At the beginning of class, I held up images of Kandinsky's paintings. One of my students declared, "That's not art stuff!"
Exactly the kind of reaction Wassily Kandinsky received when he exhibited his work in the 1900's. Can you imagine?! At the time art was all about making things look real!
I went on to explain... Instead of a making a realistic picture, Kandinsky wanted to express emotions using lines and color. He was very inspired by music. He was one of the first artists to paint abstract pictures. He was also involved the development of Expressionism.
While listening to Mozart's Serenade No. 13 in G Major 'A Little Night Music', Allegro, my painting class of 1st and 3rd graders expressed themselves in much the same way. Using lines, shapes and color, they expressed what they heard and felt in the music.
By the end of class, that same young artist was enthusiastically giving titles to this different way of doing art - "Color Sound" & "Color Power".
I am captivated by the results!
"I applied streaks and blobs of color onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could...”
If you are interested in the steps in the lesson after introducing Kandinsky:
I also taught this lesson with the 3rd graders at my sons' school. This time, we listened to David Brubeck's Blue Rondo A La Turk. (There is a significant tempo change about 2 minutes in.) I don't have the photos or the permission to post those - I wish I did!
I am not an abstract painter, but in my contemporary floral paintings, I definitely use color and shape to express and evoke emotion.
The 'Just Because' bouquet. It's not expected. It's just to let you know you are loved.
My favorite kind.
This 3 ft. x 3 ft. bouquet is the 2nd triptych created for Central DuPage Hospital's Maternal Fetal Medicine suite.*
While I was thinking about and praying for the women sitting in the waiting room with a high risk pregnancy, likely feeling uncertain or anxious, I just wanted to give them a bouquet - just because.
*Due to some changes in plans, 'Just Because' may not end up in that section of the hospital.
Apparently, I couldn't stop with Miss Chicken and the toys... (See previous post.)
It snowed quite a bit while The Traveling Chicken was in town. For inspiration, my husband suggested that I take her out in the snow. I was resistant because I simply did not want to paint snow. (Hence the indoor play in the previous painting.)
Well, the day I sent her off to Florida, the snow was so beautiful that I felt I should at least try the chick in the snow.
It felt SO good to be outside on a quiet snowy morning. After taking quite a few pictures, I perched the chicken on a hydrangea bush (I believe it's a chantilly hydrangea for those who are curious) next to a few dried blooms that have hung on all winter... Gorgeous.
And, I got to paint Miss Chicken with some flowers. :)
Yes, it's a bit kooky to paint a ceramic chicken in the snow, but there is exquisite beauty in all seasons - chicken or no chicken, I'm grateful I didn't miss it!
You can read the story to go along with little Miss Chicken at The Traveling Chicken blog.
The chicken has arrived in sunny Florida at Pamela Sweet's studio.
The Traveling Chicken, affectionately known as Miss Chicken or TC, visited my studio for 2 weeks. She is a wee one, but loaded with possibility!
Deciding on just what to do with this ceramic chicken was a conundrum. She was smaller and frankly, less interesting than I had imagined her to be. Also, I thought Miss chick should be sitting amidst a flower or two - to 'go' with my current florals. Ultimately, I decided to just have fun with it.
Because of her size, I pictured her amidst the many 'set-ups' my two sons create with their star wars figures, superheroes, legos, etc. I basically let the boys play with her (on a cushy carpeted floor to avoid any mishaps), while I tried to capture an inspiring photo to paint from.
The boys had a great time including her in many different scenarios. Some tension arose and we had to take turns (myself included) because we all had our own ideas for the little ceramic chicken!
Because we were indoors and we were 'playing' right before bedtime (dark outside), it was hard to get good photos. My 9 year old found a small, but glaring, flashlight that we tried to use as a spotlight. Here are some of the better shots.
The next morning, I brought her downstairs - and saw our chess set on the coffee table. Perfect! Miss Chicken gets to be the queen, good lighting was coming in from a nearby window, there were interesting textures and possibilities for a captivating composition.
Yep - but that little 4x6 inch composition was not so simple (surprise, surprise). For a while, Miss Chicken got lost (literally) in the game. Making the onyx chess pieces 'make sense' was a challenge. I pushed and pulled values for hours.
BUT working with a different subject, blending and mixing and layering the oil paint, arranging (and rearranging) the composition - all were valuable and just plain fun.
Before she left for Pamela Sweet's studio in Florida, I took some photos of Miss Chicken with her new friends.
To read about Miss Chick in more of a story form, visit my post on The Traveling Chicken blog.
Several months ago, I painted a little square 6x6in. oil painting called 'Basking in the Sun'. Central DuPage Hospital commissioned me to paint a much larger version (24x36in.) in a rectangular format.
Changing the scale and the proportions of the canvas turned out to be much more of a challenge than I had anticipated! As I neared (or thought I was nearing) the painting's completion, the closing song from Lamb Chop's Play Along TV show started up in my head: "This is the song (painting) that doesn't end, yes, it goes on and on my friend..." (To hear the song, click on the orange words. Beware - the song really sticks with you!)
I continued to adjust the composition, develop the values and layer the colors until it felt like the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
A lesson in perseverance - here she is!