In memory of our wonderful ex-president and hero, Nelson Mandela, the grade 6s undertook to celebrate him through art. After viewing a quick presentation on his incredible life, the learners were given a piece of coloured paper. On this the learners were asked to draw a silhoutte of Madiba!
The original idea was for the silhouette of Madiba being decorated with patterns like the colourful shirts he was well known for wearing. Some of the learners drew Mandela so beautifully however that it would be a shame to colour over all their details with paint! They chose rather to add patterned colours to select parts of Mandela.
This was cut out and pasted onto a piece of either white or black paper. For the background, the learners had to think of as many names that Mandela had as possible. They wrote these as well as words or phrases which they associated with Madiba, filling the page with a written texture!
Kids love scraper boards…Actually, even I as a grown up love drawing on a scraper board! It’s like magic. You scratch onto a black surface using a toothpick and beautiful colours appear! And how perfectly this medium which is so instantaneous matches the focus we had which was music! Music is alive only in its own moment and in the next it changes. It also is quite free, allowing learners to make mistakes on their scraper boards and then make it part of the rhythm of their artwork.
The class began with a talk over how artists have been doing artworks of musicians for generations and how rhythm can be shown through an artwork. We then watched a few inspirational videos of some street musicians in action.
Making scraper boards that work properly is a little more difficult. I have tried a few recipes but am yet to find the perfect one. (if you have any ideas for other ones I can try, please let me know!) We first used oil pastels to fill our piece of paper with a variety of colours. The trick is to make sure that every part of the paper is covered!
We then took a mix of black tempera paint and dish-washing liquid and painted over out pages.
I handed out a few reference images for the learners to use for inspiration. These pages featured instruments and passionate musicians at work. Music is a subject in each grade in our school and the learners could also use the musical notes that they knew as well. The learners then made a sketch of what they would do for their final on a piece of newsprint paper.
Lastly we got to the scraping! When finished, the learners were asked to make a border for their artwork and then decorate this using black fine-liner. One or two of the learners used colourful markers for the border as well and this actually turned out well as well!
This project began with a challenge to the grade 6’s. They were asked to do two things that they had not done before. They were asked to firstly draw a horse and secondly, they were asked to do this in pastel!
Pastel is a fun medium for all ages but I think even more for kids as it is expressive and fast! The lesson began with me showing the learners some of the tricks I use to draw a horse, and then the grade 6s began!
They started by doing a quick pencil sketch of the horse. I told them they are wasting their own time if they try put in details in pencil as they won’t be able to see them through the pastel anyway.
They then began to add pastel to their artwork. The dirtiness of pastel made it a bit tough for some of the learners to keep their artwork neat but it is quite a forgiving medium as you can always smudge it away and add other colours to it.
I showed them my sketch that I had done in preparation for the class first and showed them how I quickly sketched in the background and then smudged it so it looked blurred, as though the horse was running. Some of the learners did something similar.
The tough thing about working with pastels in a school environment is working out how to spray them with the toxic fixative. Learners had to go outside all through the lesson and at the end of the lesson we all laid our artworks next to each other outside for a good spray!
Ever since I discovered Klimt I have been excited to do a project on him! His work is beautiful and I knew that the learners would love it! The opportunity came this year when the Grade 6 group set off to tackle this challenge.
It began with a small introduction to Klimt and his work. The learners were then given an A4 piece of white paper and a mirror. They were asked to draw their self portrait onto this piece of paper using pencil.
They were asked to carefully cut out their portrait and given an A3 piece of black paper (220g). They stuck the portrait onto this. Here’s where the fun really started. They were given gold and silver gel pens and asked to decorate the black background! They could also use various paints, including gold and silver. Some mixed the silver paint with one of the colors making a very cool metallic blue or orange!
We began this artwork by looking at the American Pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein.
Lichtenstein is well known for taking images from comic books and replicating them on huge canvases. One way he replicated them was in his use of the Bendai dot (The dots that printers used to use to print comics).
Our grade 6s were asked to do a self portrait in the style of Roy Lichtenstein. This is what they made…
This time at Camps Bay has been an awesome time of learning for me! I had the idea that I wanted to make a stain glass window with one of the grades using perspex as the glass. With help from the good people at Art Source, the internet and through trial and error, I was ready to try out with the learners. The grade 6s were the perfect test subjects. 😉They began by drawing a circular design that used radial symmetry (the repitition of a design around a central point) on paper. They learnt the process of Stain glass window production and were shown the reason for using smaller pieces of colour. They then took an A4 piece of perspex and after taping it to the page with two pieces of tape, they traced the design using permanert marker. They then added colour to the ‘glass’ section using glass glaze paint. Coloured permanent markers can also be used.
The learners found that the glass glaze was quite hard to work with on the perspex as it does not have any grip for the paint. The black marker also didn’t look as dark as one would have liked on the plastic. Despite these small problems, when I asked the class whether they had liked the project there was a unanimous chorus of “YES!!!”
The Scream is an artwork by German Expressionist artist, Edward Munch. It is a well known work and often re appropriated in popular culture. It was the perfect artwork for pre-adolescent learners to look at!
German Expressionist artists attempted to portray their emotions through their art. They were not interested in faithfully coppying reality.In The Scream, Munch released his inner angst about the state of the world and of humanity. Our grade 6 learners face many things that make them angry, sad or scared. This artwork was about getting rid of some of these tensions through art.
After being shown the picture of The Scream by Munch, they were asked to make their own scream picture. The picture must have themselves in it somewhere and be about all those things that bring them down. Beyond these stipulations however, the learners were free to make it their own!
As you can see from these examples, every learner imagined their fears/ worries in a different way. It was very brave of the learners to take on a topic like this but they did it brilliantly!