Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Final Look At Finished Prints!

I am very proud of Maggie's series of wonderful prints and I know she is, too!
Doesn't the print in the upper right corner look like an Impressionist painting?

The work that every student produced as a result of this lesson is interesting to view because of the unique nature of the crayon rubbing technique.  Can you see how the imperfections and irregularities in each print make each finished piece special? You can make multiple prints but each one has it's own hand-made appeal.
 Just by changing the colors the image takes on a different look and overall mood.  Which prints do you like the most?  I tend to like the pictures that have warm colored paints on the architecture. It is also neat that you can keep the printing plate and store it until you want to use it again in the future. 
When this lesson was finished, I was excited to keep working with the theme of architecture! The unit on Exploring Architecture continued with a lesson that proved to be a huge undertaking: each student created a three-dimensional cityscape constructed from recyled plastic parts, cardboard and wood scraps! 
Check back soon to see how that lesson developed...
A close-up of Arden's architecture print created with neutral black crayon and cool colored watercolor paints.

The same architecture print but with neutral brown crayon and warm colored watercolor paints.
Isn't it strange how the whole image changes just by using a different color plan?


Monday, March 28, 2011

Color Theory In Action!

Hannah J. completes her picture which demonstrates her  understanding of contrasting colors.
Devon concentrates on watercolor painting.
It was exciting to see my students discover how having an understanding of simple color theory would make a major difference in the look of their artwork!  They were eager to make color choices that would help their crayon rubbing look as great as it possibly could.  There was quite a bit of trial and error going on as well, and many students asked to re-print their image because their first attempts did not meet their expectations.
   I view the lesson as highly successful because all of the students were able to learn about symmetry, architectural elements, the use of color, and how to use this simple printing technique.  The resulting artwork is fun and colorful, but more importantly, it shows evidence of each student's grasp of the concepts combined with their own ideas!
Alysa's building developed from stacked geometric shapes. It is exciting to create something unique!

Let's Use Warm And Cool Colors!

Darren carefully applies watercolor paints on his wonderful print that features a domed building.

Students made several prints by using the side of a peeled crayon and rubbing it over the raised surface of their plate.  I organized the peeled crayons into three "color families": the warms, the cools and the neutrals. For the purpose of this activity, I narrowed the colors down as follows: warm = red, orange and yellow, cool= blue, green and purple, and neutral=black and brown. I asked students to make two quality prints of their image by using crayons they chose from two of the color families.
In the photo above, we can see that Darren made his print with a purple crayon.  Purple is a cool color so when he began to add watercolor paint to his building he was required to use warm colors.  Using colors from the opposite family guaranteed that the final picture would have a degree of contrast.  In other words, if students matched the paints they used with the crayon they printed with it would be very difficult to see the image because everything would match and lack contrast. He used cool colors in the background area to emphasize the building even more!
In the next post, check out some other pictures of students hard at work adding watercolor paints in warm and cool colors.  Later, make sure to look for some more images of outstanding finished work!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Creating the Printing Plates...

Mary added columns, stairs and a dome to her original building.
Brianna C used several layers of oaktag paper to make a printing plate that shows symmetry.

I began the next unit with an introduction to the use of symmetry as a design element used in architectural forms.  The students were given packets of information and images of a variety of buildings that featured different styles of architecture.  I created a worksheet that asked students to combine several different architectural elements to make a new building all their own.  This rough draft process provided everyone with an opportunity to work out their ideas before beginning to cut and arrange oaktag for the layers of the printing plate. 
Some students found it helpful to use different colors of paper to represent the different layers of the building.  I explained how only the raised areas of their building would print.  This would prove to be true because of the way we would be using a peeled crayon rubbed over the surface of the plate to make a crayon rubbing. 
The students thought that it was interesting that the process of making a rubbing from a raised surface is called "frottage." In french, this word simply means " to rub."  Another name for making a print using this method is called "collograph printing." 
The task of making one's drawing out of layers of paper can be difficult and takes alot of planning and some trial and error.  The students were excited to make prints of their architecture, so everyone worked hard to get through this challenging part of the activity.  The resulting prints are amazing, so check out how our hard work really paid off!

This photo shows how Mary's printing plate produced a detailed and textured image.

Here are the amazing results of a series of prints made by rubbing a peeled crayon over Brianna's printing plate.  The print in the upper left was made with multiple colors of crayons and colored pencils.  The two bottom prints were done with warm and cool colors of watercolor paints.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Texture and Color Add Visual Interest!

Haley's falcon is highly textured with magazine photos to create the look of feathers.

Sophia's cardinal perches gracefully on a branch.

Miranda's bird fills the space with a range of cool blue tones.
Hannah A's female cardinal has feathers that are made of photographs of fabric!
James worked hard to make many areas of overlapping vegetation for his bird to live in!
Matthew S. used a style of collage that combined many tiny pieces of magazine.
Jessica B's image of a mother swan and her baby is one of my personal faves!
And finally, Bronwyn's finch is adorable and well done!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Birds in color!

 Shae is adding a colored pencil background to contrast with the collage on the bird.
 The second lesson in the unit about birds required students to work with the same image in a different way. I thought it would be beneficial for the kids to reproduce their photo using colorful media, so I chose magazine collage and colored pencils. The concept was that through careful observation each bird picture could be created to show a range of values in the full spectrum of color.
Most students found this assignment to be more challenging than the ebony pencil assignment! I think that the results are wonderful and the lesson provided students with a wealth of new techniques as well as information about color theory.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Here come the birds!

Justin C worked very hard to make his bird's wings which were patterned with black and white feathers.
Shaniya's Canadian goose floats through a background that has many textures.  

Rourke made a swan that has a sense of weight, yet is light and airy.
Sakari shows her skills with soft shading and lighter values.
Devon H. explored using darker values to create contrast with his bird.
Patrick L. shows his bird's feet gripping the branch.
Brandon G. created a rough scratchy texture on the branch.
Mackenzie P. shows a range of values in her picture.

I have included some really great drawings that are just a sample of the work the students created for this part of the unit I taught on the theme of "Birds."  These drawings are truly impressive especially when you consider that they were made by seventh graders!  Many of these kids had never learned about the use of ebony pencil to shade a range of values or to create textures in a drawing.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing how each student shows an individual way of using the pencil to achieve a drawing style that is all their own.  The students were surprised by their progress and thrilled with the results of their efforts!