Fifth Graders expressed an interest in learning Japanese and Chinese brush painting techniques after reading about the Chinese painter Wang Yani, who began painting at the age of 3.
Our theme in Fifth Grade Art is observation. We can use any media as a tool with which to exercise our observation skills, so why not sumi-e? I normally teach these techniques to younger children, so working with the same materials with older artists is a whole new (and very exciting) experience.
We begin with a peaceful attitude and an organized and orderly work station. Fifth Graders are experts at respecting one another's peace and the need for quiet to promote concentration. These techniques require focus and a great deal of practice to master. We painted pages and pages of bamboo leaves before beginning our first compositions.
This student's work has sparked an idea for how we will proceed with this exploration. It will be a great way to do quick figure studies.
The Fifth Graders will be traveling with sketchbooks this year in order to visually record their observations while on field trips. Beginning next week, we will try modeling poses for one another in order to practice capturing figures in action. I can hardly wait!
Today in Kindergarten we read Mouse Paint. These Kindergartners are sharp and well-informed. They already knew all about what those mice were getting into! After reading about color mixing and discussing what we already knew... we looked at some of Joan Miro's paintings and decided that not only did he know about primary colors and how to mix them to make other colors, but he probably also knew how to play the shapes game!
TIME TO GET TO WORK!
The first thing we did was admire our mud paintings from last week. Then I gave a little demonstration. I drew a picture of myself using the shapes that I knew and liked. Then I added other members of my family. I turned my paper to make sure that the figures over-lapped and floated into each other. Then I received a palette containing red, yellow, blue and white paint. Using primary colors first, I painted a few areas of my picture in each of the colors. Then I began mixing paint to see what would happen. I painted in the rest of the shapes in my painting using the new colors I made. Kindergartners followed all of the same steps, but shared a palette with a friend. This way, they were able to work together to discover their new colors.
We are not finished with this project yet! Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion......
I don't have access to my school photographs this afternoon, but I am determined to continue to post something here each day. I thought I'd share the gelatin printing procedure so that students who want to share the magic with their families may do so. It really is magical.
So, starting with the gelatin.... We've been using plain, unsweetened, unflavored gelatin from the supermarket. There is a commercially prepared (vegetarian) version of a gelatin printing tablet available called a "gelli" tablet, but I have not investigated this. Yet.
After finding a squarish or rectangular pan, pour in enough water to create a 1/2" deep pool. Transfer the water to a measuring cup before pouring it into a sauce pan. You will want to know the amount of water you're using so that you can add 2 packets (2 tablespoons) of gelatin for each cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool. Line your squarish pan with plastic wrap for easy removal, and pour the cooled mixture into the pan. try to poke out the air bubbles on the surface, unless you think you'd like to have them in your prints.
Allow the gelatin to set over night in the refrigerator. Remove the whole tablet and place it on a flat pan. We used an old baking tray.
Now you are ready to print! using a flat surface as a palette, roll out some printing ink. Coat your brayer (you could probably use a spatula -the idea is to get a very thin layer of ink on the tablet) with ink. Now, you may draw with the blunt end of a paint brush, gently stamp your robot toy on the tablet, add stencils, blob on other bits of ink, press a texture plate into the ink....so many options!
When the ink on your plate is the way you think you want it. Gently rest a piece of paper on top. You may rub the back of your paper with your hands, or with a baren. We liked to feel the coolness of the gelatin with our hands.
We've finally gotten started on an actual project in Sixth Grade. After many discussions and exercises concerning observation and value, AND a number of photo shoots and demonstrations..... we are now underway with phase one of our self-portrait project.
We're not nearly finished with gelatin printing in Fourth Grade. We can't get enough of it. I think I'll need to prepare more plates to use each time. I'm also working on planning our next project. I have a digital/Halloween/gelatin printing combo in mind
In Second Grade we have been working on creating positionable figures to use in our artwork. I had superheroes in mind when we began the project, but I've been sideswiped by a Chagall inspired piece to get our juices going.
These figures are tricky to put together but the Second Graders have put their minds (and fingers) to getting the job done well.
As a result, very few of the figures have been completed.
Today we read a book about the life of Russian born painter Marc Chagall. We looked at some of his work and began to brainstorm how we would create our own dreamy paintings in his style.
We think we'll need a combination of materials to achieve the look we're after. Including: watercolor crayons, regular crayons, regular watercolors....maybe some pencils?
We came up with a sample and one of the student artists even had a chance to begin her piece. We will keep you posted....
It's a mucky rainy day. Just perfect for today's Kindergarten project!
We began by reading Mary Lyn Ray's beautifully illustrated book called "Mud."
We had an animated discussion about whether or not we liked mud, muddiness, messy-ness, squishyness....muckyness.
A demonstration was given.
Artists were excited.
We each began with a HUGE piece of paper, some space and.....a bucket of mud.
After covering every speck of white on the page, we used tools to create texture and experiment.
So fun! But this is only the beginning. We'll be using these textured papers to create amazing works of art. Be sure to check in next week.
Today the Fourth Graders tried printing with Gelatin. This is the first time for the students and the third time for me. I can't even believe how exciting it is. Wait till you see how beautiful the results are!