SchoolArts Magazine

October 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 38 of 66

I n most of my lessons, I like to start off with some simple hints for my students. I leave subtle clues around the room throughout the weeks leading up to a project, such as a book that suddenly appears on the chalk - board ledge, or an image placed on the bulletin board collage amongst other artwork students are currently studying. It's almost like the game I Spy. I test students this way to see if they are paying attention to their sur - roundings, developing their artist's eye. There is always one student who seems to find those subtle clues before the others. Then the probing questions start. Who is that? Is that our next project? What is that made of? I always respond to these ques- tions evasively: "Oh, it might be something we are doing," or "I just liked the picture so I thought I would hang it up for a while." The week prior to a lesson, my room gets a total transformation related to the coming project idea and concept. Inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo I have always been inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo's work. Arcimboldo (1526–1593) was an Ital - ian painter best known for creating imaginative portraits made entirely of unexpected objects such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books. He was someone who thought out - side the box during a time when many artists were focused on the realist and religious qualities of an art piece. His work is considered to be surreal, while having realistic elements that relate to nature and identity. He created topsy-turvy por - traits that look very different when viewed straight up and then upside down. How one could first come up with that idea and then actually pos - sess the talent and skills to create it is stunning. As a class, we discussed Arcimboldo's process, his career as a court portraitist, and his develop - ment as an artist. The Process of Creating We made a list of some of the themes that Arcimboldo used to create his portraits. The list included fruits, vegetables, books, the elements, and the seasons. Next, I asked stu - dents to individually compile their own list of themes—themes that were not used by Arcimboldo. Stu - dents' lists included themes such as breakfast foods, the weather, candy, evolving technology, art supplies, birds, and emojis. Self-Portraits Before getting started, we reviewed how to draw a portrait. Using mir - rors and proportion guidelines such as spacing and size, students created individual self-portraits, ensuring that each feature was properly posi - tioned and in correct proportion. Self-portraits can be an intimidating subject matter to draw, but I think students were willing to stick with it knowing they would have some fun in the next step. After students drew Leigh Drake I find it helpful to have certain criteria in a lesson, bu ou can also include opportunities for students to have more choices in their art-making. Previous page: Salma. Above: Ricky, Nintendo-inspired Portrait. 34 OCTOBER 2018 SchoolArts

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