Pastel Mannequins

This was a quick lesson that only took a few classes. I noticed my students were struggling with Analogous vs. Complementary Colors. I had students complete an oil pastel worksheet for the first day, where they practice different blending techniques and ways to get different results with oil pastels.

Once we finished, we viewed some examples. We focused on composition and zooming in to really fill up the space. Students sketched 2-4 different mannequin poses in their sketchbooks, complete with shading and at least 7 different values.

Then, students were asked to select their most interesting and favorite composition. They then selected an analogous color scheme of their choice and shaded in their mannequin using the oil pastel. They also were allowed to use black and white to create their shadows and their highlights.

I love these results!!

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Shape Vs. Form Legos

One of the questions on my Benchmark exam asks the students to identify the difference between Shape and Form. While this is something that I felt is simple, I noticed many of my kids struggled with it!

I wanted to do a project that focused on shape versus form to really help students understand how the two differ. We had done some observational drawings already but I wanted to do something that allowed them to focus on WHY we were shading. I wanted to focus on the illusion of form that is created when you are shading, using highlights, shadows, etc.

As a sketchbook warmup, I had students create themselves as if they were a lego character. We discussed how legos are three dimensional, they can be picked up, held, etc. So I told them to consider that as they were sketching (I didn’t want to see any flat lego people)! Students personalized them according to their physical features, character traits, interests, hobbies, etc.

I then showed students some examples of lego drawings. We talked about two different approaches to this. The first was for the students to construct a composition that was more structured and orderly. I then demonstrated how to set up a composition using two point perspective techniques to create realistic legos. The second option was for students to create a more hap hazard composition, where the legos were not lined up perfectly and were instead kind of thrown onto the surface. If they chose this, they did not need to use perspective techniques and could free hand the legos, as long as the legos were still three dimensional.

I felt that this project was challenging, but as the drawings were finished, I could tell my students were really proud of the hard work they had put into this. I also had them do an exit slip and nearly everyone was able to distinguish the difference between shape versus form, hooray!

Overall, I found this lesson to be really engaging- the students were definitely concentrated and focused throughout the entire time, and also rewarding- I was able to get my classes to identify shape vs. form, and they also ended up being very proud of themselves for completing this assignment!

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Blackout Poetry

Blackout Poetry is one of those lessons that I’ve always been intrigued by, but I’ve never tried it. I have some pretty cool classes this year and decided to give it a try. I must say, I really enjoyed this lesson. We began this as a sort of introduction to a Unit on Words and Art. Following this lesson, students created Altered Books (blog post on that to follow later on)!

I introduced my classes to the idea of Words and Art and we discussed how words can be used to further get the point across. I showed them examples of both Blackout Poetry and Blackout Poetry with Illustrations. They were required to create a poem or phrase of their choice and then come up with an illustration that fit their idea.

We incorporated a few different concepts into this including:

Emphasis: How can you emphasize your poem and make it stand out from the rest of the words? How can you emphasize your illustration?

Movement: Is your poem easy to read or is it jumbled and somewhat confusing?

Contrast: Is there a strong contrast between your illustrations and words versus the actual page of the book?

Etc.

I would love to hear some other examples and perhaps how this lesson has been taken a step further! Like I said, I used this as an introduction to a Unit on Words and Art. I am very pleased with these results!

 

Megan

 

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Sgraffito Pots

Sgraffito is such a fun technique to use! For this project, I had students work a little bit smaller than normal, and I had them really focus in on the intricacy and details that they could incorporate into their designs. I had them sketch some sort of design. We also talked about Emphasis, and I encouraged them to use a bright colored glaze for the inside, since the outside was mostly black and white.

I asked students to have a lid, a handle, and if they had time, some sort of foot. Students really enjoyed this technique because it gave them the opportunity to draw freely and easily incorporate some of their favorite designs and ideas into their ceramic artwork.

Included are a few of my favorite examples!

 

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Ceramic Tripod Mugs

After the first project on Pinch Pots, the second project on Coil Building, the third project ended up being a Slab Building project. Tripods were refreshing to do, especially after coil building, since many of the students were tired after the tedious process of layering and slipping and scoring coils. They were so surprised how quickly they could create a simple cup form by using the slab methods!

