Monday, July 25, 2011

2011: Art Project 7: Paul Klee Castle

Although we just worked on the Chihuly project a few days ago, we worked on this week's project today. We're traveling later this week and didn't have much going on today so figured it would be the perfect afternoon activity. This week we focused on Paul Klee. He was a Swiss Expressionist and taught with Kandinsky at the German Bauhaus school. He loved color theory and taught it at the school. He was also very musical as a child and ended up marrying a pianist. No wonder he was friends with Kandinsky! :-)

Here are a few of his works:
The Rose Garden, 1920
I asked the girls what they saw in this picture. They said "flowers!" and then I asked them to show me the stems which they could. And one of them said, "He likes to use shapes."
Red Balloon, 1922
Before I told them the name of this image, I asked them what they saw. My younger daughter said, "A red balloon!" And I told her she was absolutely right and that it was the name of the artwork. She was very pleased with herself. ;-)
Flora on the Sand, 1927
"More shapes and lots of colors."
Blue Nacht, 1937
This was Ella's favorite. She said right away she liked it because it was her favorite color, BLUE!
Castle and Sun, date unknown

I've seen the project we worked on today in various forms throughout the blogosphere. But we followed a modified version of Mrs. Art Teacher's lesson. :-) Instead of having the girls make all their own shapes with a ruler, I cut out out shapes from cardboard in our recycling bin so they could use them to trace.

I left this image up on the computer for them to use as a guide:
After tracing all their shapes, they went over their pencil lines with a crayon:

Then painted in each shape with watercolor paints. Per Mrs. Art Teacher's suggestion, I told them to paint one shape and then jump to another spot on the page to do a new shape/color. This helped keep the colors from mixing.

And finally, they painted the black around the outside.

Here are their final projects:
Lily's Castle and Sun
Ella's Castle and Sun

The girls really liked this project. I think it was a nice easy one to follow our very lengthy and intricate Chihuly project. This project could also be modified in a number of ways for younger artists. You could leave out the painting all together. Cut different shapes out of construction paper and have the child assemble their castle on black paper by gluing the shapes in place. You could also make this a three-step project over several days for younger kids with shorter attention spans. Have them draw the shapes one day and trace with crayon, have them paint the shapes another day, and then have them paint the black on the last day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

2011: Art Project 6--Chihuly Inspired Sculpture

I first heard about Pinterest a couple months ago. Heard it was awesome, but didn't feel like I needed one more thing to be obsessed about on the computer. Then I came across an art blog where the blogger was talking about Pinterest. I decided to check it out and had a friend of mine "invite" me to join. Oh my gosh! This website is awesome!! It's a super easy way to bookmark ANYTHING on the internet into categories so you can remember it and come back to it. I've been addicted to it all week; found new recipes to try, new activities to do with the kids, AND new art projects! I came across THIS Dale Chihuly-inspired art project.

I had a completely different project planned for the girls' art journal this week. But once I saw this and how easy it is to make it (shrinky dink paper, permanent markers, and a glue gun!) I scrapped the original project idea and we have spent the last three days working on this:
The girls and I actually started this before I showed them images of Chihuly's work. When I finally got around to showing them images they LOVED his stuff! I got all of these images as screen grabs from Google Images. But you can find good information about Dale Chihuly on his website.
The girls immediately picked this one (above) to see larger. Then I told them it was on the ceiling in a hotel in Las Vegas and they thought that was sooo cool!The one above was Ella's favorite. I could have have called that, it has her favorite colors of lime green and blue. And Lily really liked the spiky ball below. I could look at Chihuly's work all day long. It's so interesting and beautiful.So we set out to make a sculpture inspired by his work. We each made a larger shape that I planned to use as the base. And then we used the scraps and colored strips to make curlicues.

I usually just let the girls do their own thing with my guidance for our projects. But I was sooo excited about this project I had to join in so my piece is below. :-)

We cut around some of the shapes hoping they would have a more organic shape after we baked them.

We figured out that it worked well to make thin stripes (coloring both sides of opaque white shrinky dink paper) and cut them up. Once baked, they made fun curly pieces.

Above: Some random shapes and colors Lily decided to try. :-)
To bake them, I used parchment paper on cookie sheets. I figured out quickly it was best to bake only one piece at a time so I could watch it and quickly remove it, mold it if I felt like it and put it aside to cool. The girls obviously didn't really participate in this part. But they loved watching through the oven window to see when the pieces started to curl.

Last step--Gluing the sculpture together:
Step one: a solid base using the larger pieces.
Step 2: Adding the medium/thicker curlicues.
Step 3: All the little curlicues left!
I let the girls pick out which pieces I should glue next and
give me their opinion on where they thought the pieces should go.
The FINISHED product!

Honestly, this project took forever! Hours! BUT, I LOVED it! The girls liked it a lot and we're all very proud of our masterpiece. They even had to bring it over to Gramma and Grandpa's house tonight to show them they were so proud.

Monday, July 11, 2011

2011: Art Project 5--Tree of Life

It's funny, I don't remember ever learning about Gustav Klimt in my 20th Century Art course. But, I do remember learning about the Symbolist movement so we must have glossed over Klimt and I don't remember. But, I was reminded of his work while watching a Little Einsteins episode with my girls when they were little. One of the very first episodes used Klimt's Tree of Life as the artwork (Episode: Ring Around the Planet).
He was inspired by trips to Venice and Ravenna where he studied beautiful mosaics and Byzantine imagery. This led to his "gold period" where you can definitely see this influence in his style. You can find a nice background on Klimt here. I really like this quote by Klimt:
"I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women... There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night... Who ever wants to know something about me... ought to look carefully at my pictures."

Here are a few of his works of art:

Sketch for the Stoclet Frieze, 1905-1909

The Kiss, 1907-1908

Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer, 1907
The Tree of Life, 1909

I didn't really get into much with the girls other than asking them what they saw in the paintings. They said "swirls" and then I asked them what sort of colors he liked. They said, "yellow and brown". I told them that Klimt that a "gold period" and that he was inspired by mosaics (like we went over last week). I also showed them the student artwork found here. I used the following image to guide the girls in starting their own Tree of Life.
Below: Our workspace and supplies for this project. I pulled out all the more "golden" hues--yellows, oranges, and browns:

We pretty much followed the directions to a T. We started with the trunk, then branches.

I helped the girls a bit with getting the branches started and they filled in the swirls at the end. Then they started to color them in.

They added in some polka dots in different colors in Lily's case and Ella stuck with the gold theme. What I'm really loving about their art this summer is that they are being very thoughtful about their process (as seen below). They are trying out different colors and techniques on a separate piece of paper before they apply it to their actual artwork. Awesome!

Their final products:

Ella's Tree of Life
Lily's Tree of Life

I really LOVE how these both turned out! The girls did a great job! A much more successful project than last week. :-)