Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mixed Media Abstract Collage

 This (whip smart) 4th grade student was cutting up his textured paper with reckless abandon and gluing it to his board in a haphazard manner. I said, "Let's make sure we use some intention when we cut and glue our shapes." Without a moment's hesitation he said "I'm doing my collage like Jackson Pollock, my intention was no intention" It completely caught me off guard and I started to tell him that I believed every splatter that Pollock made had some sense of intention behind it. And then I realized, I'm debating abstract expressionism with a 10 year old who is clearly enjoying this process, let alone making a connection to Pollock who we had not even discussed. It made me pause and smile and I told him to carry on! 
Well done Matthew!

This was a very open ended project I did with my Abstract Art class. I was really trying to focus on process over product and let the children enjoy different methods of creating patterned and textured paper and finally incorporate them in a collage. I first played Pharrell's song "Happy." I said this would be the inspiration for our piece.We then made 4 different textured papers: Acrylic scraped with cardboard, wet on wet watercolor, rubbing alcohol and Adirondack ink, and Suminagashi (Japanese paper marbling). Fun and messy! Day 2, I showed them various collage art including, work by Rex Ray, artist and children's art teacher Mollie Moseley Morrison, and even the Gee's Bend Quilts. They had the option of painting their base or covering it completely with their collage work. Then I let them loose. I loved seeing the different ideas and compositions my 1st through 5th graders came up with. It was a nice departure from straightforward, subject based projects.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Abstracted Names






Thank you to Janis from Dream Draw Create for this lesson idea. Her abstract name lesson was the perfect way to kick off my Abstract and Representational Art Class with my 1st through 5th graders. I was excited for this class since some children get very hung up on their art looking "right" or "okay". We discussed abstract art in its' simplest terms being a piece of art that doesn't portray a person, place or thing, but uses color, line, shapes or brushstrokes. We looked at what is considered to be the first abstract painting by Kandinsky from 1910. One of my student's reactions was priceless, "well that just looks like a bunch of colors and scribbles!" A perfect lead in to my commentary about it being possibly the most subjective form of art. ( Along these lines, if you want to have some fun, take this quiz Can You Tell The Difference Between Modern Art or Art By a Toddler? A landscape painter that I follow on Facebook posted it and asked everyone to try it and give feedback. I only missed 1, fairing better than everyone. But I know this is only because I teach children's art).

As you probably surmised, acrylic name paintings were cut up into 16 equal pieces and reassembled. I encouraged my students to think about the play and balance of color and form, rather than just putting them down arbitrarily. Yes, these are young children. But they could see that some compositions were more pleasing to the eye than others. I have another group of mostly Kinders next week and plan to do this with them. Looking forward to seeing their take on it.