Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1st Grade Painted Portraits of Us + Our Family

First graders have been working on a painting unit (see previous exploration post) and just finished creating portraits of themselves with their family! We began this project by reading the book "The Family Book" by Todd Parr. We then discussed the members of our family and the ways in which each family is different and special.

We then discussed portraiture and looked at self-portraits by three different artists.

"Self-Portrait", Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
image found at www.vangoghgallery.com
"Self-Portrait with Bonito", Frida Kahlo, 1941
image found at wikipaintings.org

"Self-Portrait", Jacob Lawrence, 1977
Image found at worldclasskids.tripod.com

We learned that a portrait generally depicts a person's head, facial expression and neck (and sometimes upper-half of the body) in detail. Students spent a class painting line portraits of themselves (from observation using a mirror) and their family members (from imagination) in wash (paint mixed with water).

The following week, students read the book "The Colors of Us" by Tana Hoban and we discussed how each of our skin colors is different. Students spent the class mixing the primary colors with black and white (on palettes) to make the skin colors for themselves and their families. Students then added these colors to their paintings from the previous week.

Over the next few weeks, students worked hard to mix many different colors and use a variety of brushstrokes when applying paint to their portraits.
1-108 working

Students completed paintings by adding a background (either their home, a place that is important to them and their family, or a solid color) and details (glasses, eyelashes, jewelry, etc.) to their portraits.

Please enjoy 1st Grade's Family Portrait Paintings!
Alasia, 1-108
Kiara, 1-106

Mavric, 1-108

Michelle, 1-108
Sabrina, 1-108

Edwin, 1-106
Ashley, 1-108
Ashley, 1-106
Edwin, 1-108

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5th Grade Valentine Collages

Happy Valentines Day from the PS 250 Art Studio!
I was given a coverage today for class 5-308; I will still see this class for their normally scheduled class on Friday afternoon, but because of scheduling, the "coverage" meant that I was fortunate enough to get them a second time this week (today!). However, I did not want this class to get ahead of the other 5th grade classes, so I decided not to do Friday's lesson today. This meant I had total freedom to do anything I wanted with them for 45 minutes. Because today is Valentine's Day, I felt like it might be fun for them to do a Valentines-theme project. However, I did not want to do a "cookie-cutter"craft project with no learning involved, so I did a bit of research. 
After a little time on Google, I decided to talk to students about Victorian Valentines and the various ways people in the mid 19th century would create valentines (see website for more info on this: http://home.kendra.com/victorianrituals/Victor/val.htm). I explained that most of the valentines gifts back then were not bought, but were made (generally) from the simple material of paper. On my smartboard, I gave them the following challenge:
"How might you create a unique valentine only using ONE piece each of RED, WHITE, and BLACK paper (12" X 18")?"
I then created a Smart Board presentation and prompted them with the following:

Image located at http://www.wmagazine.com/artdesign/2007/03/kara_walker

Might you make a collage (of bits and pieces of paper) similar to the style of the "Heart" paintings by Jim Dine?

Images found at http://novakart.blogspot.com/2009/06/jim-dine-heart-paintings-month-of-june.html

Might you add some words, like in Shepard Fairey's poster?

Image found athttp://obeygiant.com/headlines/obama

I discussed that the format was up to them (card, flat art, etc.) and they should make each of their valentines as unique as the person they would be giving them to. We also discussed that in collage, we can change paper a variety of ways and add the paper in bits and pieces to create a whole. They just finished their book projects last week, so collage is still fresh in their minds, which was helpful. I reviewed using a pencil to help with drawing a silhouette or outline of a letter, only if completely necessary (generally when there is more time, and not just one 45-minute class, I discourage students "falling back" on drawing when they are doing collage; if they need a shape, they need to learn how to cut it, or at least piece bits of paper together to make the shape, not use a pencil to draw it first.). 
Here are a few pictures of the 5th graders hard at work:

I was (pleasantly) surprised by how differently each student approached this project. Some students focused on exploring the materials (see the pop-outs in the valentine above), while others had a clear direction in mind from the start (see the vase of flowers in the first picture above). 
I hope you enjoy the unique, creative and lovely Valentines class 5-308 made as much as I do...Enjoy!

Cindy, 5-308

Gustavo, 5-308

Kiara V., 5-308

Shamia, 5-308

Skylynne, 5-308

Clyde, 5-308