Sunday, November 27, 2011

Circle Compositions on Fabric: Glue Batik!

Donita's work demonstrates her understanding of repetition, pattern, movement and variety.  She masterfully drew this composition with a drippy bottle of gel glue!  Talk about excellent craftsmanship!

This lesson was inspired by a wonderful tutorial on how to create beautiful fabric art using washable gel glue.   I learned about how to use the glue to make a design that  looks very similar to traditional hot wax batik.  Check out her blog at www.that artist  In her tutorial, Gail showed an example of gel glue batik that was a colorful wall hanging of autumn trees.  I was very inspired by her results and decided to gather the supplies I would need to have my 8th grade art students try this method!

I was very fortunate that on the day I visited  the Rhode Island Recycles for Education center there was a mountain of pre-cut white cotton blend fabric!  I had planned on having to cut up old bed sheets, so this was a great find that certainly made my prep work much easier! I purchased enough fabric for all of my students for under five dollars.  I had some money left from a fundraiser from last year so I purchased the gel glue for about thirty dollars and it was time to teach the lesson.  I made a handout with biographical information about the artists Sonia and Robert Delaunay. This husband and wife team of artists both made many paintings using circles as the main motif.  They greatly influenced each other and it was interesting for the students to try to guess which artist painted each of the exemplar paintings that we looked at.  An example of one of Robert Delaunay's circle paintings is below.

<b>Robert Delaunay</b> : Joie de vivre
For this lesson, I asked my students to make an original composition with a variety of circles and in contrasting colors.  I also stressed the importance of creating movement when they designed their image; the viewer's eye would need to travel throughout the picture.  They completed a series of pencil sketches using overlapping circles, concentric circles, partial circles and repeating circles.  When we were all on the verge of being overwhelmed with all these circles it was time to select our favorites and move on to using glue on the fabric.  Stay posted for some incredible circle compositions done in gel glue batik! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Inspired By Expressionism

This image was painted by a male student in the 8th grade.  His work explored his discomfort with time. He painted the figures inside a close-up view of an hourglass to show that time is constantly bringing us closer to the end of our lives.  He did a great job using different tints and shades of blue in this image.  I still can't believe the level of sincerity, originality and thoughtfulness my students put into this assignment!  All of the images for this lesson are painted on 12 x 18 paper with tempera paints.
The image below was created by an 8th grade female student as she explored her feelings about bullying.  The four figures in the front of the picture have bullied the blue figure who is alone.  She told the class that her work was influenced by the colors Joseph Minton used in his paintings.

This conte sketch and the painting below were created by an 8th grade female student.  She wanted to express her  feelings about child abuse.  She decided to modify her original sketch only slightly, by adding the dolls around the dollhouse.  Notice the big, vacant-looking eyes.  She told me that she did the eyes like this because she saw them in the Kathe Kollwitz images we viewed. I really like her use of a green background with the orange-tone of the figure's skin.  These secondary colors really make the image "pop."

This is the sample painting that I made to show how the cake tempera paints  and conte crayon could be used to create different textures, tints and shades.  I worked from one of my student's ideas about a family who was coping with the loss of their father.  I worked alongside the students and completed the image in about twenty minutes to show them that for this lesson it wasn't necessary to labor over accurate figure drawing.  Instead, our focus was on capturing emotion and establishing the mood of the image.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stirring Up Emotions

Expressionism is an art movement that is all about showing deep feelings and emotions.  For this assignment I challenged students to be more reflective about choosing subject matter; they should be connected to it on a personal level.  We had some great discussions about many social, political and global concerns in today's world.  We looked at the art of German Expressionists Kathe Kollwitz and Edward Munch and it wasn't long before students were able to recognize the charged and thought-provoking themes in the work.

"The Scream" by Edward Munch

I also showed them the work of a contemporary expressionist painter named Joseph Minton.  His work uses a range of colors that are similar to the colors of the cake tempera paints we would use.  I think it is important to show work from contemporary artists, not just artists who are famous or deceased. The students enjoyed reading Minton's statements about the themes, inspirations and process of making his paintings. 

A work by contemporary expressionist artist Joseph Minton
 It was important for the students to make personal choices about their subject matter since the ultimate goal of the assignment would be to show "raw emotion" in their image. The students took this assignment seriously, and their responses are layered, detailed and personal.  Because of this, I will not be listing each student's name in the captions.  Instead, I will give a brief summary about the work as explained by the student artist who created it. Check back soon to see their paintings!