SchoolArts Magazine

September 2016

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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20 SEPTEMBER 2016 SchoolArts what people are like, we can express something unique about them. Making a List If you watch the video on my website (see Web Links), you'll find that stu- dents can help generate a list of the emotional values of color and shape. They can apply this information to themselves, creating color and shape combinations that represent them. We later expand this into descriptions of their families. Some descriptions may shape in our everyday lives—we just need to learn to use these ideas to express ourselves when we make works of art. This is called "expres- sionism." If you can make a work of art by using only these symbols, then that might be called "abstract expressionism." With these ideas, you can paint a portrait and use color to express how you feel about that per- son. You could also paint a portrait of a person and not even draw a face. By using colors and shapes that show not be completely positive, but that's the nature of family. I like to have students first create a list of eight to ten family members, then add three or four descriptive words next to each person. I let them include extended family and those who may have passed away. Planning a Composition Once the lists have been compiled, students sketch shape and color com- binations next to them. From there they can create a 3D mobile of forms or a 2D drawing or painting of their abstract family. I ask them to arrange the shapes to show how close or dis- tant they are from individual family members, and to use color between the shapes to help describe the rela- tionships between individuals. Coded Expression The best thing about this approach is that it works for many different age groups. The therapeutic benefits are also something to consider. With these ideas, students can show their feelings about a number of issues and feel more comfortable expressing them through a kind of coded art. Eric Gibbons is an art teacher, owner of Firehouse Publications, and author of the blog, Art Ed Guru. LOVSART@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K S B sing colors and shapes that show what people are like, we can express something unique about them.

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