Monday, January 31, 2011

Figure Drawing with a Winter Twist

Today I'd like to share a lesson that's gone quite well here in my art classroom:

The winter figure drawing unit is going very well this year with the fourth grade classes.  We have one large wooden manikin that we may refer to when working on poses and there are 5 or 6 smaller manikins that may be taken to each student table if a reference is needed.  I also made copies of a human positioning template that helped students visualize the proportions of a body. 

I had the students use manila paper and draw a rough sketch of a body posed in a winter activity.  They cut this out and used it to get the body traced onto the final gray paper.  This helped to avoid so much erasing.  They were to not worry about clothing at this point. 

Next they used white tempera or acrylic to block in snowy ground and sky and create an environment for the athletes or active winter figures.  We had many skiers, snowboarders, ice skaters, hockey players, and a few runners. 

It was fun to see the figures develop further.  I offered the students Crayola construction paper crayons and regular oil pastels too.  The pressed firmly and blended the colors to created clothing for the active winter figures. 

We have only been at this lesson 2 -3 days and most 4th graders are getting to the finished stage this week already.  I think we will have some ready for the open house on Friday.  I'll be glad to mix them in with our other winter art already hanging throughout the school. 

Shown below are 2 finished examples from today.  If you'd like to click over to our Artsonia page, I have more stored there from another school year.  I guess I didn't do this lesson last year, because these finished pieces are from 2 years ago.

I will show these off tomorrow to provide encouragement to the next two groups of fourth graders.  They may set a goal to be done at the end of class also.

By E. H. gr 4

by P. G. gr 4

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Teacher's Role in Making Murals

grade 5 students sizing up the buildings for the village scene

I am receiving some comments about our winter murals that have questions.   Therefore, I have decided to make another post about my role in making this project a success.  I happened to have several photos taken on days we worked on the mural and this gives me a chance to share those as well as details of how much I was involved with this project.

After the panels were assembled, we designated a winter color for the landscape feature of the hills, mountains, icebergs, and slopes.  I had kids chalk in the outline for the distant horizon line and then 3 or 4 students per mural shared the job to paint.  Mountains were a lavender color, the hills in the distant village were a tint of blue, the ski slope was made with royal blue, purple and white, and finally the iceberg were made with a tint of turquoise. 
grade 5 students making animals for scene

Presenting the Idea -  they knew that it was a project to keep here at school and had a specific purpose at the Winter Concert

Artistic Influence  -  background based on landscapes and portrait background of Vincent Van Gogh

Building the Background  -  oil crayon swirls layered with tempera

Collage Elements  -  Lots of snow flakes, plenty of pine trees, village buildings, snowmen, penguins, owls, other winter animals

Boxes and Clipboards  one for each mural

Neatness with Glue  -  close to edge not all over the entire back of the piece

Impromptu Decisions  -  made  an extra panel to accommodate all the owls;  simplified the background by using colored paper and only white paint for the swirls.  Tree, snowflakes, and owls were all collage elements. 

adding tufts of cotton along edge of street to represent snow banks

applying glue to edge of framing strip

The final framing around the edge was made from 4 x 18 inch strips of colored construction paper.

I gathered a group of interested student volunteers to have a demonstration on folding the strips, how much glue to use and where to put it, and showed that  overlapping  was necessary for connecting the framing strips.  They picked it up right away.
I did a lot of the framing at the same time to keep the momentum going.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Five Finished Winter Murals

 I couldn't be happier with the murals that came out of the art room in the last 2 weeks!  They were made with all students in my 3rd- 6th grade classes.

They hung in the gym very easily from bulletin board strips and   were focal point at the winter concert on Monday January 17th.  We received many compliments on the work.

Winter Village

Winter Sports

Winter Wildlife

Winter Fantasy
Winter In the Polar Region
I am just delighted with how the murals look, now that they are finished.  It was a great collaboration and worthy of repeating in a different season or with another topic! 

The frames happen to be 4 inch by 18 inch strips that are folded down the center.  They were overlapped with the edge of the mural to make it sturdy and prevent torn edges.   It worked beautifully and it is also where all my students put signatures. 

Clipboards and organizing boxes are definitely recommended for organizing mural parts as they are made.  We found it was best to wait for the individual parts to come in and glue them when we could compare them by size. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Mural Project: An Update on our Progress

Pine Trees Made by grade 4 and 5
Snowflakes Cut by Gr 6 and 3

Winter Mural in 4 Panels at the end of the 4th day
The pine trees have been designed and painted.  Now the snowflakes were cut today and we have started to glue them to the windy sky.  Tomorrow we must determine the horizon lines for the landscape and define the snow hills and the icebergs.  I think we will paint those in with an icy blue. 

Soon we will cut the village houses and then we will build the snowman figures.  We need to research winter animal tracks and get some more ideas for making the winter sports figures.  There is still a lot to do, but we are moving forward eagerly.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Start of Our Winter Mural

 Thanks to the inspiring posts on Art With Mr. E's blog and TaraMarie's We Heart Art, I was able to get some murals started at my school too.  Mr. E's fall mural videos were very helpful.  Thank you so much for making those.  I liked the idea that Tara had her students construct the mural in separate sections.  That is making it easier to split up the jobs in my classroom, as we work on the collage components.

Panels A and B

We are off to a running start on our winter mural project.  It has just been two days since Christmas vacation ended and most of our background work is done on the 4 panels.  Considering that we just started Monday, I think that is excellent progress.

Panels C and D

 Grade three students got started with the swirly, whirly sky using only oil crayons.  Later in the day the sixth grade students were able to mix similar winter colors by tinting blue, purple and turquoise with lots of white.  They applied the paint with 1inch and 2 inch foam and bristle brushes. 
Close up of Panel A
Under my guidance, the sixth graders were able to attach 2 or three panels in a row and overpaint the transitions.  This helped each separate page blend well into the next.
Pieces to join to panels B, C, and D

Vincent Van Gogh and his double motivate us from the bulletin board.
Inspiration for the Sky of our Winter Mural
Today, many of the fifth graders were able to help create 9 more panels to make each of the sections a little longer.  Several volunteers from that fifth grade class were interested to submit some pencil sketches that will guide our collage parts.  We are thinking to do one panel for each theme:  Winter Sports, Nature, Arctic Animals, and Scenic Winter.

Tomorrow we will start of some pine trees for landscaping.  I'll have more information later this week and perhaps next week too.