On Wednesday afternoons, I have had the privilege to create with these fantastic jr. high kids. (Seriously, they are the nicest kids!)
Here are some of their amazing accomplishments:
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.
In drawing class, we reversed the shading process and drew with white colored pencil on black paper. We continued to look for light, medium and dark values while creating texture with our strokes. Just look at all those wonderful marks!
Click here for the current class schedule.
When I was growing up, I spent hours on the tire swing in our backyard - swingin', thinkin' and watchin' the world around me.
Using a variety of pictures for reference, my young students drew a tree, a horizon line (where the sky meets the ground), a tire swing and clouds. How they arranged their composition was up to them.
Then, we went in with our No. 2 pencil! Depending on which part of the drawing we were working on, we used our pencil in different ways to create light, medium and dark values (shading) and a variety of textures (how something would feel if we could touch it).
It was actually snowing and blowing outside while we worked on these drawings. So - using masonite boards to support our paper, we gathered around the fireplace to create! :)
My Thursday afternoon class for grades 1-5 studied the expression, shapes, values and lines in these two self-portraits by Rembrandt. Their pen & ink renditions make me smile!
I'm working on more paintings for Central DuPage Hospital and Cadence Health. Coming soon...
What started out as an exercise in mixing colors and pushing the brush around turned into a fun morning of painting!
During my morning adult class, R. and I painted 3 'quick' acrylic paintings from a bouquet of sunflowers. Our eyes were not focused on the end result, but on the process of painting. So freeing! (This painting is actually a combination of paintings 2 & 3 - The first painting was still pretty tight.)
The kids and I talked about leaves falling, drifting, twirling and blowing with a gust of wind. They each choose a description and put their leaves in motion!
On black construction paper, step-by-step:
After choosing and drawing a single leaf, each student created their own stencil by cutting the leaf out and tracing it to create an interesting composition. They were encouraged to overlap, turn the leaves in different directions, and let a leaf or two go off the page. Keeping the tip of the glue bottle on the paper, the compositions were outlined with glue (Crayola washable school glue dries nice and clear - leaving a black outline.). The glue was allowed to dry (overnight at least) before we went in with oil pastels, mixing and blending 'neighbors' on the color wheel. Our final step included looking for ways to include light and dark values.
The kids and I have been exploring the wonderful world of color!
In our Fall I session of 'Color Explosion', we started out by drawing buildings as if they were stacked on a hillside - inspired by images of super colorful cities around the world. We talked about overlapping and shapes becoming smaller as they get further away. Each student added their own unique details to the architecture.
We then dove into color using liquid watercolors (SO vibrant!). We tried to limit our color palette and we used repetition by repeating the same color in different places around the painting. Viola!
Llama from Cosley Zoo
"I can't even draw a stick figure!"
To this, I want to say, "Oh, let me show you how!"
Years ago, in a discussion about drawing, an incredible draftsman said to me, "If you can write your name, you can draw." I believe it. Do you?
Like a drawing, your name is constructed out of lines and shapes. Yes, it took you a bit of practice to get the hang of it. I bet it took some people longer than others - but eventually...voila!
Don't get me wrong, there are some super talented artists who seem to have been 'born with it'.
I wasn't one of them. I was not pegged as 'the artist of the class'. I know what it means to break it down step-by-step. I am still amazed when shapes pop off the page and form something 'real'!
If you have the desire, you can draw a stick figure - and a whole lot more!! Let somebody show you. Take a class, buy a 'how to draw' book (start with the kids' version), sit and look at an object - one line, one shape at a time. Don't give up - and take it easy on yourself.
(I still have to tell myself that.)
I'm not a fan of them in my house, but I love them on paper!
In our final week of summer classes, we zoomed in on the insect world (and one spider).
Looking at the lines and shapes of the head, thorax and abdomen, we constructed our 'bugs'. Referring to the color wheel, we mixed analogous colors (neighbors on the color wheel) and used complementary colors (opposites on the color wheel) to give our paintings a pop of contrast. All the while, we kept our watercolors juicy - but in control.