They were introduced to the word “template” and asked to create an original design that they could create with a basic tripod base. Students used rolling pins to create their slabs. The second day, once clay was leather hard, students were able to shape their slabs into a cylindrical shape. Then, I instructed students to create a triangle shape with their two hands, and they push one side of the cylinder together. They created a triangular bottom, and as long as they did it evenly, the form was able to be flipped over and supported on its own.

I encouraged students to create extra coils to reinforce the bottom, and to also smooth out the inside. They then got to work in creating their original designs. I found that these were extremely successful and it also allowed the students to focus on their own designs and glazing, rather than creating the form itself!

Have you done something similar to this? What other templates have you used? I’d love to hear! 🙂 IMG_2608 IMG_2607 IMG_2606 IMG_2605

High School Tripod Mugs Ceramic Project
High School Tripod Mugs Ceramic Project

Watercolor Notans

This project was extremely successful for a variety of reasons. The first and most obvious, is that it wasn’t a super tedious project, and it did not require a ton of thought for the students. I purposely organized it so that this project would be worked on the last, short week before winter break. My students were almost mentally checked out anyway, but this really helped to keep them engaged and interested!

We had just begun a watercolor unit and students learned the following watercolor techniques, which were practiced on a strip of paper, with the definitions written on the back:

Wet Onto Wet

Graduated Wash

Dry Brush

Splatter

Blotting

Resist

Of course, there are many more different techniques to use, but these were the ones I wanted to focus on. We had an EXTREMELY relaxing day that began with me showing them various watercolor examples of work that is both Representational and Non-Representational. We discussed what the differences were and then they were asked to create a non-representational watercolor painting using at least four of the watercolor techniques that we discussed. This was also a great opportunity to discuss layering: we began with wet onto wet and lots of water, and as each new layer dried, they added less and less water and more dry brush techniques.

We then discussed positive and negative space. I showed them various examples until I felt that they had a clear understanding. Then, they went to their sketchbooks, where they created their own notan designs. We talked about designs being symmetrical or asymmetrical, and how each would look when reflected on their notan design. Lastly, students were given black squares to draw, cut, and glue their notan designs onto watercolor paper.

After this lesson, now that students have returned from break, I have them working on a watercolor and ink project, which will be posted in a few weeks. I felt that by doing this, it gave them the ability to add a lot of water and paint, and to not be afraid of messing something up with watercolor. This next project will focus on a more controlled, more detailed composition, and I think it is important that students experience both types!

Have you done anything similar to this?

High School Watercolor Notans Art Lesson
High School Watercolor Notans Art Lesson

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Ceramic Coil Pots

First off, super excited with how these turned out. Secondly, incredibly proud at how hard my high schoolers worked on these!

This was their second ceramic project. After just finishing up pinch pot techniques, I had them focus on coil building. I had them sketch out ideas of what they wanted to make. They learned about the coil building process, and I also introduced them to the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.

They had to create a coil pot form (we talked about the difference between shape and form) that include either geometric or organic shapes. One great advantage to doing this, besides them learning about the Elements and Principles, is that I felt it helped them relax a bit with the smoothness of their form.

This was their first time working with red clay, because I wanted to show them a different option besides the gray clay. I also used this project to discuss more glazes with them. In the first project, they only used underglaze and clear. Now, I introduced them to matte glazes versus glossy. I discussed jungle gems. I also talked about the Stroke & Coat glazes (if you haven’t used them, they are great)! They are like if an underglaze and a regular gloss glaze had a baby. They are true to color and shiny!

With almost all coil projects I’ve ever done, I felt like this project did take quite some time. However, the kids stuck with it and really created some good stuff!

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Surrealism Perspective Drawings

In high school, I hated perspective drawing. In college, I still even hated perspective drawing. It wasn’t until I actually became an art teacher and had free range to create a perspective lesson in my own way, that I finally found it interesting. I enjoy teaching it, and overall my kids actually enjoy drawing in perspective.

So how did I accomplish such a feat?

