Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Found Object Sculpture

Robert Bradford
Yesterday, we started a new project.  I began by presenting a powerpoint.  We discussed how artists began to push the boundaries of what was considered art at the time of the early 20th Century.  The 1918 Armory Show changed everything.  Marcel Duchamp rocked the art world by presenting The Fountain, which as a urinal at the Alfred Stegleiz's gallery, 291.  I wanted the students to start thinking about pushing boundaries of their own.  I moved on to talk about artists like Andy Warhol and Natalie Viecili who use themes of consumerism in their work.  They elevate common objects such as Campbell's Tomato Soup cans and McDonald's french fry containers as art.  What message are they sending?

Art often reflects what is going on in contemporary culture.  These artists were challenging ideas about art and also making a commentary of American consumerism.  We also talked about artists using found objects in their work.  I also showed them a slide of HA Schult's work, Trash People which is a travelling installation consisting of figures composed of trash.  I asked the students if they had ever been to see the dancing rabbit sculptures in Dublin.  Most had seen it and could describe the many objects they saw enmeshed in the cast iron.

Then we moved on to talk about Robert Bradford, a British artist who created sculptures created from small plastic objects and toys.  We looked at his sculptures in detail to see how the different parts made up the whole composition.  Color, texture, and object choice are intentional in his work.

Then, we started on the wire base or armature of our sculptures:

We'll continue working on the bases for these sculptures next week.  Additionally, you should have received an email from Mrs. Luker asking for small plastic items to be brought in for these sculptures.  See you next week!

Colorful Snowmen

I know... this winter has pretty much been a dud snow-wise!  Last week we did a short in between project so that some kids could finish up their watercolor paintings and the ones that were finished would have something creative to do.  I gave each student a white snowman cutout and materials such as decorative paper, magazines, pastels and watercolor to create an artwork.  

The challenge was, not to make it look like a traditional snowman.  Instead, it had to be an original mixed media collage.  

Instead of looking at the magazine pages as photos, we looked at them as color and texture.  Some kids were drawn to the photos as well, and I thought they integrated well into the finished collages. 

Look for these in the window of MainStreet Treasures in the next week!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Finishing our Landscape Paintings

This week, we finished up our landscape paintings.  We introduced a few new techniques.  I did a short demonstration of layering pastels and watercolor pencil over watercolor.  Adding another medium gave our paintings more interest and depth.  The kids had a lot of fun adding to their landscape paintings.

Here they all are, finished.  I hope to hang them up at the Plain City Library soon.

Here are a couple of details of some of the students' work that I think was particularly successful.  I love the variety of colors and textures portrayed here...  

Some of them took on etherreal and abstract qualities:   

Next week, we'll work on a short one week project that will be displayed in the window of Mainstreet Treasures in downtown Plain City.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Continuing to Paint our Landscapes

This week we continued to work on our landscape paintings.  These paintings are fairly large, so it will take more than one or two weeks to complete.

We are putting our watercolor techniques into action by layering washes.

We are paying attention to detail and composition.

And finally, we are using some interesting techniques such as blotting wet paint with paper towels to build interest and depth in our paintings.  

Next week, we'll work on our paintings further and maybe even introduce a layer of pastels or watercolor pencils for more detail.  See you then!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Drawing & Painting our Landscapes

During the last two weeks before winter break, we drew and began painting our landscapes.   This resulted in a short demonstration on how to best draw on watercolor paper, so as not to have your drawing show through your painting.  I discussed how pressing too hard will damage the paper by creating a groove that catches more watercolor paint.  Watercolor paper is fairly forgiving and many students had to erase their drawing to make them lighter.  Here's a good example of how light the drawing should be:

Some students were ready to paint, so I went over watercolor techniques and we were on our way...

This was our progress after the first week:

Some of the students are using what is called liquid "masking" on their paintings.  It's a liquid that you place on areas you want to keep white.  In watercolor, there is no white paint... the paper is the white paint.  So, in order to keep our white areas white, it's a good idea to use masking.  We'll use rubber cement pickup squares after our paintings are finished to pull the masking off, revealing the white paper.

Here's a our progress right before the break.  We'll meet right after the break to continue these wonderful paintings!