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 4 – Peter Clarke Collage

01The grade 4 learners were introduced to British artist, Peter Clarke. Clarke creates artworks primarily of animals by building an image out of cut and torn pieces of magazines, newspapers, maps and other found material.clark_swissmiss.jpg

The grade 4s had to begin by choosing an animal (there were reference pictures of many different animals available). They then had to begin by drawing the base shape of their animal onto a piece of newspaper and cut it out. Onto this they could build up colours and textures using other, cut or torn, pieces of paper. Finally they could add extra detail using kokis.

Grade 4 – Where the wild things are!

02“Where the wild things are” is a well known book by Maurice Sednak. It’s a beautifully illustrated story about a little boy who is misbehaving and so gets sent to his room where he travels in his own imagination to a land of giant, horrendous, beautifully drawn creatures. I got this idea for the project from The lost sock.

The learners began by watching a youtube narrated telling of the book where the illustrations were shown. We then looked at the illustrations in closer detail. It was easy to see that the illustrator had combined different animals to make the new beasties.

Learners first had to write the names of 9 different animals they liked and then try and combine them in 3 different concept sketches of 3 different creatures!

We then looked at textures and how to create them using pencil crayons. The learners were encouraged to use a lighter colour (such as yellow) as the base and a darker colour (such as orange) for the textures. I loved this as many of the resulting pictures had far more life then what I had seen before.

Finally they drew their final creature on an A3 paper. I hadn’t planned on making a background as well but the learners did and it definitely added a lot! So we went with that… 😛

Grade 5 – Collagraph

Collagraphing is a printing process where an artist sticks various things onto a flat plate and then uses this (now bumpy plate) to print from.

Our grade 5s were asked to first do a creative excercize around the idea of “Adventure is out there!” They first did a random association excercise where they had to come up with related concepts before doing a brainstorm. From these, they came up with an idea for their final image.

They each got a small block of cardboard where they drew their idea in pencil. Taking extra cardboard they cut out some of their idea and built it onto the initial board so that it stuck out. We then went outside and looked for other things to stick onto our boards. Some of the learners boards looked like an artwork in themselves!

We then used tempera paint to ‘ink’ them up and printed from them! Though the prints often don’t come out as the learners expected them to, they were very beautiful. We all really enjoyed this project. I kept a few of the inked up printing plates as they looked very cool themselves! Initially we just used one colour and painted only those bits we had stuck on but found that painting different sections in different colours also looks cool and painting the entire base board can also look nice!

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