Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quench Your Thirst With Tints and Shades!

This new lesson developed as I began to shift gears after coming off the great success of the previous unit on using value.  Why not give students even more knowledge about how to use paints to create a painting with a sense of realistic dimension, and do it by following the basic principles of color mixing?  It seemed like a logical jumping off point, and the painting pictured above was ready to be used as our inspiration piece.  I painted that many years ago, in the first Design class I ever took as a Freshman at Rhode Island College.  The professor had us draw a simple composition of objects from home: my objects were a garlic press and a cardboard jewelry box.  From there, we selected one color and were told to mix tints and shades of that color.  The painting is large, more than 18x24, and is painted with tempera paints on an old piece of mat board.  
I thought that my students would enjoy seeing it so I used it as an example of a limited color palette, and brainstormed different themes that I thought would work well for mixing tints and shades.   I came up with the idea of challenging my students to invent a prototype painting for a new and exciting beverage.  Their drink must come in a cylinder-shaped can, could be carbonated or non-carbonated, and must be 100% original in design and concept.  
We discussed the concept of planning and designing before a product is actually sent into production.  Why would someone want to buy this new drink?  What makes it different from other drinks already on the market?  Who would the drink be marketed to?  What would it taste like?  All of these questions were answered on a planning worksheet where students worked on sketching their ideas as well.
I did a demonstration of mixing tints and shades of one color, and we used paper palettes to minimize the clean up.  An artist tints a color by adding varying amounts of white to it, thereby making a range of lighter values of the color.  On the other hand, a shade is made by adding black to the color.  These darker values work well as shadows and to create contrast with the lighter tints.  
The following photographs show a variety of different beverage can designs, all made using tints and shades of one color of tempera paint.  Each painting is 12x18 and was painted by an 8th grade student in one section of my third quarter Visual Arts class.  I always encourage my students to have a sense of humor when they create their art; if something speaks to you, why not speak to us and leave a comment!

Hannah P. decided that the black panther would be a great image to emphasize the element of speed that goes so well with her drink,"Zoom"! It's not easy to keep the yellow paint from becoming totally contaminated once you introduce the black and start to mix shades, but she sure did a super job!

Haley's drink let's you change your hairstyle with just a sip! We agreed that this product would certainly appeal to teenagers who are always looking to mix it up and experiment with the latest trends!  I also like the way that the design on the can appears to have the same shape as a long hairstyle with a center part.  That's fun!

How cool is this...a drink that let's you speak a language fluently and it comes in a variety of flavors.  This one is "Arabic Apple", and I bet the other flavors are just as appealing.  I wish I could've had a can of "Spanish Strawberry" Fluentcy when I was in Mexico!

Ever have a day where you have something important to do, but your confidence isn't very high?  You could take a sip of Megan's  beverage, "Yes!" and be on your way to renewed confidence.  I like the slogan on the top of the can, " Courage in a Can." The funny thing was that I had a student in another class whose beverage was called "No!" It was for people who wanted to stay in a bad mood! 

Here is a can of Giggling Grape Slap Happy Soda, designed by the always entertaining and talented Nicole M. from Period 2.  Nicole is well on her way to mastering the use of tints and shades, and she did a great job using a variety of both throughout the picture.  The little ' finger notches" designed as a part of the can are also super creative and practical for the user.  You rock, and I'm impressed, Nicole!

Breanna C. from Period 5 came up with this unusual banana-flavored beverage, "Super Wings."  
Let's hope it isn't carbonated, because a fizzy banana might make me have to lie down, not lift me up like the slogan promises!  I like his wings and the top hat perched on his stem!

Okay, so I teach in a Junior High and unfortunately my students know about the lifestyle of the cast of the popular show, "Jersey Shore".  Tanning is a way of life for some, although I can not understand the appeal of asking for premature wrinkles.
 If only you could "Get your tan on" like this poster says just by downing a tasty can of orange-flavored "Instant Tan"!  Does that mean that your organs are tan too, since it must tan you from the inside out?  Any way you look at it, Nicole Q. did an excellent job with using tints and shades of orange paint.  Now if she can figure out the chemistry of how to really make this product she'd be sure to sell a ton of it in New Jersey!

Another lovely painting done in tints and shades of purple.  This one is for a product called "Top Coat" and was designed and created by the lovely Danika W. from Period 2.  I bet ladies would reach for a can of this purple pleasure whenever they were in the mood to effortlessly change their nail polish.  I noticed that she worked very hard on getting the value changes as graded as possible and then she added the lettering, images and slogan write on top.  Her work is top notch!
Remember to leave a comment if you have enjoyed seeing these images! Your feedback is what encourages me to keep writing and documenting all of the lessons I teach in Room 9!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Unit Completed! Monochromatic Watercolor Spheres

Many years ago I took a college level watercolor painting class where I had painted a series of monochromatic pictures.  The stylized swan above is one of them, and it is painted with a range of values in Payne's gray paint.  I was inspired to give my students an opportunity to use watercolor paints, diluted in different concentrations to create values from light to medium to dark.  I wanted to build directly on the shading skills that they had already practiced, so when I came across this print by printmaker M C Escher, the idea of painting a group of spheres really made sense. 

I loved the way that the spheres were floating across the composition.  The kids were inspired by the sense of realism that the contrasting values created.  I asked them to draw five circles of various sizes on  a sheet of 12 x 18 paper.  I did a demonstration of how to use the watercolor paints to create different values depending on the amount of water that was used.  I also showed them the difference between wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry, and we discussed the pros and cons of each technique.  My students were familiar with using the Crayola watercolor ovals in the tray, but for this lesson we used tube paints.  The students enjoyed using these richly pigmented paints, and were highly motivated to paint their spheres.
Here is a small sample of a few of the finished paintings.  This lesson proved to be a wonderful ending to a successful unit about using value. I hope you enjoy viewing our work!

Period Five student Molly L. made her circle composition have a lot of overlapping.  This made it even more challenging to paint, but she did an awesome job when she defined each sphere by using strong shadows and bright highlights.  Good work!

David M. experimented with using the wet-on-wet technique for this picture.  By pre-wetting the paper and them painting on top of it you get a loose, watery effect.  I like the way that he managed to keep his brights white!  This was also very challenging to do!

The lime green paint provided its own challenges, since the pigment tended to separate and become almost grainy in appearance if it became overworked.  This painting by Mackenzie E. shows how she created contrast by using the opposite value around the outside of each sphere.  You can see this where there is a light area on the sphere and a dark value in the background around it.  Beautiful work!

Arden B. from period 1 had extra space and added a sixth circle to her composition.  I like the way that she has a large amount of background area.  She clearly established a light source from the right of the picture as evidenced by the strong shadows to the left of each sphere. 
 Anya also used six sphere in this image, and I really like the range of sizes that make up her composition.  The two small spheres remind me of the way that Escher used his sphere in the exemplar in this post.  A difficult and successful solution to this assignment!