SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2012

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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Bringing Home the Tree The Art Problem How can students capture the excitement of picking out a holiday tree in an artwork? Objective Students will create a cut-paper scene that depicts his or her family bringing home the family holiday tree. Materials 3 x 9" (8 x 23 cm) and 3 x 6" (8 x 15 cm) pieces of colored construction paper, 3 x 3" (8 x 8 cm) pieces of black construction paper, 4½ x 6" (11 x 15 cm) pieces of green construction paper, 12 x 18" (30 x 45 cm) sheets of blue and black construction paper, 9 x 18" (23 x 45 cm) sheets of white construction paper, toy cars/trucks with treaded wheels, black stamp pad, white glue, scissors, pictures of cars and trucks, white tempera paint Procedures 1. Begin by discussing the ways families pick out and bring home their holiday trees. Some families cut their tree; others buy a tree at a lot. It is not unusual to see smiling families driving the roads in December with a tree strapped to the top of their car. Takashi Monsters The Art Problem How can students adapt ideas from Japanese culture, pop art, and their own experience when creating a soft sculpture? Objective Students will create their own plush figure based on their interests and experiences. Materials examples of artwork by Takashi Murakami, felt in various colors, scraps of felt and various found objects/accessories, hot glue gun, fabric glue, needles and thread Procedures 1. Students are introduced to Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami through a slideshow of his work. Students are challenged to discuss Murakami's idea that any and all objects (from a soccer ball to a large bronze sculpture) have the same level of prestige as any work of art. 2. Students brainstorm ideas about creating their own monster-like creature based on the work of Murakami. They should complete a series of sketches, then select the one they like best and create a pattern for their plush creature. Early Childhood 2. Have students construct a car by gluing the smaller piece of construction paper to the longer rectangle. A truck can be made by cutting the smaller piece in half and gluing it near one end of the larger. Trimming the hood, windshield, and trunk creates an aerodynamic, less boxy look. Tires are cut from black construction paper squares. 3. The tree is cut and glued in place. Some students may choose not to add a tree and will be happy with the vehicle alone. 4. A background of white paper (snow) is glued to a blue or black sky and the tree-topped car is glued in place. 5. To finish the scene, a toy car or truck with plastic treaded wheels and a stamp pad are used to print the tire tracks in the snow. White paint may be dotted over the picture for snow. By Craig Hinshaw, an artist and art teacher who lives in Davison, Michigan. He is also the author of Clay Connections (Poodle Press, 2008). Middle School 3. Students cut the pattern and trace it onto the felt fabric for their soft sculpture. After cutting out all of the pieces, they use hot glue, fabric glue, or various sewing techniques to attach details to the outside of the body before sewing the body together. 4. While sewing the body together, students should leave an opening to allow for stuffing to fill the body shape. Once the body is stuffed, they can sew it shut. 5. Students should write about their character and display their work and the artist statement for others to see. Assessment Is the finished sculpture neat and clean? Is it unique to the student's vision? Does it reflect an effort and willingness to try new things? Did the student effectively use the elements of art and principles of design? By Janine Campbell, visual arts teacher at Byron Center West Middle School in Byron Center, Michigan. Warm/Cool Abstract Animals The Art Problem How can students make something drawn realistically into something abstract? Objective Students will learn about making abstract forms and the difference between warm and cool colors. Materials animal toys, drawing paper, watercolor paper, black markers, watercolor paints, pencils, brushes, light box (optional) Procedures 1. Have students draw toy animals from observation. 2. Discuss abstraction and show examples of cave drawings from Lascaux. 3. Ask students to make their original drawing abstract. Suggest that they do things like distort shapes, change proportions, add patterns, and more. 4. Have students trace their drawing onto watercolor paper. Lay(er) It on Thick The Art Problem What can we do to help students push their work further? How can we enable them to add interest and complexity to their work without losing their focal points and muddying their meanings? Objective Students will revisit a finished composition that is basically successful, but seems to be missing something, and add to it subtle layers of interest and complexity. Materials "finished" artwork, camera, tag board or card stock, pencils, erasers, X-Acto knives and cutting mats, drawing and/or painting media (ballpoint pens, permanent markers, colored pencils, acrylic paint, etc.) Procedures 1. Have students choose one object from their "finished" composition and reproduce a template (the positive of a stencil) of it in a size compatible with the artwork. 2. Each student should add subtle layers of interest and complexity to his or her composition by using the template to create repetition with variety. This will also likely create movement and rhythm. Elementary 5. Ask students to draw a border around the edge of the paper. 6. Students should paint their animal and background in either warm or cool colors and the border the opposite way (i.e., animal in warm colors, border in cool colors). 7. To finish, students should outline their drawings with black marker. Assessment Did students successfully transform their drawings into something more abstract while demonstrating a clear understanding of warm and cool colors? By Abigael Escobal, substitute teacher at the Peekskill City School District in Peekskill, New York. High School 3. Students should use a thoughtfully chosen and composed combination of weighted, broken, and disappearing lines when making contour tracings around the template, as well as brushing paint over the edges of the template to create a "negative" of it. 4. Students should avoid creating visual distraction by using a combination of media compatible in color and value to the original artwork 5. Allow the use of the template to function as a springboard to other improvements to the artwork, such as enhanced edges, "popped" contrasts, developed negative space, etc. Extension Give students photos of their original pieces and ask them to write short comparisons of the before and after artworks to address how the use of the template improved their pieces. By Betsy DiJulio, a National Board Certified art teacher at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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