Thursday, August 25, 2011

the bucket day 3 - pop art shoe

Ah the contour line drawing of your shoe. Can't get more classic art class than that. And it is a classic for a good reason. Working on contour line drawing is a huge stepping stone for student's to be able to realistic draw people and objects. Contour line drawing expands student's grasp of line, shape, proportion and form. In my mind Picasso was the King of awesome contour line drawings!

Of course there is blind contour line drawing and pick up your pencil vs. one line contour line drawings. I think it is great to practice sighted, unsighted, pick up your pencil and "No picking up your pencil!" of whatever object you are drawing before you get to the final project.

When doing a sighted contour line drawing I tell the kids to imagine their eyes and pencil are directly connected. Your eyes should be tracing the object a snail creeping along its contours. As slowly as your eyes are tracing you hand should also be moving. Perspective and proportion get off when either the eye or the hand get ahead of one another.
heheh! from Inner City Snail....a awesome artist/ art movement

But what do we do with that completed contour line drawing before putting it on display? I usually make the kids ink over their pencil lines with micro sharpie and then create a background. For this 6th grade wheel lesson...where we are short on time and trying to hit as many skills as possible, we took a pop art approach to the background.

Students are asked to find two shapes, lines or patterns that occur in their shoes design (can be from any part of the shoe...even the tread...we don't have to see it in the line drawing). They need to take those designs, enlarge them and create a pop art style background with the knowledge that it will be painted.

The backgrounds get painted while learning how to crate tints and shades. While some years I have allowed tinting and shading of a single color, I find a black, white and shades of gray background tends to produced the best end result. I require at least three shades and say white may be used but no straight black. That is because I want everyone outlined in sharpie when the painting is done.

oh I give up with the photos and the rotating and such.

When the background is painted and dry, we carefully cut out our shoe and glue it on for the finished work of art. Ta da!

P.S. I provided a collection of shoes that students can choose to draw from so they don't have to take off their own shoe if it makes them uncomfortable. Stinky feet and such.

Monday, August 22, 2011

the bucket day 2 - fall oil pastel

A lesson for 3rd grade and up. A good back to school/fall lesson.

Today the bucket brings us another lesson from my student teaching...this one passed on to me from my supervising teacher. I go between liking it and feeling indifferent towards the lesson. And the thing that makes me swing back and forth is the type of oil pastel we use. As I've said before...I hate to call out one brand over another but I find the only oil pastel that really stands out on BLACK are the Crayola hexagon oil pastels. Sorry other brands.

Obviously you can see we have taken a, rather large, sheet of black construction paper and divided it into 8 spaces. Once again size matters. If I were to do this again we would aim for somewhat smaller paper and only six spaces. 6 is great...8 equals burn out. In each example the student burnt out before the end.

The original lesson, as seen above, and flipped because blogger hates me, was intended to be a study of complementary and secondary colors. Students looked at real leaves, drew one in each box and then used oil pastel to explore color. I started requiring white to be used in addition to the color in the background of each box. I also started requiring a neighboring (analogs) color to be used in coloring the leaf itself in each box.
These small changes made a big difference in the visual interest of the work.

Now if we go back to this sample...done with 7th graders, you can see I had branched out into other fall items such as mums and zinnias, gourds and a hard to ID wheat stalk. I feel the gourds and zinnias made a great addition to the leaves as they still have simple shapes but things like the wheat stalk and whatever blue flower was drawn in the upper left hand corner are getting to detailed and monochromatic.

Overall thoughts:
*Pick your oil pastels wisely and test on black paper first
*Go for a slightly smaller sheet of construction paper
*Divided into six instead of 8 boxes
*Draw your item big enough to almost fill the box
*Arrange items at an angle if possible
*Stick with bold, simple shaped fall items: leaves, gourds, sunflowers, zinnias
*Outline the edges of your item with either a dark color or white to make it pop
*Emphasize complementary color pairs and secondary color pairs to help the colors pop
*Encourage use of white in the background at the end
*Encourage use of either a analogous color or tints and shades of the main color inside the leaves

Saturday, August 20, 2011

the bucket of lessons

During the move to my new school I had to pull all my Tupperware buckets down from the tops of cabinets and was happy to find my "missing" bucket of middle school lesson samples from my first year teaching. Some of these lessons are winners and some are looser. No matter the result, I like seeing what I was expecting of my students that first year and reflect on what I will do differently with the lessons this time.

So in no particular order, and not promising to post one a day...a countdown of lessons from my first year of teaching to celebrate the arrival of year five teaching!

Lesson 1:
The star color star...ugg...color wheel. I think I made this template up during my student teaching to show 5th and 6th grade students how to mix their colors. I like how the primary and secondary colors are in their own triangle and I have found younger students have an easier time getting the right intermediate colors in the right location when the colors are painted inside the hexagon. As this is more of a color mixing lesson for me than anything, I tend to give the black line template to the students and not make them draw it.

changes to make to the lesson: I want the colors labeled by the students. This means I just need to leave more white space around the star and find a way to label the inner colors. I also notice this sample doesn't have the most accurate green...but they could be from fading or the flash on the camera.