I decided to mix One Point Perspective with Surrealism. Since the two are so different, it makes for a very interesting project! We start out learning basic vocabulary and terms in Perspective. Some words include Perspective, Vanishing Point, Vantage Point, Orthogonal Lines, Horizon Line, etc. I gave the students a quiz on vocabulary before we actually began drawing.

The first actual drawing activity we did was having students create 2D bubble letters. They used their name, quote, lyrics, whatever. I demonstrated how to connect their lines from the letters to the vanishing point. Then, students practiced drawing the backs of their letters, and in turn creating a 3D letter.

Then, we practiced by setting up a room using one point perspective. Students practiced floor boards, ceilings, windows, doors, etc. We then discussed tables, chairs, furniture, and how to successfully add objects (referencing the 3D letter exercise throughout).

After about two weeks of that, I knew my students were getting tired of perspective. (I admit, it can be tedious!) So I wanted to give them a little break by introducing them to Surrealism. We created an Exquisite Corpse exercise, which was so fun! My students loved it and they loved working together to create a drawing.

We also watched a documentary on Salvador Dali! I enjoy the Modern Master’s Documentary on BBC, although I did skip through some parts because it talks about sex and I didn’t want that ish in my classroom!

Then, once students had a strong understanding of Surrealism and what it is, they went to their sketchbooks and began sketching out their ideas. They needed an even mix of Surrealism and One Point Perspective.

Overall, this lesson took about a month. From the vocabulary quiz, perspective worksheets, 3D letters, practice room drawings, and surrealism exercises, to the final product where students practiced blending with colored pencils, I’d say these were a success!

I also had students write a reflection, where I asked them questions such as:

  1. Explain how you created depth in your artwork using words like Perspective, Vanishing Point, Vantage Point, Horizon Line, Orthogonal Line, etc.
  2. Explain what elements of Surrealism you included in your artwork.
  3. What was your favorite part about this assignment? What did you feel most proud of?
  4. What was your least favorite part about this assignment? What challenged you?
  5. If you could make any changes to your final artwork, what would you change?

And ta-da! These are some of my final results. Love them!

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Top 5 Reasons The Chicago Cubs World Series Was The Highlight of 2016

Okay but first, let’s just push aside the fact that almost everyone I’ve talked to has mentioned nothing else except how shitty of a year 2016 has been. Yeah a lot of stuff happened, things were bad. I probably cried more in 2016 and had more mental breakdowns this year than any other year I can remember, but guess what?!

THE CUBS WON THE FREAKEN WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!

So here are my Top 5 Reasons Why The Chicago Cubs World Series was The Highlight of 2016 (and am I allowed to say life or is that too dramatic?)

  1. All Curses Have Been Broken

Why are there so many crazy curses and stories about the Chicago Cubs?!

The curse of the goat. When Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis brought his goat Murphy to the 4th game of the 1945 World Series at Wrigley, he caused problems. The goat smelled pretty terrible and ended up getting kicked out. On his way out, Sianis said that they Cubs “ain’t gonna win no more.”

Then you had Steve Bartman, who knocked a foul ball away from Moises Alou in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Chicago ended up losing to the series to the Marlins.

In 1969, a black cat appeared in front of the Chicago Cub’s dugout and circled Ron Santo during a game. It casted a bad omen because shortly after, the Cubs slipped from first place and the New York Mets went on to Win the World Series.

Also, the Kwa-Ma-Rolas totem pole was erected on Lake Shore Drive in 1929. Native American legend believes that it should be facing east toward Lake Michigan but instead it faces Wrigley Field. Some even believe that this is a bad omen!

But here we are now, in 2016…

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Despite all those damn curses and crazy stories that everyone put on the Cubbies, they did it. They really freaken did it.

2. This Team was so Deserving of a World Series

This team is my absolute favorite Chicago Cubs team! I’ve been going to Cubs Conventions with my dad off and on since I was 6 years old. I met Ernie Banks, ate at Harry Carray’s, went to Michael Jordan’s. My dad, born in Chicago, has educated me on the Chicago Cubs team for a long, long time. I’ve had Sammy Sosa trashcans, Kerry Wood Beanie Babies, but to me, this 2016 team is so special.

