Saturday, January 29, 2011

Minnesota Original: An Art Television Series

This television show has become one of my favorites! Its a new series presented by Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) called Minnesota Original. The show highlights local artists, writers, actors, and musicians of Minnesota very much like Art:21 (the PBS series) highlights internationally known contemporary artists. I use this website as a resource for brainstorming new and innovative lessons. If a lesson is inspired by an artist then I have a great video resource to show my students as motivation for a project. If you miss an episode, or you don't live in Minnesota, the website has all the artists videos posted and categorized by medium. Hope you find this inspiring! Enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Coil Built Slab Boxes (7th Grade)

Students built a set of four 3"x6" slabs with a combination of coils, dots, swirls, and lines flat on the table  top and then erected them like that walls of a house to put their box together. The students were fairly successful but I scheduled this project one week before winter break and the time crunch had a negative effect on the craftsmanship of many of the boxes. Over all a very fun project.

MLK Quilt on Display

I had posted some individual examples of this project a couple weeks ago but I just love how the quilt squares look when they are on display so I wanted to share. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chick Close Grid Drawings

Students in 7th grade used a photograph of themselves taken by myself in dramatic lighting and gridded out the picture into 1"x1" squares. They then found shadow shapes and highlight shapes in their photograph and used their grid to transfer the shapes thinking about each square as a "tiny little masterpiece" onto a paper with the same scale 1"x1" grid. We then went into the drawing and outlined all the pencil lines in sharpie along with filling in the background. The last step was coloring with colored pencils each of the shapes independently trying to fit at least three colors in every shape. The result.... super psychedelic and groovy self portraits inspired by chuck close but not a direct emulation of his work. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

ASL Contour Line Drawings

In remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr., and in dedication to his recent birthday, I decided to give my 6th graders a glimpse into his life's message in the form of ASL alphabet contour line drawings. We started the project by watching a MLK biography video (found here) and discussing his life achievements. I emphasized his ability to communicate his message through speech and then introduced a famous quote of his... "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." This quote was going to be our starting point for the final project. Leading up to the final drawings we spend about two class periods perfecting out drawing skills learning how to draw what we see rather than draw what me know or think we know about drawing a hand. This step was accomplished by showing examples of an x-ray of a hand (which students promptly asked if it was an x-ray of my own hand) to understand bone structure, doing multiple blind contour studies (which they love), talking about joints/muscles/proportions of a hand, and talking about negative and positive space. For the final drawings each students was give three letters from the quote and drew their hands from observation. Some needed to try a couple times before they got their drawing to look realistic but with a bit of one-on-one coaching almost all student were successful. I was so astounded by the end result and very excited to get the quote installed in the hallway. The installation has become a popular attention getter for the lunchroom as other students passing by try to piece together the words. Very fun learning experience, I would however emphasize a bit more that the letters you receive to draw at the beginning of the assignment are the letters you have to draw!! Even though I wrote down the letters each student received I still ended up with an unusual amount of "o" and "s" hands... Some ASL alphabet hand positions are significantly more challenging to draw than others so I can understand why some students may have decided to pick a different letter without asking... oh well. In the areas where I had a gap I just wrote the letter on a spare scrap of construction paper and called it a day. No need to fuss, I'l just make the correction next time:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CrAzY CoiLS!!!

Just finished firing the Crazy Coil pots from my 6th grade class. They build them from the bottom up and I'm so proud of the results. They first looked at images of coil pots (emphasizing the CRAZY) and then began sketching their ideas keeping in mind the limitations of clay. They made swirls, zigzags, and dots all while thinking about the art elements of variety, pattern, and emphasis. Some great craftsmanship and focus through out this whole project. If my students could have clay all quarter I would be in heaven, they work so well when using kinetic and tactile art forms. I had one students who (being especially kinetic, always moving and grooving) created THREE pots!!! We had the supplies and he created like a mad man! So fun to observe and reflect on. p.s. I apologize for some of the glaze colors, ewwww. literally mixed from a batch of old 70's glaze mixture my cooperating teacher found in a back room.... 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Quilt Project (7th Grade)

Here are some drawings my 7th grade students did based off of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. They where inspired by the words unity, peace, brotherhood, freedom, courage, etc. and were instructed to create a faux quilt square representing those words through the use of various images and symbols. The students used dashed lines to represent stitching. I love how different all of their interpretations are. They are so colorful and look great on a wall together. A great way to acknowledge MLK's birthday.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Frank Big Bear Drawings

Frank Big Bear is Minneapolis based artist born and raised in minnesota. I introduced his surreal style of portraiture to my 6th grade students and we talked about creating 5 scale values with various colored pencils. Most turned out very well and the students then organized a mini art show with posters telling the school about where the pictures would be hanging up in the hall. I also took in-progress photos through out the making process and created a time lapse slideshow of some selected students. If i can figure out how to post the slideshow I will in the next couple days. Here is a great link to a video where Frank Big Bear talks about his work.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Zentangle (The Sophisticated Doodle)

My Drawing I students were given a challenge to create a Zentangle doodle on a small 6"x6" square. First we did some exploring in our sketchbooks and then moved onto some larger test samples. I showed them some professional examples of the Zentangle and we discussed the group of people that the Zentangle trend has gathered. This lesson would also work very well in an elementary setting if the content was focused more on creating a variety of lines, textures, and shades. In the end this project produced some fun results and the students really responded well to the challenge and the freedom it offered.