Social media opens up a whole world of lesson possibilities which the learners would love! Edgar Artis is an amazing instagram fashion illustrator who is very popular. As soon as I discovered him I knew my grade 6s would love his work! I decided to do a project around his style.
The lesson began with a figure drawing session. Various members of the class took turns posing for their friends while their friends practiced drawing from observation. When the next week I told them they could either choose their favourite posed drawing, or choose from a selection of images I had, and draw a model. I asked them to complete the drawing as much as possible with colour and outlines etc. This finished, they then began adding the clothing.
Edgar Artis does this using a various media, the stranger and the more unexpected, he greater the impact! The learners had to do this as well. They loved this step! They used old fabric, feathers (these were a favorite), beads and even seeds to create their clothing. Once it was finished, we cut out the model and pasted it onto black card which we could add details to using metallic pens.
The grade 6s were just finishing with their funny/funky head sculptures. This happened in drips and drabs. I started thinking about what we could do to extend this project. I thought of somehow integrating photography.
I knew of some conceptual artists like Sandy Skoglund and a South African artist Jane Alexander who had done artwork around a sculpture. I also follow a blogger who takes photos of various toys in strange locations. I used all of these as inspiration!
I took photos of my own creature in strange places and showed these to the class. I explained about composition and camera angles as well as lighting. I also showed a simple video on composition tips by a world renown photographer.
As soon as the learners finished their model, they could fetch their phones/ ipads and take it on a walk about to find interesting locations to photograph their creatures. I showed them how I was looking for interesting pics that tell a story!
To continue with the theme of foreign cultures I had been planning to make ancient Greek and Roman urns with the grade 6s. Just before I presented the class though I found something which I thought would go down better with this group of learners. I found pictures of some really funky creatures made from paper mache!
For our funny creatures, we took a balloon which was the base of the head. We then stuck on some bottle caps and other protrusions for eyes and horns, legs and ears etc. You can also create some of these using the paper mache itself and forming it into a horn etc. We then covered our balloons with paper mache. A number of learners were unfortunate to pop their balloons but all of us eventually got our balloons covered.
We allowed it to dry for a week before coming back and painting our creatures in bright, funky colours!
This year the grade 6s had other cultures as a soft theme in art. In celebration of Chinese new year in the first term I decided the grade 6s should make something to celebrate! I found very nice ideas online. One idea was to make a four part dragon using split pins so that it could still move.
I found images of Chinese dragons and a little video clip of the dance of the dragon taking place (they all recognized it from Kung Fu Panda). They then made their four parts of the dragon: head, two middle parts and tail. To save on paper I asked them to work in pairs. They then used off cuts to add decoration onto their dragons.
Finally we added sticks onto them so that the learners could control them!
I got this project from the Santam art teachers manual. The lesson began with a look at architecture from around the world and a discussion around the different forms. The learners then chose a culture they liked best (out of a selection of about 5) and began designing their buildings.
The end result they were going for was a pop up artwork where the learner created 3 main buildings which popped off a flat but beautiful landscape. This years grade 6 group is very creative and always do something which surprises me.
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!
I have done one lesson on perspective with the grade 7s of last year. I found that teaching the basics of linear perspective is very challenging!
I was searching the web, looking for ideas of how to teach perspective simply when I stumbled upon this page on smart class. It basically looks to simplify one point perspective down to its most raw essentials and then create a simple landscape using perspective.
I began with a power point where I introduced perspective in general and showed some exciting examples of how it can be used. I then explained one point perspective and went on to describe the actual artwork.
They by drawing a horizontal line across the middle of the page.They drew a dot towards the center of this page. They then drew lines from each of the corners of the page to the dot. I explained that they now had a vanishing point with what could be a road or a river and guidelines for the rest of the scene.
The learners then created buildings and trees using pencil. This was coloured in using a medium of the learner’s choice. The grade 6s really enjoyed the project! I had estimated 2-3 weeks but it went on to be 3-4 weeks with a few of the learners still not finishing! We had a lot of flus going around this term so that probably contributed to the slowness of some.