Monday, January 23, 2012

Cool Characters From Creative Kids!

So here are the rest of the sculptures that I photographed!  This lesson was a big hit with students and teachers and I hope that those of you in the "virtual" community are enjoying these pictures, too!  I never  let you know that they are quite large; some are over a foot in height and nearly that in width!

Hmmm....this sculpture needs to be explained due to its highly unusual subject matter.  Well, I encourage my students to have a sense of humor about their work and Matthew W. didn't disappoint!  Here is his bust of an anthropomorphic snake, a hooded cobra to be exact, and he's wearing a "hoodie" sweatshirt!  Not only was this hilarious to me and the rest of the class, but Matt's craftsmanship stands out from the crowd.  Notice the strings on the sweatshirt, and he even added a fabric hood on the back of the sculpture and a thin red tongue that sticks right out!  It doesn't get much more creative than this fella!

Here is Matt's very cool mixed-media portrait done in sepia tones.  This image served as the inspiration for the sculpture.

 Then we have this lovely character of a cheetah dressed in a hot pink kimono!  You may be wondering what the supports are underneath the shoulder area.  This sculpture was having technical difficulties in the construction phase, so we used a large cardboard spool to wedge it into for stability.  The student artist, Donita, plastered right over it and it became part of the sculpture.  It looked neat and it made the sculpture stable; now that's what I call having form and function!
The flowers were cut and hot glued on from fabric remnants.
Avery, in Period 1 made this bust of a "mystery" animal; certainly a mammal, perhaps a mule, deer, horse or other four-legged beast.  I love the basketball shirt, and the way he is painted in a range of gray values.  I offered this painting method as an alternative to using color, but most of the students headed straight to the more colorful paints. I think this looks great, and this guy's expression is a cross between shock and amazement.  Check out the second view below.
"What you looking at, people?  It's like you've never seen a mule in a basketball uniform before."

Okay, so you thought the snake sculpture was the most creative because I told you it was, right?  Well we can't forget to check out this "Royal Gorilla" created by Austin J.  from Period 3.  He certainly has an excellent abstract quality that I just can't resist, and his wealth is apparent thanks to the enormous gold crown on his head.  But wait, the back view is so impressive that you need to see it for yourself to believe it...

What swagger this guy has as he tosses his flowing robes to the side and proceeds to walk to wherever he's walking.  Could there be a "Gorilla Queen" just around the corner?  Only Austin can tell you, but I can say that we were pretty psyched with the way this sculpture turned out!
That's all for now!  Feel free to share this work with someone who would get a kick out of it... Just be sure to tell them where you saw it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Big Reveal: 3-dimensional Portraits!

Check out these super cool finished sculptures made by my 8th Grade Visual Arts students! Please go back to the beginning of the unit on "Sepia Tones" to see how I came up with this lesson!  After reading this post, check out the posts in the blog archive in the right sidebar.  Here you can see the whole unit and get the full story about how these sculptures came about.  You can see tons of photos of works in progress as well as descriptions of each step along the way!

This is the finished sculpture that I showed you a photo of in the post before this.  It is a lady-like stork, holding a bouquet of red flowers.  The sculptures were base-coated with a dark acrylic paint, then we added oil pastels all over the surface of the work to make it textural and colorful.  
Zachary D. made a young owl who is suited up for St. Patrick's Day!  He formed everything out of newspaper that was squished into simple forms, then taped with masking tape.  The hat is newspaper on top and chip board covered with plaster craft forms the base .  It was hot-glued on after everything was painted.  This little guy is loaded with personality, wouldn't you agree?
This is one of my favorites!  Casey worked so hard on her sculpture of this frog dressed in formalwear, and we were all impressed with the amazing outcome!  I love her color choices because the colors are so vibrant next to the green tones of the frog's skin.  The bow tie is fabric, but everything else was carefully constructed from newspaper, plaster craft, acrylic paint ( base coat) and oil pastels.  
Samantha made this amazing "Military Buck" all decked out in his traditional uniform.  He is a "bust" in the truest sense of the term , since the form ends at the "bustline".
Anthony uses a small brush as he adds another color to his sculpture of a bear in Native American-inspired costume.
Maddie C. did a great job choosing colors that helped all of the details really "pop" on her sculpture of a duckling.  It is always a joy to see a student who is pleased with the results of a lot of hard work!

