SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

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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Colorful Leaves Early Childhood The Art Problem About a month after school has started, the trees in Michigan provide a rich display of colors. Their leaves begin turning golden yellows, brilliant reds, and rich browns. Better yet, they release these palm-sized palettes of color that float to the ground—free for the taking and a stimulus for artmaking. I wondered how I could uniquely integrate the falling leaves of autumn into an art lesson for young students. Objective Students will create an interesting composition using leaves and watercolor markers. Materials leaves, white drawing paper, watercolor markers, soft-bristle brushes, small containers of water Procedures 1. Take students on a walk around your school's campus and gather leaves off the ground, or ask them to bring leaves from home. 2. Press the leaves overnight so they will be easier to trace. 3. Have students arrange a few leaves on a sheet of white paper. I encourage a random pattern, similar to how the leaves might appear after falling onto the sidewalk. 4. Using watercolor markers, have students carefully trace the leaves onto the paper. 5. After the outlines are traced, have students draw the veins of the leaves. Careful observation will help students draw them accurately. 6. Using soft-bristle brushes, have students lightly brush water over their drawings. This will soften the lines and allow the color to be spread around the composition. By Craig Hinshaw, an artist and art teacher who lives in Davison, Michigan. He is also the author of Clay Connections (Poodle Press, 2008). Native O'Keeffe Skulls The Art Problem How can students learn about and better appreciate the art of the southwestern United States? Objective Students will examine and combine two very different art styles from the Southwest: A Native American woven blanket design and Georgia O'Keeffe's famous skull paintings. Materials 9 x 12" (23 x 30 cm) white tag board, 9 x 12" white drawing paper, pencils, markers, hole punches, yarn, images of cow skulls, glue, examples of Georgia O'Keeffe's skull paintings Procedures 1. Show and discuss the designs commonly found on Native American woven blankets. Ask students to identify the different geometric shapes found in the patterns. 2. Using a ruler, students should create different geometric patterns and designs on the tag board. They should color the designs in the same style as the examples, using only warm colors (red, yellow, and orange) or neutral colors (brown, grey, and black). Middle School 3. Have students punch holes along the bottom of their designs and weave yarn through to mimic the fabric in the blankets. 4. For a different view on art from the Southwest, show students examples of Georgia O'Keeffe's skull paintings, and discuss how they represent her interpretation of the desert. 5. Distribute the 9 x 12" white paper and have students complete a pencil drawing of a cow skull using images as reference. Demonstrate ways of shading and hatching to create dimension, and point out the organic shapes within the skull. 6. Cut out and glue the skull drawing to the quilt design. Assessment Ask students to point out the geometric and organic shapes in the artwork and explain how the artists used them to represent their different views of the Southwest. By Matt Mazur, an elementary and middle-school art teacher at Dealey Montessori Vanguard and International Academy in Dallas, Texas. Giraffe Paintings Elementary The Art Problem Integrating an art project with another subject area provides students with an in-depth learning experience. How can you successfully engage young art students in an interdisciplinary art lesson? Objective Students will create giraffe paintings based on their newfound knowledge about the animal. Materials 12 x 18" (30 x 46 cm) white paper, green construction paper, pencils, crayons, watercolors, brushes, leaves for rubbing, giraffe pictures Procedures 1. Begin with a discussion about giraffes. Identify Africa on a map and discuss what the open woodland and grasslands are and why giraffes are found there. Talk about the unique characteristics of the giraffes such as their long necks and the puzzle-like patterns on their coats. Share interesting facts about giraffes, for instance giraffes can eat as much as 140 pounds of foliage a day. 2. Look at photographs of giraffes and talk about times you have seen giraffes at the zoo. Trash to Treasure The Art Problem How can items often considered to be trash become artworks through inventive expression? Objective Students will imaginatively combine pieces of normally discarded items into interesting figures. Materials large assortment of plastic and metal items (collect year-round) such as bottle caps, plastic bottles and containers, buttons, screws, wire, wooden pieces, computer parts, metal tooling, glue sticks and glue guns, heavy-duty scissors, hole punches, pliers Procedures 1. Show and discuss a number of examples of figurative art, such as Greek and Roman sculpture, Navajo kachinas, and work by contemporary artists. Discuss safe use of materials and tools before distributing any. 3. Draw the giraffe on the front board using very simple lines and shapes while students follow along at their seats. This drawing exercise is great for teaching students how to be observant and draw exactly what they see. 4. Once the drawing is complete, students outline the entire drawing in black or brown crayon, then write the word "giraffe" in the background in at least five different ways. 5. Have students use watercolors to paint their giraffes. Observe pictures of giraffes and try several watercolor techniques to keep the artwork realistic. Paint the background green using a wash technique. 6. Using leaves collected from outside, create leaf rubbings on green construction paper, then cut them out and add them to the background to add a three-dimensional element to the paintings. By Matt Mazur, an elementary and middle-school art teacher at Dealey Montessori Vanguard and International Academy in Dallas, Texas. High School 2. Place an assortment of items on each table. Ask students to use the materials provided to create standing figures. Suggest that they arrange more than one complete figure, possibly flat on the table, before choosing the one to be glued together. 3. Have students glue together their arrangements. Assessment Are the resulting sculptures figurative? Can they stand on their own? Is good artistry evident? How do they show inventive and engaging use of materials? By Nancy Walkup, editor of SchoolArts.

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