Monday, 10 September 2012

What happened to term Three????

Goodness the time has flown past! This term has been a busy one. One of the highlights has been taking a group of 57 children to the Art Gallery of WA to see the Picasso to Warhol exhibition. It was very successful with both children and parent helpers saying they really enjoyed it and would love to go again. I can see an annual event coming on! 

This year I have been focusing on well known modern artists as a link to arts in society outcomes and to fit in with this exhibition. The kids are beginning to recognise the names and styles of some of the artists we have looked at. The gallery staff all said they could tell from the children's responses that they had been exposed to a proper art education with an art specialist. This is a huge compliment because these ladies see many, many school groups over the year. So well done kids!!!

I personally get a trill to hear kids say things like a comment from a year one child when I showed them a piece of work by Paul Klee. "That looks a bit like Picasso's because it is kind of brownish and all shapes" Indeed it did have some similarities to the works of Picasso that I had shown them a few weeks previously, it gave me goose bumps!

On the excursion we even had a chance to do an activity in the Art Gallery Studio.
We created our own Cubist style still life drawings, just like Picasso.

We have been working furiously trying to get organised for a whole school photography exhibition on September 30th at the Farmer's Market Spring Open Day.
 I have tried to do different things with several classes in order to familiarise the kids with how our new cameras work. Our WONDERFUL LOVELY P&C donated a class set of 12 cameras to the art room.
Some junior classes, especially year ones were given the cameras and asked to photograph some thing they found interesting in the playground. I gave them little instruction as I just wanted to let them go and see what they found interesting. (What is it with boys and toilets?!?!)

Year 2/3's were asked to photograph somewhere they liked to play.

Year 3's chose a little toy and used this as a subject for their photo in order to make them think about what it was they were photographing and have them get in really close to the subject.

Yr 4/5's took photos of collections.

One class had to do drawings that interacted with their hands in some way.

Finally the 5/6 and 6/7 class had a 'Scavenger hunt'. They had to find examples of things like 'rule of thirds' 'leading lines' following instruction about what makes a good photo.

Now I'm going to try to put photos in here again and hope that it doesn't do the same thing as the last post with the photos being so huge!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Some more sewing. (Fixed the large photo problem! It was so very simple really !)

Here's a bit of a gallery showing some of the sewing projects completed from the Picasso printmaking activites from several classes in years 4 to 7. Some classes did potato printing others did collograph printmaking. Both classes had to add stitches in order to decorate their fabric.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

What is modern art?

With the excursion to Art Gallery of WA to see the Picasso to Warhol exhibition coming up soon I have chosen to focus on modern art this term. We have already met Picasso earlier in the year so this term we will be exploring the work of Miro, Matisse, Calder, Lichtenstein and of course Andy Warhol.
I found this video- it's a great way to introduce and explain the concept of modern art to the middle and upper primary kids.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sew simple!

In one room of year 5/6's many of the children were reluctant to participate in a sewing activity. In order to engage them I opted to allow them to negotiate with me as to what they would do in order to demonstrate they can make decorative stitches and construction stitches.

They all jotted down three things they wanted to do. Most of them wanted to make mascots or toys. As these were such a similar concept I decided to allow them to make either one. Some kids wanted to make cushions and a couple wanted to personalise their hats. I couldn't see any reason why they couldn't but a quick trip up to the principal reassured us.
So with the direction of making something about A5 to A4 size (things that are too small are difficult to manipulate for this age group and I don't have enough in the budget to make life size toys!)with stitches for decoration and construction the kids set about brainstorming and sketching their ideas. The kids went home to search for fabric scraps from their folks to bring in to share.

From these sketches they had to create a plan and from the plan a pattern.

These had to be cut from fabric bought in from home ( mostly from my home ;) Luckily I needed to clear out some of my stash from home.- and some bought from the shop to supplement our stash) 
The kids are also learning to use the irons to smooth their fabric for cutting and sewing, and about the safety issues that go with them.
 Then the fun began! The patterns had to be pinned and cut making sure they had two pieces that were mirror image of each other so that they could be fitted together and stitched and stuffed. (Again maths overlaps with art!)
 So we are part way through our project so I will post some of the finished pieces.

"Mystery Mess" is a great game to play after a session like this because it is a very messy activity. Before the kids start to pack up I say "Today is a mystery mess." - sometimes for a faction card, sometimes for a prize. I pick an item that I can see that is out of place but I don't let the kids know what it is. The kids have to rush about looking for things that are out of place, putting them away as they go. When everything is neat and tidy I announce what I had my eye on and the person who attended to it gets the reward.