Things I've learned about this lesson:
*With 5th or 6th graders I receive in a middle school program that never have taken art before this can be a great confidence boosting lesson or a mess. To make it a great lesson have the students practice mixing colors on a large group color wheel first and then do their individual color wheel.
*This tends to be a guided lesson till students get that "ahah" moment and are ready to do the intermediate colors on their own.
*Make sure to remind the kids that red and blue are "strong" colors and a little goes a long way.
*I have observed younger students who have not been exposed to much color mixing...or art for that matter...can have a very hard time seeing the difference between blue and blue-purple. They sometimes also struggle with seeing the diffrence between red and red orange and orange. I tell the kids this is OK! They are training their artist eye and I am happy to go look at the colors they have mixed and help them figure out where they belong.
*When everything is dry OUTLINE in Sharpie! It cleans up the look of any color wheel

When I then ask students to make their complex color wheel that includes tints and shades in 7th grade they are ready for the advanced mixing thanks to practice with the star!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2-D to 3-D lesson links

Seeing that it took me more than a week to put all this together here are the links to the three posts about 2-D to 3-D lessons in order and uninterrupted by my other blogging. I just added part 3 today although it looks like I posted it days ago. Make sure to check it out!

Part 1:



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

bird ring pillow

Two of my good friends are getting married this weekend and I was asked to make make them a ring pillow for the ceremony. They knew they wanted a bird and that was about it. After doing a little research I actually ended up using one of my onesie applique patterns.

I was able to get material from a bridesmaid dress that needed to be altered so I know the bird and pillow backing matches everything in the wedding perfectly. The materials for this are an interesting mix of expensive (REAL duponi silk) and eco-cheep (eco felt and batting from an old Ikea pillow). Because I was able to get the material for the bird and pillow backing for free the entire pillow cost less than $5 to make. How is that possible?
(the materials)
Lets break it down:
3 pieces of eco-felt .25 cents each
pillow batting (free from old pillow)
blue silk duponi (free from dress alteration)
1 roll ribbon .50 cents
1 square foot muslin about .50 cents
Real ivory silk duponi-a discontinued special order sample from back in the red tag area $1.50
1 sheet iron on fusible webbing .75 cents.

to make sure everything was nice and stable I bounded a piece of muslin to the Ivory duponi and a piece of eco-felt to the blue duponi that is being used for the bird

so then I used my pattern (cut from a cereal box) to cut out the bird, the branch and the leaves
and pinned it all to the ivory duponi (why does blogger do this to photos?)
and then I appliqued by hand. Yes by hand. I do all my quilting and sewing applique work by hand. I don't believe in using a machine to applique although I know how to. Yes I can make very nice little stitches very rapidly by now. Here is a look at the back side of my applique work.

not to badmouth my sewing machine because it is one of my most prized possessions and I don't let ANYONE use it. I have a less expensive teaching machine for friends who are learning to sew.
from this point on its pretty standard pillow making. I think it ended up being about 9"x9"... a little less when stuffed. I have to say the duponi and the extra layer of muslin makes a big difference for making something that turns out professional and sturdy.
as is I think this is a cute little pillow and I'm happy how it turned out. I like having a variety of textures in my work and the felt and duponi is a nice mix.
But it is a ring pillow so I sewed on a little ribbon at the bird's beak and used my wedding and engagement ring (2+ years later and I still need to get them joined!) for the photo.

I'm quite happy with the end result and hopefully they will remove the ribbon and keep the little pillow as a handmade reminder of their wedding for years to come.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2-D to 3-D part 3

Part 3 of ideas for 2-D to 3-D lessons

My new school still has a shop/industrial arts class (isn't that amazing!) so I'm hoping to scavenge some scrap wood to use as a base on the classic coat hanger, stocking, and house paint sculpture. These sculptures are sure fun to make and the overall shapes are almost always interesting. However, I find that painting them to be the least successful aspect. We have tried painting the sculptures with one pattern all over or with variegating color or while trying to chase the "planes" of a very mesomorphs shape. The end result is very hit or miss.

Now I have two new ideas to try. First off...and I don't know where I saw it, but someone had their student's paint their sculpture with aboriginal dot designs which was really cool.
Second, I remember one of my supervising teachers having talked about this idea but never saw a sample but I found a few examples on this site. What a cool idea...making the sculpture into a Picasso/cubist style face.

Picasso faces and stocking and wire hanger face sculptures from Waunakee Middle School (so many great ideas!)
Also I think it's a good idea to pause after you have just painted the sculpture white and trying to do some value/shade study drawings before you add color to the project.

On the 2-D side there are unlimited lessons for Picasso/cubist face lessons...from the simple to the very complex.
here are some great examples from Hannah at Art.Paper.Scissors.Glue! (great thoughts her way as she is taking on 7th graders for the first time this year:) )
We will see if this new batch of kids resists doing anything with their photo as much as my past students. If so we usually do a similar project but with animals instead.

