Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Observing Indian Corn: Compositions Show Repetition!

For this lesson, my students were required to view real ears of Indian corn and identify the parts of the corn.  The kernels are repeating rows of ovals, the husk is crunchy and textural, the corn silk is thin and
linear.  The ear of corn is one big oval.  We also looked at a handout I made with several different close-up views of all sorts of corn in various compositions.  It was fun to see the natural variety that each image showed; for example, some of the kernels were in irregular rows, the colors varied in each ear, and each kernel had a strong highlight.   


Everyone made four pencil sketches of ideas for compositions inspired by the shapes they observed in the corn. I stressed that they needed to design a composition that used some part(s) of the real corn, but also demonstrated a strong use of repetition. Then we selected the best one to re-draw on a 12 x 18 white paper.  I explained that they would need to add heavy crayon coloring to all parts of the drawing except the background.  We would be completing their pictures as a crayon resist.  Heavy coloring applies a good layer of wax so that it can repel the diluted tempera paint that we would cover the image with.  If I did this lesson again, I would reduce the size of the paper because the coloring was quite time-consuming and the kids' hands were hurting by the end of the lesson!
Check out these very different images that were all inspired by corn! These were all designed by my 8th Grade Visual Art students.
I love how the picture above has a "batik" look to it!
Ovals inspired by kernels float across the background while a "husk-inspired" group of shapes flows across the composition like flames!
"Hey dude, what do you think of my psychedelic corn?"  I think it is creative and original!
Multiple ears of corn work to make an interesting overlapping composition.  Great use if different green values and multi-colored kernels.
I thought this one was very cool; kind of like rivers floating around the other parts of the corn.
The negative spaces were filled in with the paint at the end of the lesson.  I love the contrast with the vivid colors of the kernels!
This one sure has a strong use of repetition!  Jared S. from period 3 used rows of ovals with a consistent light source.  Some students finished early so they made a simple frame with a pattern that used real dried corn as part of the design!
One final piece of student art by Sara M. in period 1.  I love her color choices and the vertical composition.  She really worked hard on this and it paid off!