I follow a few of the players on instagram. I love Rizzo’s relationship with Kris Bryant, they are absolute friend goals. I love Grandpa Rossi and I’m so glad he got to end his last year with a World Series Win. I love Baez’s spunk and absolutely crazy game time decisions. I love Ben Zobrist and his relationship with his wife, they are the cutest! Not to mention, have you seen Kris Bryant and his fiancé lip syncing to Frozen together?? How about Addison Russell and his adorable family?

How about the amount of work and love and support that they GIVE BACK to the community.  Anthony Rizzo and the amount of work he has done for others. How inspiring he is and how he is literally a light, an escape, and an inspiration for kids who feel like they have none. Anthony Rizzo’s charity foundation can be found at this link: http://rizzo44.com His goal is to raise money for cancer research and to provide support for children who are sick and also for their families.

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3. Heaven was Screaming with Chicago Cubs Fans

I’ll admit- when the Cubs got into the World Series, not to mention when they WON the World Series, I felt a strange feeling of sadness. I wish my grandparents were sitting on the couch next to me to witness it all. We’d be eating cannolis and screaming at the tv and all cheering together as a family.

But I found comfort knowing that every single Cubs fan was on the same page. News articles appeared in the media that made me cry happy tears. From videos of the brick wall where people wrote to their deceased loved ones in celebration of the Cubbies, to the video about the man who drove to listen to the Cubs with his dad at the cemetery.

This team brings people together and that is a bond that will never, ever go away.

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4. The Crowd Made Me Cry

Although I typically consider myself an emotional person to begin with, I did not expect to start CRYING during the World Series games. I’d be watching it in a room with other people and they would just look at me like I was insane. Why would I be crying?

Well. Did you SEE all the elderly people, praying for their Cubbies to win the World Series?? Imagine living the majority of your life and never seeing your favorite team win the World Series. Imagine that feeling. I love seeing people happy and to see so many people so happy over The Chicago Cubs was one of the most amazing things to witness. If you weren’t able to see, here are some of my favorites:

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Not to mention, Pink Hat Guy at all the games. (And don’t you just love his wife for making him wear that?)

5. I’d say I believe in miracles after the Cubs won the World Series, but what I really believe in is hard work. 

To say that the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series is a miracle, is to imply that they did not earn it themselves. And I’m sorry but this team totally earned it all themselves. This team has been so inspiring. They have been so lovable, so personable, and such good kind hearted people and players. But on top of that, they have literally been stepping it up and playing the best possible game they could play. They are a young team, with lots of potential, and I am so excited to see what the future holds for the Chicago Cubs, 2016 World Series Champions!!!!!!!!!!

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So Cubs fans, unite! Tell me all the reasons why the Cubs winning was so magical for you. And please post some of your own Cubbies photos in the comments section! 🙂

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Animal Eye Value Drawings

So one of my favorite lessons is a lesson I created using Value. Because kids struggle with value. They are afraid to get too dark. They leave things light.

I spent awhile trying to figure out ways to make them realize the importance of range in value. I played around with different options for subject matter.

I was so set on animal eyes because they are so freaken interesting! Zooming in no an elephant or an owl or an iguana and getting to see all the cool designs, the textures, the range in value. I knew that the students would find them extremely awesome too.

Before introducing them to the actual eyes, I had them create a value scale. They had to create 7 different ranges in value, going from dark to light. They also had to use four different techniques: Hatching, Cross Hatching, Stipple, and Scribble. I graded their value scales as an assignment grade. During this time, we also read some worksheets about shadows, midtones, highlights, etc. This way, students were familiar with the vocabulary and they were able to associate different words to their drawings.

When finished, I discussed how to grid artwork. Since this was the first time students were drawing something, and something realistic at that, I wanted to start slow and let them use the grid method because I really wanted the focus to be on the value. I encouraged them to find the shadows and highlights first, this way they were getting the darkest tones into their drawings.

I gave them the option to either work box by box or to sketch out the basic contour lines and then go back in and shade. Either way, I freaken love the results. My kids understand value and they have really awesome eye drawings that they are proud of!

Animal Eye Value Drawings Art Education
Animal Eye Value Drawings Art Education