BEST game EVER!!!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

looking and seeing...

Every now and then I do a structured lesson where I direct the children with their drawing. Today I used Mona Brookes's book "Drawing with Children". In this book Mona breaks everything you draw into 5 basic elements. Circles (empty closed round shapes), dots (coloured round closed shapes) straight lines, curved lines and angled lines. To start the lesson we all looked at an object and considered what lines and shapes we would need to create a drawing of the object- surprisingly we ended up with the same kind of things that Mona would have suggested! ;)

From there we followed step by step instructions to draw a lion. We talked about how even though we would all be following the same instructions our final products might be quite different.

We also talked about how it is ok to make a mistake and this is not wrong but an opportunity to be a bit more creative to solve the problem of making a line that is not quite the way we want it to work for us in our art work.
Once the kids finished following my instructions they went on a "studio walk" to have a look at everyone else's work and see how they interpreted the instructions and solved any problems they had.

After the studio walk we thought about places we may find a lion and the kids were then able to create the rest of their art work from their own imaginations adding any other details they might need to make their drawings work.

They were given the freedom to select from a number of choices when it came to adding colour. So although we started with a lesson that was highly structured  listen and follow instructions it ended allowing children to explore ideas and medium independently in an unstructured way.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Printing with Picasso

At the end of last term I introduced the kids to Picasso following a long weekend trip to Sydney to visit the NSW art gallery and the Picasso exhibition. (I was disappointed to find that while I was in Europe last year the Picasso Museum in Paris was closed for renovation- only to find that some of the collection had travelled to Australia while I was in France! So I just had to go and see it in Sydney.) I bought several books for kids while I was at the art gallery several of them focused on Picasso. They were fantastic picture books suitable for introducing this significant modern artist to the children from year one to seven.

For the older children I used a book called 'Just Behave Pablo Picasso'by Jonah Winter and another called Picasso and Minou. Both books introduce children to the life of Pablo Picasso and his personality in a readily accessible way in a fun enjoyable story picture book fashion.

With the children in rooms 19 and 20 (yr 4/5) I looked at some really simple line drawings of strange faces that Picasso had drawn. I used a book of step by step draw like Picasso for the kids to follow then they had a go at creating some of their own. From those we used the patterns and lines to create potato prints to decorate the surface of a piece of fabric.
The children in Rooms 2 and 3 (years 5-7) created collograph prints based on Picasso's cubist portraits these were then printed on paper and then fabric. These prints have been the basis of a textile project for these classes.

I made up sewing boxes for each group. Each box had a little pin cushion with a needle for each child each needle had to be returned at the end of each lesson before they could leave the studio - I don't think we lost a single needle!!  There were also sets of sewing cards that I had made up showing a variety of embroidery stitches. The children had time to practice and experiment with these stitches on scrap fabric before venturing on to the embellishment of their printed fabric. Most of the children had sewn before in previous years when they made their pencil cases. So apart from a bit of a refresher on knot tying and needle threading techniques the kids were off.
 I rarely thread needles for kids or tie knots rather I demonstrate each step by step and tend to show a couple of ways for the kids to choose from. Having said that I do make sure that I buy needles with eyes that are of sufficient dimensions to make threading possible at each year level while still ensuring that they will go through the fabric easily so the sewing process is not too tedious. You can see the kids have been working very well with this project, even though it takes time and patience to learn the skill and get used to the fiddly threads.

Here's a tip for any other art teachers out there. The kids had difficulty pinning their fabric onto the front of their bags in order to sew it on so I used a few dabs of craft glue (not too much as it makes it difficult to sew through.) to keep the pockets on the front of their bags so they could sew them on more easily.

What style!

Over the last week or so most of the classes have been watching this film animation that illustrates how Mondrian's art work changed over time from representational to pure abstraction.

Depending on their year level the children have been creating artworks inspired by Mondrian using different medium. Some classes are using artline markers to create thick and thin black lines and will complete them using liquid watercolour paints.

Many of the classes in year 1 to 4 will be creating collages using pre-cut black paper strips and colourful paper rectangles. (I saw this idea somewhere in the blogosphere and thought it was a good one as I have tried this many years ago with younger children and they find it difficult to cut many even strips of paper and the skill of cutting overtakes their "arts ideas" or  artistic choices and arrangement of line, shape and colour. However I have encouraged kids to trim down their pre-cut shapes into sizes that suit their work better)