Grade 4 – Tonal landscape

This is a simple way to introduce learners to atmospheric perspective. I got the idea for this site from this blog.

Basically, learners begin by sketching out a simple landscape. They just have to show the outlines of the different layers of the landscape. It is important that the learners understand that their landscape will need to have ‘layers’ or significant divides in order for this project to work. A number of my learners wanted to do the sea which wouldn’t really work, unless it was the back layer.

They then choose a colour of one hue (for example: red, orange or green). The top layer they leave white; The second layer they mix white with their colour and paint the second layer with this colour; The next layer they paint with the pure colour; They then mix black with their colour and paint the next layer with this darker colour; and the final layer (the one which will look closest to the viewer) they paint black. It is a good way to teach learners about value of colour.

I reminded them that having layers overlap each other enhances the effect of depth. Also, increasing the size of foreground images helps. There was still a fair amount of freedom given to the learners and some of the artworks amazed me with their creativity!

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Grade 4 – Stretched Capetonians

I was wondering through the streets of Cape Town and noticed a number of artworks being sold in markets and on pavements. I thought they could make a great artwork at school!

After introducing the learners to this street art (many of them had seen it before anyway), I gave each learner a piece of A2 paper cut in half so that it was extra long. They had to imagine a situation which they could be in. They had to draw themselves as a stretched person! They could also draw some things in the background. They then used oil pastels to colour themselves and any other significant objects in before using watercolour paints to fill the background with colour.

The learners did really well! Two of these artworks actually won awards in the local Eisteddfod competition!

Grade 6 – Chuck Close

This artwork focused on the American artist Chuck Close. Now a number of the learners at our school (as at any school) have great obstacles that they have and will have to overcome in their lives. Chuck Close is an artist who overcame the hugest of hurdles to become a world famous artist. For one, he is a quadriplegic. For another, he has prosopagnosia, which makes it almost impossible for him to recognize faces.  He began painting portraits, in part, to overcome this difficulty. You can watch a small intro video to Chuck Close HERE.

Our learners first learned about Mr Close and his background. They then learned the technique he uses to make huge, super realistic portraits using paint and other media. He divides his canvas up into a grid which correlates to a grid drawn on a smaller photo of a persons face. Instead of focusing on the picture as a whole, he transfers the image block by block (Often called the grid method). We took the concept of the grid method and pushed it, using the grid as a creative tool.

Though some of the learners struggled a bit with expanding an A4 p

age to the A3 paper using the grid method, the learners creativity made up for this. The end results of the project speak for themselves, The artworks are beautiful!

Grade 3 – Castle in the clouds

5I have used this project a few times as I enjoy what the kids come up with. I tell the story of jack and the beanstalk and ask the kids to imagine what it must have been like if they were Jack. I ask them to close their eyes and see as their heads break through the clouds and they see this enormous castle!

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They then have to draw the castle, the beanstalk, themselves and anything else they would like in the scene. We used some black crayon to outline ourselves as well as the castle. We then used water colour paint to add colour!

I showed them how to wet the paper first for the clouds and then add the watercolour to make a beautiful, diffused colour that works great for things like clouds. We then used water colour on dry paper for the detailed spots.

Grade 5 – Rolled up action figures!

I got this idea from an artwork I saw at the Eisteddfod art competition 2 years ago. Their one was a simple one showing figures made out of rolled up newspaper doing the Olympic events. I thought we could take that to the next level!

I found a video of a person pretending to be the character from assassins creed and doing some pretty amazing parkour through the streets of his city. I then explained to the class how a person in a dynamic position would look. I showed them how diagonal lines have more movement then vertical or horizontal ones.

They then had to create their scene! The learners had a lot of freedom in the scene they chose to create. This meant that some of the learners to a fairly long time to get on to actually working on the project at hand but it resulted in a great diversity in the art that was eventually handed in.

The learners had to create their person out of rolled up pieces of magazine paper. They could decorate the background in any way they wanted but I found that relying more on collage resulted in a more interesting artwork in the end and next time I do this project I will include this in the project instructions.