SchoolArts Magazine

February 2015

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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schoolartsonline.com 37 Advertiser Page Advertiser Page AMACO 2 42 Bailey 11 Blick CIV Conrad Machine Company 37 Davis Art Images 38 Davis Publications 4 7 41 General Pencil Co. 43 Handy Art 43 L&L Kilns 38 NAEA 14 Nasco CIII PCF Studios 37 Professional Hardware Supply 37 Royalwood Ltd. 43 SchoolArts 40 Skutt 1 SUNY New Paltz 38 I Can't Live without . . . Amazon Digital Services 13 Candlewick Press 13 Penguin Group 13 The Shop Davis Publications 39 Nasco Arts & Crafts 39 SchoolArts 39 Youth Art Month 39 Advertiser Index HOW DO YOU INSPIRE? Share your lesson plans & teaching ideas with us! SchoolArtsMagazine.com/ WritersGuidelines. Continued from page 19. 18 SchoolArts schoolartsonline.com 19 Elementary Studio Lesson T he intersection of music and visual arts is a great place to start when teaching young students about abstract art. John Coltrane's Giant Steps, by Chris Raschka (Richard Jackson Books, 2002) is the per- fect jumping-off point for this type of lesson. The book takes an innovative look at the music of jazz saxophone legend, John Coltrane. With the book's simple watercolor illustrations and minimal text, students are inspired explore and create overlapping colors and shapes, and lis- ten to how the overlapping of rhythms and instruments in John Coltrane's music creates new rhythms and sounds. Looking We begin by looking at the book and talking about how the author assigns shapes to instruments. Blue raindrops represent the drums, red squares represent the bass, yellow It Up! Rosy Ward JAZZ and Coltrane's improvisational solos. I then fast-forward to the piano solo and most students readily recognize this instrument. They can more easily hear the bass during the piano solo, as the saxophone is silent during this segment of the song. Abstract Watercolor Painting After listening to "Giant Steps," students review which shapes repre- sent which instruments in the book, then begin the first part of this two- part project: an abstract watercolor painting. Using 7" (18 cm) squares of scratch foam board, students trace a snowflakes represent the piano, and a black kitten personifies the saxo- phone. Each page illustrates the layer- ing of these shapes and colors, so we talk about what new colors are created through this overlapping, reviewing primary and secondary colors. Listening Next, students listen carefully to Col- trane's song, "Giant Steps." I empha- size that our goal in listening is to differentiate between the instruments. Usually, students easily hear the saxo- phone and the drums. I point out the difference between the song's melody square onto a 9 x 9" (23 x 23 cm) piece of watercolor paper. Students next use liquid watercolors (substituting magenta and turquoise for red and blue as these are warmer and mix bet- ter secondary colors) to paint three turquoise raindrops, three magenta squares, and three yellow snowflakes inside the 7" square. The shapes should not overlap. Students then repeat three more of each shape, this time overlapping along the edges of the shapes to create oranges, purples, and greens. The last step is to fill the negative space inside the 7" square with tur- quoise, magenta, and yellow. Students should try not to overlap in this last step so that all of the primary and secondary colors stay clear and bright. The result is a beautiful, abstract, col- orful painting. At the end of this lesson, we listen to a song called "Jazz on a Saturday Night." This song is a jazz version of the words from the book and clearly illustrates the sounds of each instru- ment and helps students differentiate between the instruments. Printmaking To start the next lesson, we look at the illustrations for "Jazz on a Saturday Night," which show repeating patterns and shapes emanating from instru- ments. On the 7" square scratch foam board pieces used in the watercolor lesson, students each draw three rain- drops, three squares, and three snow- flakes, reviewing what instrument each of these shapes represents in John Coltrane's Giant Steps. Dull pencils or old ballpoint pens work well for impressing lines onto the foam board. Students are inspired create overlapping colors and shapes and listen to how the overlapping of rhythms and instruments in John Coltrane's music creates new sounds. Continued on page XX. Inside the shapes, students add "fills" or repetitive motifs using lines and shapes. They can vary the width of lines, create AB patterns, and/or vary the direction of lines and patterns. Once all the shapes are enhanced, students fill in the back- ground with patterns as well. To make a print, each student rolls an even coat of black block-printing ink on the foam board with a brayer, then presses it facedown on the painting done in the previous lesson, matching the edges of the images as much as possible. Wherever marks were made on the foam board, the watercolor painting is visible under- neath. The result is a sophisticated, multilayered work of art. Rosy Ward is an art teacher at Seven Bar Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rosyward22 @yahoo.com N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K www.goodreads.com/book/ show/831865.John_Coltrane_ s_ Giant_ Steps

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