Wednesday, October 16, 2013

First grade: Sky above Clouds III


Sky above Clouds III, 1963

I saw a great lesson at Painted Paper on this beautiful cloudscape painting by Georgia O'Keeffe and thought it would be a good example on perspective, tinting, and shading color. I first showed students other examples of her artwork, including her famous flowers, and then had students guess what this painting was capturing. I heard very interesting interpretations (icebergs on water, lily pads, rocks, etc) until a student finally guessed they were clouds. Then I had them think about how it was even possible for Georgia to see a cloudscape from that high and it didn't take long before they guessed a plane.  It's always fun pulling students into the artwork, to relate to them, and to the artist. They also remember the paintings much better this way as opposed to just telling them facts and dates, although that is very important also! 

For the execution part, students first sketched a horizon line at the top and painted the background starting from shades of blue by mixing with black. As they painted towards the top, they mixed tints of blue by adding white. The key was to blend the colors so they didn't just look like stripes. Once the background dried, we talked about how objects that are closest to you are big and objects that are farther back are small.  Students sketched their clouds with white chalk pastel (so if they need to change something, they can just rub it off or use an eraser) and gradually made their clouds smaller. This was challenging as they also had to retain the same shape for the clouds so the whole image would look organized. Overall, I thought they did a successful job! 

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