Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011: Art Project 3--Kandinsky Color Studies

Today, we focused on the artist Wassily Kandinsky. One of my favorites when it comes to more modern and abstract art. Though sometimes abstract art seems more simplistic, there was much theory behind Kandinsky's art. He used music as inspiration. He named his more quick and spontaneous works "Improvisations" and his more thoughtful and thorough works were "Compositions".

He often used primary colors and complimentary colors. He also used mathematical themes in his works.

Here are a few of his paintings:
Improvisation No. 31, Sea Battle, 1913
Composition VII, 1913
Composition VIII, 1923

Kandinsky's Color Studies:

For this project, I was inspired by The Art Fairy's post about warm and cool color exploration. And also, this color study post on the Quest Artists blog.

I gave the girls a choice between making circles or diagonal lines. Lily chose circles and Ella chose diagonals. We were supposed to do a warm/cool color exploration last year with our hand drawings, but the kids weren't so into that project. So for this project I really wanted to try and stick to them understanding the color wheel and making thoughtful choices about what colors they put where. I drew this crude color wheel and reminded the girls what complimentary colors were and we also talked about warm and cool colors.
(Hee hee...like my horrible version of a fire and raindrops/snowflakes so my preschooler would know which side was warm and which was cold?) :-)
For Lily's circle project:
I asked her to pick one color for the middle of a circle. Then, she could pick any other color she wanted to color the next ring of the circle. For the third ring, she had to mix the first two colors together. The fourth ring consisted of an "opposite" temperature color. So if she had used warm in the middle of the circle, she had to use cool on the outside and vice versa. Then for the background color, I asked her to use the same temperature but a different color as the fourth ring. She used watercolor pencils for the rings and then either markers or slick stix for the background color to make it pop more.

Here is her creation, first with just the colored pencil, and then with the water added:

For Ella's diagonal project:
She got to practice her ruler skills making diagonal lines that ended up matching up on the ends in four different quadrants. For coloring in: I told her we were NOT going to make a pattern with the colors, but a pattern with the temperature of the colors. In each quadrant, she had to alternate using warm and cool colors. And I asked her to really try and use a lot of different colors and not use the same color in the quadrant across from each other. Usually, Ella is not too receptive to taking direction from me, but I told her this was what the project was today and she ran with it! And actually asked my advice sometimes on which color to do next. I LOVE how this turned out and I loved watching her make this work of art. She thought so hard about her color choices and took her time. So fun to see!

In the spirit of Kandinsky, we listened to music while we worked on this project. :-)
Ella's finished product in colored pencil and then after water was added:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eric Carle-Inspired Art

The Education Network has been celebrating Eric Carle's birthday all week. Check it out here and register if you're interested. They are a very friendly group!

We decided to join in the Eric Carle fun this morning. My husband is out of town and I figured we would need to have something to keep up busy anyway. This project took a lonnnng time today. It could easily be broken into 2-3 days for kids with shorter attention span. I ended up helping the girls A LOT by the end because they were impatient and tired. But overall, I think they liked this project. This is actually one that I conjured up myself!

Before we did anything else, the girls looked through our Eric Carle books: BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE; POLAR BEAR, POLAR BEAR, WHAT DO YOU HEAR?; and PANDA BEAR, PANDA BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE? We used to have THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR book, but we couldn't find it. They picked out which animal they wanted to make. Ella picked the frog and Lily picked the sea turtle:

First, we painted solid colors on pieces of paper. I cut pieces of cardboard to use as combs so we could "texturize" the paints. Many of Eric Carle's images have a great texture to them. This step is also good for practicing color theory (mixing colors). The girls LOVED this part! This could be all you do for Day 1 if you want to spread the project out.

We stopped to have lunch and let the paper dry. Then we broke the animal bodies down into their different parts and drew those separately on a piece of white paper. This way we could make as many mistakes as we wanted, erasing them and getting it right. And we wouldn't have to use up our painted paper for this. We then cut the shapes out of the white paper.

We used these white pieces as a pattern to trace and cut out our shapes on the painted paper. I ended up doing much of this step as the girls were pretty much ready to be done at this point. This could be the end of Day 2 if you're spreading the project out.