  I hope that you find the work to be inspiring!  Although this lesson was tons of work, the kids really enjoyed the process of starting with an idea, rendering it in two dimensions and transforming it into a 3-dimensional work of art! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Animal Portraits Inspire Sculptural Busts!

Here is a sampling of works in progress made by students in Period 5. Look carefully and you'll see everything from two elephants, a donkey, a shark and a frog.  Read the post below to hear about how we made these large plaster sculptures!
Angel had to figure out how to keep her sculpture of a stork from tipping over with all of the "beak weight" in the front of the head!  We ended up inserting the neck into a cardboard tube with a round base to add stability.
Emma L. works on applying plastercraft strips over the newspaper forms of her work, a Canadian goose! Eventually this sculpture ended up with additional cardboard supports to keep it upright and represent the top of the wings.
Brandon G. did a wonderful job constructing the forms for his sculpture of a "Gangsta Rat", complete with  a baseball hat and difficult to construct open mouth.

We were all psyched about the awesome results of the sepia tone animal portrait lesson! So, after  considering the interest level of the kids, I decided to move forward by expanding the unit to include a 3-dimensional version! I found many photos of various "busts" which are sculptural portraits of people and animals.  I borrowed a plaster bust in a classical style to illustrate the 3-dimensional qualities of the assignment.  One of my students brought in a full size bust of Thomas Jefferson.  This was helpful because it was finished with a great looking aged bronze patina and had wonderful clothing, too.
The construction for our sculptures included compressing newspaper forms by simplifying each shape from the drawing in each student's animal portrait.  A head might start as a sphere or an oval, chipboard ears could be added with masking tape and then attached to another oval for a neck. The sculpture would end at the shoulders, so this area would serve as a base.
 I stressed the importance of regularly checking to make sure that the sculpture could stand once assembled. If it had trouble remaining upright then we problem-solved using empty tape rolls and other pieces of cardboard to form a base and eliminate instability.
 We went through a lot of masking tape and we even ran out of newspaper, but soon enough, everyone had all of their parts made!  It was time to begin to cover the newspaper forms with layers of plaster craft.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mixed-Media Anthropomorphic Portraits

This is an exceptional anthropomorphic portrait created by Ethan M.   It shows an owl dressed in a clown costume complete with an amazing neck ruffle and undersized hat.  Ethan has amazing drawing skills as you can see in the owl's face, but it was exciting to watch his skills develop while using mixed- media and collage techniques.  This image has some glare mostly because of the very cool leather-like texture he made with tissue paper and acrylic medium in the background. Can you tell that many of the lighter  tones were created with masking tape?
I really love the way that Sophia D. made the mane on this portrait of a young lion! It is so full and has layers of value changes and different overlapping textures.  The rich darkness of the chocolate brown sepia tone background help all of these areas to show clearly.  This image looks a lot like a candid shot, rather than a studio portrait.  Maybe one of his friends snapped his picture with a cell phone!
Emma V. was inspired by the art of ancient Egypt when she created this awesome portrait of a "cow goddess."   The background really radiates from light to dark and this adds a sense of drama to the portrait. It is great to see how all of the students showed evidence of their understanding of contrast by making important choices about having light areas next to darker areas.  Notice the way that the white dress "pops" against the darker watercolor paint background?  Check out the wonderful textures that she has on her accessories and fur, too!

This monkey makes me laugh!  Nathan made a teenager who has a laid-back style all his own; Just wearing a t-shirt and backwards hat as he stares at the viewer.  His eyes are almost hypnotic!  I like the way Nathan combined all sorts of wet and dry media when he considered which sepia tones to place in each area of the image.  Nicely done!
Sydney's grandma goose is wearing a cardigan and a sun hat.  I bet she is off to church in one of the southern states, don't you agree?  The great part of creating anthropomorphic portraits is that each character really came to life by the type of clothing the students dressed them in as well as the facial expression they added.  This profile view allows the viewer to see the length of the beak, which I think is important if you draw a goose!

Kate made a teenage brown bear who is going to her prom.  I love the subtle changes in value on the areas of chalk pastel on the face.  It was hard to fit such a full-figured lady in a dress with a sweetheart neckline!  Well done!  Did you notice that this portrait is in a three-quarter view? 

Lisa's lion is a formal guy all dressed up in a suit, tie and hat with ear-holes! Can you locate and identify the seven different art materials that are included in this piece?