Grade 7 – Keith Haring

I discovered Keith Haring a number of years ago and have been looking forward to doing a project on him ever since! He was a rebelious artist who stood for many important but controversial topics in ways that sometimes made the authorities a little unhappy.

His style is simple to do but also has great scope for creative interpretation. The learners were first introduced to Haring as well as the use of rhythm as a principle of design. They were then given a white piece of paper on which they were asked to make a silhouette of themselves…this soon changed to a silhouette of something that is meaningful to them. 06The filled this with different small, living and moving characters. They did this first in pencil before adding colour. It was up to the learners to use their own creativity to add whatever they wanted to finish off these artworks!


Grade 7 – Poster design

It was that time of year again…play time for the grade 7s.

By ‘play time’ I obviously mean the well worked out and very impressive dramatic productions that the grade 7s do each year. This year they were going to be covering a number of well known musicals such as Greece, West side story, Annie and Mary Poppins through the eyes of a wandering pair that get lost during a dance to the ‘time warp’.

The grade 7s put a lot of work into these plays and they are always worth watching! Last year I had a little bit of difficulty fitting the grade 7s artwork in with their rehearsals so this year I decided: “If you can’t beat em’, join em’.” I introduced the learners to a bit of poster design, more particularly, movie poster design. They were also introduced to the concepts of Emphasis, Contrast, Balance and Scale/proportion. These are a few of the principles of design that help to make art effective. They then had to make a poster for one of their plays!

The lesson began with a bit of a brain storm and thumbnail sketching as the learners tried to come up with a unique idea. I was very impressed with what came out of the learners! They then chose their favorite idea and got down to making.

A few of the ideas were very clever and allowed a successful poster to be made very quickly. Others had to have more time spent on them but still resulted in beautiful work! We then stuck the posters up around the school to advertise the plays.

Grade 6 – Perspective

03I 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.07060109

Grade 5 – Matisse cut and paste

Matisse was a very versatile artist. Though he is most well known for his Fauvist works, he was also a realist painter in his younger days and a very experimental ‘cut and paste’ artist in his twilight years.

I originally discovered this project on the fantastic page deep space sparkle. It was a very nice project! It was pretty simple and the outcome was some beautiful artwork!

The lesson began with a brief introduction to Henri Matisse. I showed his art through the ages and talked about his influence on the direction that fine art went. I then showed some examples of the project and explained what the learners would be doing.

The lesson begins with the learners taking pieces of coloured paper, cutting into shapes and creating a background with them. I explained how these pieces of paper must be quite large so they don’t distract from the figure and how they should not be just horizontal and vertical as this does not communicate movement – and we wanted our dancers to be moving! To introduce the figure, I had precut pieces of black paper for a head, torso, pelvis, upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs as well as feet and hands. I called the learners up to arrange this on a piece of board using press stick so that the figure was dancing.

The learners then worked on their own artworks. As usual they took what I told them and pushed it far further than I had imagined! A few of them I had to remind about adding clothing and extra details to increase the look of the work.

Grade 4 – Elephant Mandalas

03This was a simple but very fun project that the grade 4s loved!

I introduced the class to Mandalas (or rather refreshed their memories from a grade 3 project we had done the previous year). I showed the class various elephant mandalas as well as one I had done myself. I then gave them a template of an elephant that I had made in gimp. The one they had didn’t have an ear template though and I think I liked that better as they all made their own shapes. They had to paste their template onto mounting board before cutting it out and designing!

This is the template they used.

How the learners wanted to decorate their elephants was up to them! Their only restrictions were that they needed an eye and an ear. Some of them added things which I hadn’t foreseen as well! We had unicorn elephants and wizards as well as elephants with top hats.:)

Once finished I took them and stuck them on coloured A4 paper for a background. So many beautiful elephants! 😀


Grade 5 – My eye

Kids love drawing eyes! In fact, I would be bold enough to say that most people of most ages love doing pictures of eyes. This project sought to teach learners about drawing of eyes. They had already done a self portrait earlier on in the year and if I were to do this again I would probably swap around which project was done when.

The grade 5s did really well though! The project began with a PowerPoint on eyes in general. They were shown a step by step walk through on one simple to draw an eye. The learners then did a practice drawing of a generic eye.

They were then given a mirror and asked to draw their own eye! They did this in pencil first and then once finished, they added some colour to the iris using watercolours.

We then learned about the Mauri custom of Tamoko (The tattooing of a man’s face and parts of a woman’s face). The learners were allowed to add some designs to what could be seen of their face once finished with their eye.

Grade 6 – Madiba Magic

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!