Thursday, April 23, 2015

4th Grade Color Wheels

Color wheels are such a basic tool that artists use.  We have to understand how colors relate to each other and how to mix them.  But it is SO boring teaching the same color wheel over and over and over again.  We have to cover it at least once in every grade.  So how do you make an old concept feel fresh again?

Four forth grade this year, we tried a color wheel that uses light to dark patterns of each color.  We threw in some shapes to create pattern reversals to give it that Op Art feel and made it easy to complete by just using crayons! And viola!  Color Wheel!

We started by measuring out the six sides.  It was actually shocking how many students were not successful at measuring.  I had to stop and just teach how to use the ruler.  This is apparently not a skill being learned in math anymore.  Figuring out units of measurement through equations/conversations is not the same as actually using the ruler, measuring out distance and marking it.  Once the exterior of the shape was complete we moved on to segmenting the middle and then drawing the lines for the pattern.  And again, they needed help with this - some of them were drawing the lines from one "slice" across into the other without turning them to account for the new angle.  Drawing was supposed to be one class but almost wound up two full classes with just the issues we had having to go back and correct mistakes made by not understanding how to use the ruler or understanding angles.

Once we got to the coloring though - it went like gangbusters!  Does anyone besides me use that word?  Gangbusters.  It's a good word.  We should use it more often.

Anywho...Coloring took about two classes.  Here's some of the finished examples:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

One Point Perspective Ariel View Skyscrapers

Depth is one of the main concepts of our art curriculum.  Depth through color, depth through size change, and in this case, depth through perspective.  Specifically, one point perspective.  I like doing this project with 4th grade but it can be easily modified up for the older grades with more requirements for detail or by changing the coloring mediums.  This is also a great way to include math into your lesson as you have to be able to measure to do this properly.

We started by folding our papers vertically.  The dot for our one point perspective goes at the bottom on the fold.  The next step is to take rulers and measure out at least four squares in the space above the dot.  The can be positioned in the center, to the left or to the right. The corners closest to the dot are the corners that get extended into the one point perspective.  The rules need to be used for this step.

Just about the only problem kids have with this project is the overlapping.  For whatever the reason they tend to draw their lines from the buildings into the back through their buildings in the front instead of just stopping when they touch the front ones.  I even make a point of showing them the right and wrong ways and STILL get kids who make that mistake.

With older grades I do emphasize making the windows align with the point as well.  But with fourth grade I'm just happy if the buildings match up!  These were outlined with sharpie and then colored with watercolor paint but in the past I have also used colored pencils for the buildings and details and the paint for the backgrounds only.  Feel free to vary materials as you like if you try this in your own room!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Henri Rousseau Jungles with Value Scales

One of the required artists for Fourth Grade is Henri Rousseau.  We start off with the DVD of Dropping in On Rousseau (The kids STILL love Puffer even at this age) and then discuss some of his prints after. Since we only have 35 minute classes this pretty much is the first day of the project.

On the second day of the project we start talking about value scales and how value can be used to create distance.  I do a painting demonstration using tempera paint in black and white plus one color (each student gets to pick their color) and show them how to create the tints and shades to be the foundation for their own Rousseau landscapes.  The rest of the class is spent painting!

On the third day there are always a few stragglers who need to finish painting.  However, anyone who finished last time gets to break out the oil crayons!  Another quick demo to remind them that small = background/far away, medium = middleground, and big = foreground/closeup and then they are off and running to create their own jungles.

My apologies on only having half finished ones to share!  I forgot my camera on the last day before these went home and only have pictures of the middle of the process!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Even Monsters Need Hair Cuts

 So, this probably should have been posted back during October - so my apologies if it seems off-season.  I found the book pictured above at our school book fair and instantly knew what I wanted to do with it.  Since it doesn't specifically mention Halloween, I felt reasonably safe using it.  After reading the story, we discussed the different shapes used to make the faces of the monsters in the book.  I did some quick demos on the board of how to create facial variation using the shapes we'd just discussed.  Students had the chance to then pick the monster they wanted to draw and then show them needing a haircut (insert a line type review)!  I did this with Kindergarten through 2nd grade with great success.  I was even able to leave it for a sub one day and was still pleased with what the students came up with.   Enjoy the examples below!

Vampires were triangular.

Frankenstein was a square.

Wolfmen seemed circular (although judging by the eye lashes, this one is a Wolfwoman.

This student couldn't decide which one to draw so she just made a three headed monster.

3 Heads look even better in color!

One student liked the wolfmen enough to draw one on their own and bring it in to me.