Perspective is a tough thing to teach. This is in part because of all the different ways that an artist can use to show depth in a picture. One of these ways is atmospheric perspective. This is the way that things loose contrast and clarity over distance.
In this project the grade 5s had to achieve atmospheric perspective using charcoal. The learners loved working with the messy medium! The learners had to have a moon somewhere in the background. They could use chalk pastel to give this moon some colour. They greyed out the sky using willow stick charcoal and sketched in the foreground figure as well as mid ground details (if any).
They then made the figures in the front as dark as possible using compressed charcoal. We loved this project! I would have loved to have more of the images to show as they all turned out beautifully!
Some more dragon eyes from the grade 5s! I did this project a few years ago and really enjoyed it. The learners were pushed to recreate the dragon’s scaly texture as well as being taught about the mechanics of an eye.
We drew it first in pencil with shading. Over this we used water colour. Finally we used fineliner to add to the contrast in essential areas.
Tortoises are such useful animals…From an art teaching point of view that is. Their patterned shells and scaly skins are wonderful implements for teaching learners about texture and pattern!
This project was a very simple one that I found in Santam’s creative art manual. After studying and discussing various images of tortoises, the learners had to draw a tortoise using stick and ink. They could not start in pencil. This was a bit of a challenge for them as they usually start off with the very forgivable medium of pencil.
They had to include such things as the scaly texture on the legs and patterns on the shell. They then took a watered down ink and used brushes to give their tortoises a variety of greys.
Finally they took oil pastel to create a beautiful and interesting background scene. I told them that I didn’t just want grass and sky but to use their imaginations and surprise me!
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!
Andy Warhol was an artist that I felt my grade 7s could connect with. He was an art superstar from the last century who was super controversial and super interesting. We began this lesson with an intro to Warhol and his work and watched a pretty cool short clip that I found on youtube, showing Andy working on his Marilyn Monroe screen print artwork. This (and other similar artworks) was to form the basis of this art project.
I had already printed out black and white photocopies of all of the staff of Camps Bay Primary that we use in front of the office. Each learner was given one printout. The learners could use various techniques to edit each printout by adding colour and darkening lines. The first technique used by most of the learners was using oil pastel over the black and white face/hair etc. of the member of staff and then taking tissue paper and removing as much of it as possible. What you get is a softer colour that remains on the white areas of the page but where the black is printed, it cannot be seen.
Following Warhol’s style, the learners were encouraged to use bright colours and bold lines. They painted the background behind their member of staff using solid colour. They were then given two square pieces of cardboard, one coloured/black and the other slightly larger one, white. They used these to make a funky border for their artwork.
There was a little uncertainty about whether the staff would be happy to have the artworks up in the school exhibition but they were very supportive! The project was great fun.