I don't remember how I came upon Leslie DeRose's Etsy site, but her cropped bicycle paintings reminded me of a portfolio requirement when I applied to RISD undergrad. I think we had to draw a bicycle in any composition of our choice with pencil and it had to meet certain dimensions. It was a huge drawing and I definitely struggled drawing those spokes, but anyway! I digress. This year, I have a unique privilege to tutor one middle school student and she said she wanted to expand her knowledge of color. We looked at Leslie's paintings as a jumping off point to explore with tints and shades. She first printed out a photo of a whole bicycle, used a viewfinder to find an interesting composition, and sketched it on her final paper. As you can see when she was ready to paint, she made a value chart for the blue negative space. For the positive space, which is the bicycle, she painted it in the complementary color for blue- orange.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Leon, pas sur les murs, a darling blog that you should definitely check out! It was super fun and easy. Students first drew a mushroom and colored it in with crayons. The only rule was not to use brown since the background would be brown. While I demonstrated painting over the crayon resist, we discussed why the watercolor wasn't covering the mushroom. This is where science kicks in! I simply explained that water and wax don't mix and crayon is colored wax. "What's in watercolor?", I asked. "Water!" So with brown liquid watercolor, they painted a border and then gently painted over their mushroom and the background. The students loved seeing the mushroom appear and practically glow off the page!
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
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!
Friday, October 11, 2013
Cat and Bird, 1928
Kindergarten students learned about Paul Klee's Cat and Bird painting and broke it down into basic shapes and intersecting lines. They first drew their cat in brown oil pastel and then colored it entirely in orange pastel to get a solid base color. The next step was to layer certain areas, like the ears, under the eyes, and mouth with white. Students used whatever colors they wanted for the eyes and background. Even though this was mostly a guided lesson in that I demonstrated each step as students followed along, I love that each cat is unique and has so much personality.
The Persistence of Memory, 1931
Mary Blair designed the concept art for It's a Small World ride at Disneyland, including many classic Disney animations and children books. We had a lot of fun drawing this one!
Where art meets science! This was a project from summer camp during Science Week. Students learned about the heart, vessels, and arteries, that I tried to explain by describing our veins and arteries as subway trains.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
This was a rigorous lesson on color mixing using colored pencils. Unlike mixing paint, colored pencils are mixed by adding multiple, even, layers. The preliminary step was to fill out a tertiary color wheel making sure to color inside the lines, mix colors evenly throughout a section, and layer their colors so they can produce a wide range of colors, not to mention bright saturated colors. Are you tired of the word "color" yet? ;)
Students chose a reference photo and sketched it out on drawing paper. I did multiple demonstrations on how to blend colors, layer colors, and emphasized how important it was that they really look closely at all the subtle color gradations. I tell students they can color in multiple directions (sometimes you have to!) as long as they blend them together in the end. The drawings came out beautifully!
Even something as complex as a Gothic cathedral can be learned by young children! We looked at David Macaulay's Cathedral drawing as well as a photograph of Notre Dame and simplified it into lines, arches, and patterns. I had them guess how many steps you had to climb to get to the top (387!) since Gothic architecture is characterized by its height and narrow structure. Students also learned basic architectural terms such as spire, rose window, and pointed arches.