Speaking of animals I love any project that allows students to choose their own animal to make art about. Animal, fish, reptile, bird...whatever. Now whenever you are talking animals it is a great time to talk texture. Of course we can use shading to create implied texture or we can tap our inner 2nd grader and make a ton of textured papers to make Eric Carle style animal collages.
Before you poo poo this as too juvenile for middle school or even high school students think twice. Real problem solving work goes into breaking a large image into smaller shapes.
I require at least five papers to be used in the collage and each animal needs to be broken down into at least 5 sections...fantasy colored animals are fine and you need to go back and work some oil pastel into the finished product.
not done yet....but a great start!
And onto the 3-D. Due to my kiln limitation I haven't done with in years but my good friend, who happens to be an excellent art teacher and guest teacher extraordinaire, tackled this lesson with some young men and women this summer. Look at their amazing results.
she suggest using acrylic paint instead of glaze and a modified wash method which I think is a great idea and allows students to control color, detail and eliminates some of the risk that goes with double firing and glaze firing a thin tile. (A- if you want me to link to your blog or put your name let me know...trying to protect your privacy unless you ask otherwise:) )

Warping things up with today's 2 to 3-D ideas lets take a look at a lesson often referred to as "Common threads." I've seen this lesson done by several teachers but I think I have tracked the original idea to Bunki Kramer of Los Cerros MS. I don't know if she still teachers, but there are amazing lessons on her school website.
some images of HER student's amazing work on the original lesson
I know it is a little fuzzy but do you see how the ribbon goes between and around each students hand/fingers and connects to the next student's drawing? The ribbon links all the students drawings and then she made a copy of each students drawing for everyone in the class and they assembled them into books with everyone's hands. Pretty cool!.
So I have done this lesson 3 times now. Sometimes in black and white and sometimes in color. I almost always let the kids do the hand shading with pencil so they can erase. Sophie Wagner Max back at Waunakee Middle School again has students use textiles from around the world to inspire their backgrounds.
(click to enlarge)
Size matters with these. If you use to large of paper the kids get board with making the background textures and poop out. I suggest sticking to copy or 11"x14" size paper.

I once got a bag of fancy scrapbook paper scraps and had students choose 3 and glue them into the background and then continue the design in colored pencil. I liked this method because it brought color into the work and reduced the amount of background drawing the kids needed to to.
I've been using a $10 pack of these papers for this lesson and book making for 5 years now. Good investment.

Of course you can also do contour line drawings of hands spelling a word in sign language...students like learning and drawing the finger spelling but I'm still working on how to get a nice background or boarder around the hands.
Why does blogger do this rotating thing sometimes!!!!!???

For the 3-D part we are gonna plaster cast our hands! But it's so expensive you say! About $2 to $3 per kid depending on where you get the plaster. Less if you plan ahead and work those Jo-anns and Michelle's coupons.
I've always used Activa Rigid Wrap along with lots of Vaseline and have had no problems. Word on the street is that you can get plaster cast strips from medical supply places and that might be cheaper. I need to look into it.
(NOTE) Casting one side of the hand and stopping at the wrist is enough and keeps the kids from getting stuck in the plaster. DO NOT stick a kid's hand into a bucket of plaster of Paris!
This is the only time that I ask students to kick in some $. Without fail, even at my 87% free and reduced lunch school, if I give students enough warning they can scrape together a few dollars. I find parents are willing to contribute for this lesson because it permanently captures their child's hand during the adolescent years when they are no longer getting hand print mother's day plaques.

I send a note home explaining the lesson, requiring a parent signature saying its ok to cast their kid's hand and asking for a $1 -$3 to help off-set the cost. No parent permission slip no casting. No exceptions. We cast over two days so if you forgot day one you can help someone else cast their hand and you have a chance to get the permission slip in for the second day.
Nice work! Done by HS level student over at A faithful attempt
How to decorate? That's the fun and the trick. Like the coat hanger/stocking sculptures these can go downhill during the painting process. When casting the hand remind the students repeatedly to smooth the plasters to they have a smooth surface to paint on later. Make sure students have a drawn out plan before they start to paint. I've started to require a simple symbol or image be incorporated into the design. It would be great to take one of the patterns from the common threads background and paint the hand that way. Animal prints work well sometimes...if done well. Some students have painted mendi like designs that take time and and a paint pen but look nice.
this may be a good time to break out the sharpies but make sure to let the plaster cure (dry) for a few days before you paint. Our other favorite use for this project is to "mummify" our hands at the end of our Egyptian unit and then paint a single Egyptian symbol, one hieroglyphic or an entire name in hieroglyphics.

There you go...on a A/B day schedule I think I've now posted enough lessons to go an entire semester if not more. Still looking for your favorite way to go from 2-D to 3-D. Up next....How to make large 3-D cardboard letters.