Friday, May 27, 2011

2010: Art Project 8--Button Mosaics

The last project we tackled this summer was mosaics! I saw this post over at No Time for Flashcards: a fantastic blog with great craft ideas, sensory activities and book suggestions. It featured this photo:
I knew I didn't just want to show the girls this picture. I wanted to tie it more to art history. So I did some googling. I first explained that a mosiac was a picture made up of smaller things put together (kind of like a puzzle) to make a bigger picture. I showed them this image first:
I knew they would recognize Starry, Starry Night from our earlier summer project. They thought this was very cool! Then I showed them a couple others:
I told them you could make something real like an animal or person (like above). Or you could make a design like below:
And the last thing I showed them was Hagia Sophia, a church and then mosque (now a museum) in Turkey. The inside of the church is covered in huge beautiful mosaics. When the sun shines in the church windows, the metallic quality of the mosaic tiles gives off a gorgeous golden light.

After all that, I finally showed the girls this fish mosaic:
And finally the button fish mosaic. I told them they could make anything they wanted on their paper. I had gone to Michael's and bought two medium sized bins of mixed craft buttons. I sorted them by color ahead of time. And I gave the girls stronger poster board and Glue-all. Make sure you use an adhesive that will really stick to the buttons (or whatever medium you choose to use).
They thought about what they wanted to do. Lily picked a ladybug! So I drew an outline for her and she did the rest:
Ella decided she wanted to do a design. So I helped her think through what she wanted to do. We made a big circle and divided it into quadrants. Then she went to work:
Ella loved this project sooo much she proceeded to spend the next hour and a half making more creations! She nearly used up all the buttons!

Here are her other masterpieces:

I helped her with the outline of the butterfly and ladybug (Lily used up the red so she had to do yellow). The rest she came up with all on her own! (a penguin, bee and snowman, respectively)

2010: Art Project 7--Mondrian

A friend of mine just mentioned wanting to do some "painting ala Holly style" with her kids who happen to be on summer vacation. They are living "down under" in Australia right now and her kids just finished up school. All this reminded me that I still have two projects to post from our Art Journal Wednesday series this past summer.

This project centered on the artist Mondrian. One of my favorites! I just realized I was going to link to information about Mondrian, but I used my old art history books when I was talking about him to the girls. I just googled it and didn't find a satisfactory (to me) article. I guess Wikipedia was closest. Here is a quote from Mondrian about his work:
I construct lines and color combinations on a flat surface, in order to express general beauty with the utmost awareness. Nature (or, that which I see) inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation (still just an external foundation!) of things…
I believe it is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm, these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.
Of course, I didn't really explain all that to the girls. I mostly explained that some artists paint images we recognize (like a picture of a person, animal or place) and others paint "designs". That was the best way I could describe abstract painting to them without getting too technical. And then I told them that Mondrian liked to use pure colors or colors that weren't mixed with anything else and asked them if they could think of any colors that sounded like that. Ella got it immediately and said the primary colors!

I showed them these two works by Mondrian:
Composition A: Composition with Black, Red, Gray, Yellow, and Blue (1920)Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-1943

The top one is pretty straight forward Mondrian. I asked the girls what the second one looked like to them. They both said "a map!" Yes! I told them that Broadway was a very busy street in New York City and that the painting represented the layout and the "busyness" of the colors were the hustle and bustle of the big city (this would be the idea of rhythm in the work).

Anyway, that was probably more indepth than I needed to get in this post. I was just so impressed with how the girls seemed to "get" some of these really abstract ideas when they were broken down simply.

For this project. I gave the girls a ruler and pencil and asked them to draw three vertical lines anywhere they wanted all the way down the page. And then three horizontal lines all the way across. Then, some smaller lines inside. Then color in what you feel like coloring in. I finished them off for them by drawing in the fatter and skinnier black lines with permanent marker and a ruler.

And here's their creations:
Above: Ella's Mondrian. She really took the "pure colors seriously and
didn't use different shades.
Lily's Mondrian. She obviously used different shades
of the colors. But did a terrific job!

2010: Art Project 6--Henri Rousseau

Today's project went much better than the previous two. I made sure to do it in the morning and the girls really seemed to enjoy this one. We had better attitudes and they were much more enthusiastic.

