Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Here is a summary of the first unit that I taught to my second semester 8th gradeVisual Art students. The unit is about introducing them to the use of grayscale and value. We completed a series of four exercises; each of the exercises taught a specific skill and the skills built upon each other. Please check back soon to see the very cool monochromatic paintings that the kids did after learning about value. I broadened the theme to include tints and shades of one color, too. The unit was a great success and I am really loving having a full ninety days of art with my students this year! What a difference it makes when it comes to teaching themes in depth, versus just touching upon a concept and moving on due to lack of time. I hope that my school system will keep this format next year since it really allows me to share even more great art information with my kids!
The photos above show two views of part of a large bulletin board in my art room, Room 9. I decided to arrange the information in a flow chart as you can see by the black construction paper arrows. Each part of the board reviews a key term or fact about value, which is the range of lights, mediums and darks. The display runs left to right horizontally, but to fit it into the blog, I have it shown top to bottom.
The first exercise that the students completed was to shade a value scale using an ebony pencil. I like to teach this exercise where you fill in the darkest value first, almost black and adjust the pressure applied to the pencil so that each sample is gradually lighter until the final box is almost white. This beginning exercise teaches the students to take their time to complete a range of pencil values that are smooth and texture-free. I had the students store their work in a paper portfolio because it was easier to house all of the exercises in one area. Also, it was much easier to have everything together when I graded the work, since I could see individual progress by viewing each student's work as a series.
For the second exercise I had students select an abstract composition of a black and white magazine picture. I had the images ready to go, so all the kids needed to do was choose on to draw. The photo above shows a small magazine picture of a close-up of a men's watch. The concept was to have students enlarge the composition and then use the ebony pencil to create a range of values. They were asked to be as accurate as possible and to use at least five lights and darks. The most challenging part of the exercise was the enlargement of the photo! Once the image was drawn, most of the students did an awesome job shading their picture. The image above was drawn and shaded by 8th grader Devon H.
The third exercise required students to experiment with using a small piece of a peeled black crayon to shade a sphere. I demonstrated how to use a compass to draw a circle and them how to hold the crayon to make a rubbing for some areas. Other parts of the circle were made by holding the peeled crayon in a more upright position. Ultimately, the students needed to figure out a way that they could use the peeled crayon to create values that could be placed to create the illusion of roundness. This meant that they would need to leave a highlight, some medium values on the body of the circle, a shadow and a cast shadow. By varying the pressure, this was possible, but would require concentration and skill! The students pleasantly surprised me with the focus they gave to trying to shade their spheres. This exercise also introduced the concept of creating contrast, which would become very important in upcoming lessons.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
|Hey! This isn't a landscape! No it isn't, but it will make more sense when you see the next picture....|
Sunday, February 5, 2012
|Megan's collage uses a combination of vivid bright colors and rich deep colors. The resulting contrast is fun to view because there is a path for the viewer's eye to follow through the bend of the road. Now that's what I call a bend in the road!|
|8th Grade Visual Art student Donita made this colorful collage from cut and torn magazine pictures. I especially like the tiny shadow under the vehicle and the great sense of depth and space in the composition.|
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Sakari worked hard to shade a range of values with an ebony pencil on this awesome drawing of a very cool tree. I especially like the intricate branching pattern and the delicate leaves that are shaded with a very dark value.
So it's hard to believe that we have reached the last unit for my first semester students. In other words, the school year is half over! It has been a very fast year full of new lessons and experimentation. I decided to end the class with a unit all about "Landscapes".
The unit consisted of a series of small assignments that I asked the students to store in a paper portfolio. After completing all four lessons, they self-assessed and then received written feedback from me. Of course, along the way we had tons of discussions about works in progress. I am including several examples of the different lessons, all landscapes, but each with a different emphasis. I hope you enjoy viewing this work! Please leave a comment if you have any questions or feedback!
Leah had a challenging picture of the sand dunes in the desert. It was very important that she use very strong dark values to contrast with the lighter areas. This helps to create the illusion of hills and shadows. She did an excellent job!
I really like the sense of space that this picture by Brian J. has. Notice the very small trees in the distance, and the stormy sky with a lightning storm!