Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gordon Hopkins Inspirations

This example was intended to be my second Gordon Hopkins inspiration. I had the children create six different patterns on three different colored construction papers (which I folded in half). We talked about Hopkins' use of repetitive plant designs, fish and geometric shapes in his art. These designs were cut up into squares and the children glued them to a board to create a new and interesting composition. I ended up using them for our camel magic carpet backgrounds. I hope to try this again with a group of older elementary students with the designs as the total subject.

Pinterest has been a wonderful source for me to discover new artists. (New to me that is.) Last week I stumbled upon the wonderful work of American artist, Gordon Hopkins. (Who now lives and works in Belgium.) I was instantly taken by his bold designs in oil stick on large linen canvas. You can't admire his work without a mere mention of Matisse.

To create our inspired pieces, I had the children use 3 acrylic colors to divide their board any way they wished. We put them up to dry for about 20 minutes while we worked on another project. We looked at this piece and this by Hopkins and talked about the play of color, organic shapes and pattern in his work. They used oil pastel on top of the acrylic base to add those elements in their own pieces. I encouraged them to add white and black somewhere in their artwork to really make it "pop." These pieces were created by children ages 6-9.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ton Schulten Inspired Landscapes

(my experiment)

The first time I saw the work of Dutch artist, Ton Schulten, I fell instantly in love with his bright, rich color palettes and the way his landscapes look like building blocks of color intersected vertically and horizontally.

This was a a simple and quick lesson for my students to do in our last 25 minutes of class, inspired by Schulten's work. We used long black sheets of construction paper. White would be great, and would give this project a softer feel. I had the children choose between black or white oil pastel to create a simple landscape with trees and hills. I had them divide their work a few times horizontally and at least once vertically. They could switch colors (using chalk or oil pastels) when their shapes were divided or could keep the same color. Several children asked to add an outline of glue to their finished work to create even more of a bold line. I like their playful compositions and bold use of color. (ages 6-9)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tints and Shades, Contour Animals and Bigfoot!?

Rory, 2nd grade

My experiment for the lesson

Savannah, 4th grade

Breanna, 2nd grade

Paige, 2nd grade

Abby, 2nd grade

Matthew, 2nd grade

Alexa, 1st grade

Ryan, 4th grade

Zach, 4th grade
love his lone angry pig

Ella, 2nd grade

This quirky art project began as a simple contour animal drawing lesson. I found this adorable pig and rabbit via Pinterest. I liked the line qualities and thought each child could create their own story to go with their contour animals a la Beatrix Potter. Last week a few of my 4th grade girls pleaded with me to do a Bigfoot art lesson. Bigfoot!? I didn't see that coming. Well, I thought a tint and shade backdrop for their creatures would be a great basic lesson for my group to learn. And as an added bonus, those who wanted, could add in a silhouette of Bigfoot. From there, they could make up their own stories to go with their art if they chose. They really had a ball with these. And I was so amused at all their commentary while creating their pieces.

We started with our animals first doing a direct line drawing lesson. After they went over their drawings with Sharpie, they used chalk pastels or colored pencils to add color. These would be cut out and glued to their background. They could choose blue or purple to create their tint and shade moonlit landscape. We started with a large half circle of white and added more and more color for our tints and then switched to black to create our shades. This of course is a great lesson all on its' own. Details including trees and of course the lurking silhouette of bigfoot were added last.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beetle-Mania and "Work of Art" Project

My example

This was a fun and quick multi-media art project I originally saw on The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas. Recently I saw a couple inspired pieces on Pinterest. The first week the children created simple oval shapes and backgrounds using chalk pastel. They used a small brush and watered down black tempera (in lieu of ink) to create their beetle details. A watercolor border is added and then some splatters using more watercolor. The following week they added more details in oil pastel and chalk pastel and finally the option of words in Sharpie. These pieces were created by children ages 6-9.

Meri Cherry the fabulously creative Kindergarten teacher has created a fun opportunity for anyone to create a work of art inspired by a newspaper headline taken from last week's challenge on Bravo's "Work of Art". See the details on her blog Here. This isn't a competition and no one is being sent home. Ha! Just a fun creative outlet. I know everyone has a lot going on, this doesn't have to be a labor and time intensive project. I think I'll have my nine year old daughter join in on the fun. (I think this sounds like a great alternative to battling the crowds on Black Friday). If you're interested just drop her a comment. (And she's added a fantastic incentive!) Deadline is in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jesse Reno Meets Jennifer Mercede

My example

My November art class students are creating pieces inspired by two Portland, Oregon artists, Jesse Reno and Jennifer Mercede. Both artists have been described as primitive, outsider, free spirited, and spontaneous. I find myself increasingly drawn to this type of art.

To create our pieces, we first decided if we wanted a warm or cool palette for our background. We used cotton balls or fingers (a signature Reno technique) to create an expressive base using acrylics. While these dried the children chose between a hummingbird or giraffe to create on long black construction paper using black oil pastel and then chalk pastels. (Jennifer Mercede's giraffe and hummingbird are just two whimsical creatures that have been heavily pinned on Pinterest.) More details can be added with oil pastels. The creatures are cut out and glued on the painted backgrounds. Next week the children can decide to blend in some chalk pastel colors to their background, (which I did with my example) add doodles or words with thin Sharpies, (this is common in the works of both Reno and Mercede) or leave as is. More pieces to post from my 1st through 4th grade students.