they worked, I used double-sided tape to tape their paper protector to a white sheet of paper. I did this so that their lines and shapes of color would show up better on the finished product. At the end of class, students slid their transparency into their paper protectors and this created a work of art that used 3 different layered maps.
I'm super pumped with how awesome these turned out! This has become one of my favorite projects!
3rd grade started off the year learning about RETNA and El Mac. Both are street artists from Los Angeles. RETNA .
RETNA is an artist who has created his own language using symbols. His symbols are influenced by different languages from around the world. He mixes all of these different languages together to create a new language that nobody can read, but everybody can relate to because of a recognition of some of the symbols.
El Mac is an artist who creates portraits of people who he sees in everyday. His portraits are typically painted monochromatically. This means that he uses only one color to depict the portraits. He also uses short spray paint strokes which creates a line effect.
At times, RETNA and El Mac will collaborate to create a mural together. RETNA typically makes the background with El Mac incorporating a portrait on top.
Students started off with a worksheet that had them create their own symbols. They had to create a symbol that represented their name, seven symbols that represented their favorite things to do in their free time, and 10 symbols that represented their favorite qualities about their selves. I emphasized that their symbols should be simple because they would have to repeat them over and over and over. It was their choice if they wanted their symbols to be more representational or more abstract.
Next, students cut out 3 different sized circles and created what looked like a target. Then they added these symbols to the target. In the smallest circle in the center, they repeated their name symbol over and over. In the medium sized circle, they repeated the seven things that they like to do in their free time. And in the larger circle, they repeated the 10 symbols that represent their favorite qualities about themselves. If they wanted to go above and beyond my expectations, they could also add these symbols to the grey background.
The next part of the project we learned about self-portraits. I had them do a drawing without my help of the best self-portrait they could draw. After they were finished, I gave them a crash course in facial proportions and where things belong on our face and how big they should be. Students were amazed at how much better they got in one class. After drawing their self-portrait, they used a Sharpie to trace their lines and then he erased any leftover pencil lines. Then they chose one color to make marks all over their self-portrait. This was meant to be representative of El Mac’s line work on his portraits. Students had the liberty to choose squiggly lines, geometric lines or cross hatching. Lastly, students used crayons and colored pencils of the same color that they had previously used to color in their self-portrait. This created a monochromatic look.
Students were a little bummed that their self-portrait covered up so many of their symbols. We talked about how WE knew how much hard work had gone into those backgrounds and symbols and that it didn't matter if it was covered.
This past March 3rd grade finished up their Art Madness Tournament. This year's theme was street artists. Over two days, students vote and discuss who they think the best artist is in the tournament. The first day is spent doing one half of the bracket, the second day is spent doing the other half. After each round, students are expected to discuss why they think one artist is better than another. Two classes had Banksy beating Jim Bachor in the finals, another class had Os Gemeos winning it all, and the final class had DALeast winning.
This is one of my favorite things to do all year because it’s so interesting to hear students defend the artists they like.
Eduardo Kobra is a street artist from Brazil who makes large murals of important historical figures. He breaks the figures into geometric shapes and overlays bright colors on top of a black base-layer. He recently painted the world's largest mural for the past Olympic Games that were in Rio de Janeiro.
We have been plugging away on self-portrait projects for our upcoming art show at the end of the school year. After learning a bit about Eduardo during our Art Madness tournament, I thought he would be a great artist to inspire our latest project!
We started off by making the background. Each student put a dot somewhere on their paper and then drew lines from the edges of their paper to the dot. Students traced their lines with crayons and then used tempera cakes to paint in each section they had created. While students worked, I pulled some of them aside and took headshots of them for the next part of the project.
The next day, I precut some strips of tagboard that were half an inch wide. Students used these strips to draw straight vertical lines on top of their black and white photo that I had printed out. After drawing their vertical lines, they drew horizontals and diagonals. This broke their photo up into a bunch of small shapes that they would then paint next class.
The final two days were spent filling in their self-portraits with watercolors. Before they could paint, I had them tape their paintings to the table to prevent them from wrinkling. They were expected to fill in each little section with a different color. Because of watercolors translucency, the black from the photo showed through the paint while also adding some color. Some of the students really rocked it when it came to painting, others added just a bit too much paint and were left with more opaque colors in which you couldn't see the details of their photos.
I was super psyched with this project and can't wait to see it up for our art show at the end of the year!
For this project, we focused on Do Ho Suh. Do Ho is a South Korean artist who recreates the places that he has lived out of a semi-transparent mesh/silk. He includes every little detail, right down to the numbers/buttons on the microwave and the switches in the breaker box. His homes that he builds are 1:1 scale so everything is actual size. He plays with this idea of being able to take the memory his home with him wherever he goes. So he creates it out of a light fabric and then could literally pack it up into a briefcase and take it with him.
Coincidentally, Do Ho had a piece go up in Madison at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art right when we were beginning to learn about him. I even attended an artist talk that he gave. It was AMAZING to hear him talk about his work in person.
This was a really long project for the 3rd graders but they hung tough and rocked it.
The first day, they were given a worksheet and they had to draw a house in the space provided. They were expected to use rulers so that their lines were nice and straight. The worksheet guaranteed that all their houses would be the same size and would fit onto their pieces of burlap. If they finished drawing their house, then they could cut it out.
The 2nd day was spent getting everyone’s house drawings finished and cutout. When they were that far, they chose a piece of burlap that I had pre-cut and carefully taped off all four edges so that it wouldn’t unravel as they worked. Lastly, they gently traced their house onto their burlap using chalk and could then fill in the houses details from there.
The next 3 or 4 days were spent stitching. At first, I taught students how to tie knots at the end of their yarn so that it wouldn’t slide through the burlap, but I was about ready to tear my hair out after doing that for a couple classes. To fix this, we ended up just taping the loose ends of the yarn on the back of the burlap, that way students didn’t have to futz with tying knots. I was also aided in my instruction by the fabulous Cassie Stephens because we all know how much I struggle with using fibers!
Overall, this was a super awesome project. These turned out great and the kids loved learning about Do Ho Suh! I only wish that these photos did my students' work justice!
3rd grade took a few days to check out some photographs by Levon Biss. Levon is a commercial photographer who typical takes pictures of athletes for advertisements. He started a side-project and began taking pictures of bugs in his free-time. I love the bugs because of the incredible amounts of detail and his excellent lighting of the subjects. Levon takes around 8,000-10,000 pictures of a single bug, focusing in on tiny sections of the bug while changing the lighting over and over to get rid of shadows. He then takes all these photos of bug parts and jigsaws them together using computer software. Lastly, he prints these out on HUGE posters! 3rd grade loved looking at these itty bitty creatures and their symmetrical bodies!
The main focus was to build on our understanding of symmetry after recently completing our project on Maya Hayuk. The first day was spent making the 3 main body parts. We did this by folding our papers in half and cutting out a shape. This ensured that each body part was symmetrical.
The next two days were spent adding smaller details to the bugs such as legs, wings, antennas, stingers, pinchers, and other small designs. Students had to keep in mind that these additional details also needed to be symmetrical.
I'm so excited by how these turned out and I could hear other classes pointing which ones were their favorites in the hallway!
Harmony and Consolidated Elementary Art Teacher in Milton, WI. UW-Eau Claire graduate. WAEA President-Elect. Apple Teacher.