And finally, we glued the different pieces on the painted background paper. And then dabbed white paint for the eyes. I took the photos so I could post this. Once the white paint dries, they'll go back and add in the pupils. :-)

Voila! The girls' Eric Carle creations!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Art Book Review: Art In Action

I know this is an art project blog, but I have decided to post some book reviews on here as well. A little shameless cross-promotion. Aside from using art education blogs, I also consult various art books for project ideas. I've had a book review blog for several years and I thought I could do a little cross posting.

We have been making weekly (sometimes even twice a week) trips to the library this summer. And my oldest daughter has been into borrowing "How to draw...." books. So I've visited the 700-750 range in the nonfiction section of the library often. And I've found some GREAT books relating to art and kids. I decided I was going to put up a few reviews of these books on the art blog. Since they were BOOK REVIEWS, I figured why not cross post on the book blog as well. I'm sure there are some mom book bloggers out there who might be interested too! :-)

I found this book, Art in Action(1) by Maja Pitamic this week at the library as well as its counterpart Art in Action(2). Oh my, these are FANTASTIC books relating art and kids' art projects! I will be purchasing them. They break down into chapters by a certain theme like "Color", "Shape", or "Portraits". And then an artwork is profiled that fits within the theme. The artwork page shares interesting yet simple information about the artist or style and then the following pages depict project ideas.

Below shows the artist page for Henri Rousseau's jungle image: Surprised. We actually did a project related to this painting last year. You can see our project here. This page in Art in Action shows a fun collage you could do with the kids' handprints.

The images above show what the artwork page in the book looks like and the finished project.
In the "Nature" chapter of the book (below), you can see an image of Jacopo Zucci's Pergola with Birds and then create the following projects:

You can see from the images I took that the projects come with very visual instructions, also a supply list and most of them are very easy to do. The bird rug project could be applied to other imaginative play as well. Your kids could make rugs for their dolls. My daughter has a kitchen setup for her American Girl doll, this would be a perfect thing for her to make for that too.

What really impresses me about these books are the ease of the projects, the relatively "normal" supplies that can be found around most households easily, and the creativity behind the project ideas. These are things I have not really seen before (at least not all in one book). And I love that I'm interested in more than one project in a book. Sometimes, I find books where only one or two things appeal to me.

This last one is a Cezanne painting and a 3-dimensional box sculpture.

I have a few other art books I would like to review so look for some more reviews in the future! :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2011: Art Project 2--Sunflowers

For our project today, I wanted to focus on Van Gogh's Sunflowers. But I thought it would be fun to show the girls some sunflowers by other artists as well:
Paul Gauguin (but now I can't find my source for this image.)
Large Sunflowers, Emil Nolde, 1928
Girl with Sunflowers, Deigo Rivera
Sunflowers, Van Gogh, 1888

After showing the girls famous artists' versions of sunflowers, I showed them a link to an art blog where 2nd graders made Van Gogh-inspired sunflowers. They particularly liked this one:
I also had a couple books from the library that they could look at:
Art Profiles for Kids: Vincent Van Gogh by Jim Whiting and DK Eyewitness Books: Van Gogh by Bruce Bernard. Both have plenty of great information on Van Gogh, show all his major works, and give a timeline of this life. Very good for a bit older kids who may be interested in learning more about a particular artist.

I didn't really give the girls much direction today, other than I wanted them to recreate Van Gogh's Sunflowers. We talked again about using different shades of one color. We talked about spatial issues on the page. Where to draw a horizon line and how to make everything "fit" on the page; ie: don't draw it too small or too big. Draw everything so it fits nicely on the page.

Boy, am I glad I purchased those watercolor pencils! They are still a bit hit. Lily especially LOVES them!

I have to say, Lily did a really FANTASTIC job! She listened to what the project was supposed to be and followed that. She used all pencil and watercolor pencil to make her creation. She did a nice job of trying to draw the sunflower petals more pointy as they should be. Ella wanted to go her own way a bit more and wasn't excited about really making her flowers look specifically like sunflowers. But you know, it's her creation, if she wants to do her own thing, I try to let her do that. :-) She used colored pencils, markers, and slick sticks.