Monday, December 20, 2010

Grandma Moses: An artist for all ages!

All of the seventh grade art classes are working on a group assignment that will result in large-scale landscape paintings inspired by the folk art of famous American painter Mary Anna Robertson Moses.  Born in 1860 in upstate New York,  Mary Anna was the third of ten children .  She lived a good life, surrounded by family and animals on her parent's farm.  Although she worked very hard, she enjoyed using her hands to do everything from making jam, churning butter and making pictures from embroidery yarn.  She married and moved to Virginia where she and her husband had five children and ran their own farm. 
Eventually, her children grew up and Mary's husband passed away.  She realized that she now had enough time in her life to work on her love of making art; she would paint!   Mary was now old, but she was not ready to slow down!  She got her ideas for her paintings from fond childhood memories of the changing seasons and all of the activities that went on at the farm. 
One day a man was traveling through her town and noticed some of Mary's paintings that were on display in the window of the local pharmacy.  He loved the simple subject matter and the use of shape and color in her paintings so he bought them all!  He took Mary's paintings to New York City where he showed them to some friends he had who were important people in the "Art World."  Soon, Anna Mary was known as "Grandma Moses" and she was a popular artist whose work was featured in many art shows.  To meet the demands of collectors, she worked very hard to make as many paintings as possible, even making twenty-six paintings after the age of one hundred! 
Grandma Moses lived to be one hundred and one and her work is still sought after by collectors of folk art paintings.  People appreciate the good times that her work shows and they recognize the special talents of this simple farm wife from upstate New York.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Final worksheet example

This worksheet belongs to Nicole M. and shows all of the thoughtful answers that she gave as she reflected on her artwork.  I require my students to complete final assessments as a way for them to explain their work in greater detail and give evidence of what they've learned beyond the artwork. I am usually surprised to read about the personal meaning behind each picture and I consider these responses carefully in the grading process.

Show me your final four!

Avery did an excellent job with making his personal interests a strong part of his pictures.  I especially love the strong sense of movement that he shows in his second picture of the moment-to- moment motorcycle jump over the road in the desert.  His road trip in picture number three shows unity, which means that all of the parts work together as a whole.  The final picture uses magazine collage and oil pastels to create a pattern.  A pattern is when the artist repeats an object or design in an oganized way. 
It is interesting to note that although the students needed to select only one art principle for each picture, they found that many pictures have more than one art principle used in the composition. 
    Do you see evidence of this in any of Avery's pictures?

Lauren's four pictures are colorful and fun!  The images range from a macaroni dinner, her interest in writing stories about animals, her love of reading and her future plans to visit Paris.  These pictures show the art principles of balance, variety, repetition and unity.  Can you guess which word goes with each picture?

These great pictures belong to Nicole M.  If you would like to see her responses to the questions on the planning worksheet look back a few posts and her worksheet is there.  I am impressed by the details that Nicole was able to fit into these little pictures...equally impressive are the combinations of media!  Check out the close-up of her third picture of an egyptian women in front of a huge pottery jar. Notice the way the collage in the background makes everything really pop!

Pictures showing art principles!

Nicole Q. shows balance in this picture of her favorite meal.

Let's take a closer look at some individual examples of student artwork that show evidence of a strong understanding of the art principles that we learned about.  Each student was required to make four small format pictures, so you are seeing only a sample of their work here.

Maddie P. made this picture about her favorite meal, tacos!  She is showing evidence of the art principle emphasis. In art,  emphasis is the part of the picture where the artist wants the viewer to look.   Here she used magazine collage to create a huge taco while four small guys look at it from the background.   Placing an object right in the center of the picture can be a smart way to create emphasis .  Nicely done, Maddie!

In this picture, Madison Y. is using the art principles of emphasis and repetition.  She made this image in response to the worksheet question that asked about each student's future plans.  She used the graduation cap to symbolize her plans to graduate from college.  She shows evidence of emphasis by making one cap very large and in the middle of the picture.  She uses repetition simply by repeating  a smaller version of the cap many times.  I really like her decision to use tempera paints on the caps and oil pastels for the grass. Good work!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Small Format Assignment

Here is a sample of the planning worksheet that we used to organize our ideas!
 It's second quarter and this is the first lesson that we have completed!  I call this lesson "Working Within a Small Format."  The art assignment is for students to make a series of four small pictures, each only 4 x 6 in size.  For this lesson they learned about important art vocabulary words called the elements and principles of art.   
    The students needed to select four vocabulary words from the list on the back of the worksheet and then demonstrate their understanding of each word by making a picture to illustrate its definition.  The word bank at the bottom of the worksheet asked the students to choose the media that they would create each picture with.  Each media is an art material, and more than one media used together results in a mixed-media work of art! I asked the students to think carefully about how they could combine media to produce different results. 
   Next, everyone drew a rough draft of their four pictures and then used the light table to trace their work onto a white final draft paper.
The light table is a useful tool to save time, but it requires concentration!
Jeremy's work looks awesome with marker outlines!
     Once their final drafts were drawn in pencil, the students moved on to outlining each part with a black sharpie marker. This step was very important because the black outline helped every small detail to really show up !

Selina used oil pastels for her first picture.
    Over the next few class periods, everyone worked hard to add a variety of media to each of their small format pictures.  Some of the media choices included oil pastels, colored pencils, crayons, magazine collage, watercolor paints, and tempera paints.  It was exciting to watch the different ways that each student chose to combine the media to achieve the results that they were looking for!
Caitlyn decided to work on many pictures at once!  Notice the way she is adding collage to her bottom picture.
 Be sure to check back soon to see the end results of this assignment and read about the ways that the students learned about the elements and principles of art!