Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fifth Grade Multicultural Milk Jug Masks

Why have human beings, in many diverse cultures throughout history, made masks? Why do we do so today? 

Fifth Graders viewed a large variety of multicultural masks asking this very question. We learned that some reasons masks might be used are for drama, celebration, disguise, religion, or protection. 
Students carefully observed each mask, searching for interesting shapes, lines, and features to sketch in their art journals. Kids noticed such things as:

  • Abstracted, exaggerated features 
  • Metallic eyes that would reflect light and "come alive" around a fire 
  • Hair and features made from materials abundant in the surrounding landscape

Solve the problem: if you designed a mask, what would it look like? What purpose would it have? 
To sculpt these masks we cut gallon milk jugs in half, keeping the round opening.  Artists were introduced to analogous colors, selecting tissue papers from an analogous color group to decoupage over the surface with watered down Elmer's glue. 

I  displayed our paper sculpture chart and reviewed skills such as rolling, fringing, and scoring.  Children were expected to use at least three paper sculpture techniques in forming their mask.  
This lesson took a few weeks, but the results are so worth it! 

Painting "En Plein Air", Impressionist Style

"Wish we could paint outside every week!" 
Learning to paint like a French Impressionist brought much enthusiasm and life to our art class. If course, it helped to have a sunny warmish day, papers taped to whiteboards, and 25 minutes.

That's right, folks, just 25 minutes.  Our artists can't delay, each paints a quick "impression" of their vision.
Short brush strokes, pure bright colors next to each other, no black or brown, capturing a moment in time.....

Architecture: Haunted Style

Wait! November, don't leave yet: there's still so much to post! 

Fourth grade artists finished these eerie haunted masterpieces just a few weeks ago.  Creepy right? As well as marvels of architectural design! 

 Much thanks to Mrs. Picasso's Art Room who inspired  us with a great idea and clear directions for getting started.

 Step One: Research , Observe, and Sketch
We began by researching elements of Victorian architecture on the Smart board, as well as recalling Castle and Gothic architectural styles learned in prior years.  Students view numerous examples, and select a specific element to observe and sketch from each photo.  After this, I also provide a worksheet of architectural examples as an additional reference. 

Step Two: Prepare Background
Artists used liquid watercolors in spray bottles to spray paint 12x18" white paper.  Children took care not to mix complimentary colors together (avoid brown) and many chose a warm or cool color scheme.  they experimented with dripping, puddles, and blotting to create various effects. 

Step Three: Design Basic Shape 
Artists planned designs in art journals first, drew with pencil on top of the colored background, then went over all lines in black sharpie.  It was very important to keep spaces between each shape.

Here we also learned about Visual Balance, part two: Asymmetrical Balance. 
 This artist surprised himself: each shape inspired him to create another...

Step Four: Fill in  Shapes 
Oh boy, were kids ready to fill in their large shapes black. I had to practically beg them not to jump ahead to details.  They started with each large shape, learning to outline the contour, then stroke the center solid.  Kids found out how important negative shapes were to the design's overall success.

Step Five: Add Detail

Finally. Artists couldn't wait to set the mood. 

Step Six: Evaluate and Complete

Before proclaiming themselves finished, students are asked to hang artwork on the board and step back to visually assess their piece.  They ask themselves and each other questions such as :
Is it visually balanced? Did I complete all areas? Do I need more black or more detail?