Monday, February 28, 2011

Adding a range of values

Once each student had demonstrated that they could successfully complete a value scale, they looked at their bird photo and began to draw the contour of the bird and any background objects in the photo. The contour is the outside shape where the line bends to create the edge of the object.  The students used a regular school pencil and then had the choice of ebony pencil, school pencil or both as they began to add a range of values.
Here we can see Madelaine using an ebony pencil to add values to her drawing.  We can also see Jessica B's completed value chart on the side of the picture.

Cool powerpoint about pencil value

I taught the students how to use an ebony pencil to make different light, medium and dark gray tones.  The students used their pencils to complete an exercise called a "Value Scale."  A value scale requires the artist to use different amounts of pressure when shading to produce the lightest light all the way to a very dark gray that is almost black.  This simple exercise is a great way for students to practice shading and control since they need to stay inside the small boxes.
    I found this simple, but very cool powerpoint on the web.  I do not know who to give the credit for making it, but someone did a nice job of illustrating the concept of creating pencil values.  I hope you enjoy it, and let me know what you think! Just click on this address, then click on the link in the list that says pencil value assignment.  You need to have powerpoint on your computer to view the presentation.


Choose a Bird...

   I have always really loved to watch birds and I find them to be great subject matter for drawings and paintings.  I decided that I would create a new unit where students would be asked to look closely at the shapes, textures and colors of real birds.  Someone gave me a set of note cards that feature colorful close-up photos of several different birds.  These cards became the perfect starting point for our exploration of birds as an inspiration for artwork. Some of them are pictured above.
   Look carefully at these photos to see if you can match them to the student drawings that will be included in upcoming posts!  I will include drawings from different students who used the same bird photo.  I want to point out that only one student from each class was permitted to select each bird.  In other words, each student had their inspiration photo to study closely during each class period.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Who Are These People?

In this self-portrait Ethan looks shy.

Here is a group of some of the finished self-portraits.  I was very impressed with the high level of technique the students demonstrated when they were blending the oil pastels.  I also think that it is interesting to see where each student decided to apply Model Magic to add details and interest to specific areas of their picture.  Overall, this lesson was a great success because the students were very motivated to create a self-portrait in unusual colors with a variety of art media.  Well done!
Ashlee's shirt has a great pattern!

Madison P. looks like she's got alot on her mind. What could she be thinking about?
Jacob used Model Magic in many areas.
 Don't you love his glasses and the strings on his hoodie?

Nicole M. limited her color scheme.  This helped to create a sense of unity in her picture.
Her portait looks comfortable within this environment.

Emily's work looks like it could walk out of the paper!
Mackenzie did a wonderful job using contrasting colors!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Model Magic Mania!

When the students were done applying warm and cool oil pastels to all parts of their portraits, they selected a background paper and attached their work to it.  These backgrounds were from discarded wallpaper books and offered a variety of textures, patterns, and designs to contrast with the artwork.  The students used a low temp hot glue gun to attach small recycled sponges to the back of the portrait and then glued the portrait to the background paper.  The sponges allowed a two inch space to remain between the art and the background.  We all enjoyed seeing the portraits "pop out" thanks to this simple technique! 
Finally, it was time to work with the Crayola Model Magic!  I demonstrated how the white Model Magic could be colored with markers and then kneaded to make a new color.  Students applied small pieces of Model Magic to accent parts of their portraits.  The addition of this material really added to the three-dimensional look of the project.  Highlights in the hair, details in the eyes, and patterns on the clothing were great choices for places to add Model Magic. Students used a thin line of white glue and placed their pieces right on top to dry.
In the picture above we see Seth, Emma, Evan and Maddy using a variety of Model Magic techniques!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Adding Warm and Cool Colors....

The students were anxious to add color to their self-portraits!  I had them complete a worksheet with two color wheels to help familiarize them with using the oil pastels. They were asked to fill in the first color wheel by blending one oil pastel  in each of the sections that were labeled with a specific color.  On the second color wheel, they had to experiment with mixing the colors in between the solid colors to create a new color.  For example, if the left section was red, and the right section was orange then the middle section would result in red-orange. I reminded the students to keep a clean paper towel at their work table so they could wipe off their fingers. This helped each color stay clean and uncontaminated.  I explained that the two color families they were working with were the warm colors and the cool colors. I demonstrated that when the color wheels were horizontally divided in half the warm colors were at the top and the cool colors were at the bottom. 
Once the color wheels were completed I was confident that the students had demonstrated that they understood the basics of using oil pastels. They were eager to move on to coloring their portraits, and I encouraged them to make personal choices about where they would use each color. Many students mentioned the movie, "Avatar" and wanted to use cool colors on their skin.  Other students discussed how some colors could be used to add "feelings" to their self-portraits.  Red, for example, could make a person look angry or mean while green might make it look like the person was feeling sick! I reminded them that they could use the colors any way they chose as long as both color families were used somewhere in their image.
In this picture we see Vanessa using warm colors on the skin and cool colors in the hair.  Notice the way that she has achieved a nice blend of colors within the same color family.  This adds volume to the face and makes her picture look less flat.

Contour Line Self-Portraits!

For the next lesson in this unit, the students were asked to use the tabletop mirrors to look closely at themselves and draw a self-portrait.  They drew with a pencil and tried their best to use one continuous contour line.  When the portraits were drawn they outlined the pencil with a black sharpie marker and erased any pencil that was peeking out from under the marker line. The students enjoyed drawing themselves, and they really concentrated on doing a great job since it was a portrait that represented them! 
This picture shows Madison P. using the mirror to create an accurate representation of her image on the tan chipboard.  Madison's finished self-portrait will be included in a future post, so be sure to look for it!