The topic today was Henri Rousseau. He was a painter from France who is known for his jungle animal images. Interesting to note: He never visited any exotic places or saw any jungle animals in person. I told the girls some artists paint what they see and others use their imaginations and paint images from their heads. I also asked the girls what jungle animals they could think of. They said tigers, lions, monkeys, zebras. Then we looked at Rousseau's paintings with many of those animals.
Here's a few examples of Rousseau's work:
I used this image from Art Projects for Kids as inspiration:

And the girls went to work:
In the above photo, you can see the orange circle we used to make our tiger face and body. I simply cut down a small paper plate.And here are their finished projects, Lily's is on top, Ella on the bottom:

2010: Art Project 5--Warm vs. Cool Colors

The next project was slightly more successful than the last project. But I decided I really need to do these in the morning because when the girls are tired they are not as cooperative as I would like.

After the less than successful attempt at pointillism, I decided to take a break from artist inspired projects and just do something I thought would be fun.

I found this on my favorite art blog:
The point of this is to use warm colors on the hand and cool colors on the outside. Great for teaching the concept of warm and cool with colors. However, my girls were in a mood. So I decided it would be better to not try and teach them anything and just let them pick whatever colors they wanted. The effect is not quite the same, but I think they sort of enjoyed the project. At least better than Seurat. Top is Lily's, bottom is Ella's.

2010: Art Project 4--Seurat

So not all projects can be a success, right? Well, I thought the girls would really be into this next project, but I was wrong.

For the fourth project, I focused on the artwork of Seurat ("sir-rot"). He used pointillism to create his artworks, which is basically using a series of dots to fill in the work instead of using brush strokes or another technique. I always rememebered Seurat as "". I showed the girls his most famous work:
Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

Then I showed them this lesser known work, because I thought it might be easier for them to draw a landscape of some kind.
The Seine and La Grande Jatte - Springtime

I had the girls draw a landscape. Anything they wanted. And then they were to fill in the landscape with dots. I didn't expect them to fill everything in leaving no white because I knew their attention span wouldn't last that long. But even with what they were doing, they got bored easily. Ella didn't finish hers (top).
They did a good job trying it, even if they didn't really like this project.

2010: Art Project 3--Jasper Johns

We created our third art journal project on June 30th so I wanted to find something related to Fourth of July or America. In trying to keep our projects inspired by artists, I remembered Jasper Johns created artwork using the American flag so I looked him up. Here's a little about him and his work if you're interested. The explanation behind Johns' work is a little "heady" for the girls so I merely showed them images of his flag and number paintings (we might try a version of his number paintings in the future, also his Works in Progress could be interesting multi-layered projects).

Johns' "Three Flags" was our inspiration for the first part of our art project:
I just asked the girls to tell me about what they saw. They said, "three flags" "stripes" "stars" and "red, white and blue". We then talked about why we have 50 stars on our flag (for the 50 states) and why there are 13 stripes (for the first 13 states). Although, interesting I just realized while writing this that Johns' flag above only has 48 stars because this was made in 1958. In the deep recesses of my brain, I remembered Alaska and Hawaii were added around this time, but couldn't remember exactly when. A quick google search informed me that the 50 star-flag was adopted on August 21, 1959. Okay...sidetracked....moving on.

This project was fun because the girls got to work on their ruler skills. I helped a bit by putting dots on their page for them. So they just had to line up the dots. I figured it might get too frustrating for them if I expected them to make 13 spaces on their page.

We used a star punch to make the stars. Of course, we didn't have room (or the patience) to put 50 stars on each of our flags. But the girls got the idea.

Here are the girls' Three Flag inspired journal entries:

Above is Ella's, and below is Lily's.

I had also come across this kid-friendly craft while blog reading. I know how the girls love fireworks so I thought this would be a fun and easy thing to do. We used coffee filters and mini muffin paper wrappers. That's all I had in the house. We just cut down the coffee filter's to make medium sized fireworks. Just color, fold, and cut. Viola! Fireworks! You can had glitter glue too to give them some sparkle.

Here's Lily's. She REALLY liked this project.

Here's Ella's: