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Art History Meets Pop Culture Acrylic Paintings

Yesterday was my last day of the school year, and this year, my kids were focused up until the very end! This year, I decided to start an acrylic painting assignment the last few weeks of school. I gave each student a canvas, and I feel like having a canvas helped. Many of the students had never worked on one before so they were really excited at the opportunity to create something great! Working on a canvas enabled them to stay focused, which is definitely hard to do in the month of May and June!

This assignment is one that I have been doing throughout my teaching career. I think this is the third time I have done this! I’ve taught this not only in high school but also in middle school and I love the results! We talked about Pop Culture and what types of things are popular today. Students brainstorm many ideas and come up with a good list. Then, we research all different types of art and artists! I have had them research in a computer lab, but this past time, a computer lab wasn’t available so I brought in a ton of printables and art magazines and books. I had students work in groups to write down different artists that caught their attention and different art movements that they enjoyed.

Then, students had to come to me with an idea. They needed to tell me what artist they wanted to base their painting off of, what painting specifically, and what they would incorporate into the painting to make it more original and their own.

Another really great thing about this assignment is that you can guide students in a direction that they will all be successful. For example, I had some students who were more successful doing a Pop Art inspired painting, where they did not need to mix colors or do any shading or blending. Some students had experience painting before so I guided them in the direction of a Monet or a Rembrandt painting, etc. This way, all students had different results at all different levels, yet they were all able to be successful!

The PowerPoint that I created for this lesson can be found at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pop-Culture-Meets-Art-History-3210234

I have a variety of different examples on the slideshow, all of which I have permission for.

Besides though examples, take a look at some of my examples from this current school year!

What works for you as an end of the year lesson? Would love to hear! Enjoy summer!!

 

 

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Expressive Self Portraits

Quite possibly one of my favorite lesson plans that I do all year. When students hear that I am making them do ANOTHER self portraits, after we just finished up a realistic one, they ask WHY. Once we start working on these, their attitudes typically change and they are a lot more excited.

I like giving the students the option to explore symbolism a little bit further and consider what imagery they can use to show the world more about themselves, rather than just their appearances. The PowerPoint that I created for this lesson can be found here, https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Expressive-Self-Portrait-PowerPoint-3161112

I can thank the wonders of Pinterest for many of those photo examples, but I also chose to incorporate Frida Kahlo into this lesson. Frida has so many amazing examples of symbolism and she is truly such an inspiring artist and person, that I wanted my students to learn more about her. We had discussions about The Two Fridas, and also about one of her self portraits. We discussed the symbolism and imagery in her artwork and how it reflects her personality and mood.

Students found this to be very interesting. We also discussed more in depth realism, abstract, and non objective. I told students to consider how realistic they wanted this to be. They had the option to be more symbolism and do a silhouette rather than a realistic approach that would require them to do eyes, nose, mouth, etc. This allowed my students of all different skill levels to choose a way that would be successful for them.

I also gave them an option in what art mediums they wanted to use. They had the options of graphite, colored pencil, pastel, watercolor, or mixed media. After the presentation, I had students write 5-10 things about themselves in their sketchbooks. These could be interests, personality, mood, appearance, home life, friends, etc. We then broke those down and considered how to interpret them into a symbol or some sort of imagery.

Students brainstormed with the others at their tables and came up with some ideas. When they had enough ideas, they began a sketch of what their portrait would look like. I offered suggestions to make sure that students were challenging themselves enough, and were not doing things too hard. I told students that if they chose not to draw a realistic face, that they needed to put extra details somewhere else, to ensure that all students were still working the same amount.

I graded these using four main components. Subject Matter & Creativity, Use of Symbolism and Details, Craftsmanship, and Effort.

I was SO happy with how these turned out. Here are some of the great examples from my classes!

 

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Realistic Self Portraits

Ahhh self portraits! Some kids love em, some kids absolutely hate em.

I start out by teaching basic cartooning. I feel like this loosens kids up a bit, and it also allows them to consider showing emotions. Cartoons have such exaggerated emotions and I feel like it is great practice for students to consider how to show emotions within their own portraits.

After cartooning, we spend some time focusing on each facial feature. We spent a day on eyes, a day on noses, a day on mouths, and a day on ears/hair. I graded these as progress, so I told students that as long as I saw effort, they would get full points. I took off points if they did not consider value or shading, or if they were misusing their cell phones.

I collected the facial features sketches and we moved on to proportion. To switch things up a bit, I decided to have my students do group drawings. Each group started with a face outline. They set up all of the proportions- we looked at an example on the board of where the lines should be. Where the eyes sit on, the noses, how far apart the eyes go, and where the ears go, etc. These can be found online.

I had students set up the face and then draw one realistic eye. After drawing, they were asked to switch with someone else. The second student drew the second realistic eye. Each time they switched, the student had to consider where each facial feature would go. These ending up looking like really creepy mugshots and my kids absolutely loved them!

This took about two days, because we wanted to make them look realistic and shade well. At the end, we did a critique. Students were asked to go around and identify anything that looked proportionally “off”. Comments included things such as “eyes are too far apart,” “ears are too high”, “mouth is too close to nose” etc. Students got the sketch that they had originally started with and they held onto it for reference.

Lastly, I introduced the final assessment. Students drew a realistic photo of themselves. I asked them to bring in a picture of themselves. I opted to do it this way rather than looking at mirrors because I wanted them to be able to compare and contrast the values and progress of their drawings with the actual picture.

Students had two options for this- they could choose to freehand their portrait or use a grid. We had used a grid earlier in the year for realistic animal eyes, the link for that lesson can be found here. http://www.makemesanguine.com/index.php/2016/12/12/animal-eye-value-drawings/

If students wanted to grid, they could either do an outline first, or go square by square and shade everything completely. As a beginning Drawing & Painting and class, I felt that this approach really helped my students understand and be able to take their time throughout this assignment.

Here are the results!

Realistic Self Portraits High School Lesson Plan

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10 Amazing Musician Murals

  1. The Johnny Cash Mural, Nashville, TN.

    Artists: Bryan Deese, Audie Adams, and Ryan Shrader.  

Location: 300 4th Avenue South at the corner of 4th and Molloy Street

  • Image result for johnny cash mural nashville

Image result for johnny cash mural nashvilleImage result for johnny cash mural nashville

2. Carlos Santana Mural, San Francisco, California 

Artist: Mel Waters 

Location: 19th and Mission Street, San Francisco, CA, 94110.

This mural took about a month to complete, although the artist worked on it along with also working at a tattoo shop.

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Image result for carlos santana mural

3. David Bowie Mural in Jersey City, NJ

Artist: Eduardo Kobra

Location: The Cast Iron Lofts Luxury Apartment Building on Jersey Avenue. 

This 180 foot mural took about two weeks to complete. It is part of the Jersey City Mural Arts Program. 

4. Beastie Boys Mural- Charleston South Carolina

Artist: Sergio Odeith

Location: On the side wall of Home Team BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina. 

This Beastie Boys mural is painted on the side of one of the Home Team BBQ buildings.  The artist is Sérgio Odeith.

5. Willie Nelson Mural in Austin, Texas

Artists: Wiley Ross and Adam Brewer

Location: East Seventh Street at Neches Street in Austin, Texas. 

Image result for willie nelson mural austin

 

6. The Roots Mural in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Artist: Philadelphia Mural Arts Program 

Location: On the back of the World Communications Charter School, located near the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. 

Image result for the roots mural philadelphia

 

7. John Lennon & Yoko Ono Mural in Miami, Florida

Artist: Eduardo Kobra

Location: Wynwood, Miami, Florida 

 

 “@KobraStreetArt in Wynwood | Miami #Kobra #Mural #Wall #JohnLennon #YokoOno…:

 

8. Muddy Waters Mural in Chicago, Illinois

Artist: Eduardo Kobra

Location: part of the Wabash Arts Corridor project to showcase street art, replaces the “Go Do Good” mural at 17 N. State StP.

Image result for muddy waters mural chicago

 

9. Bob Dylan Mural in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Artist: Eduardo Kobra 

5th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis 

The finished mural of Bob Dylan

 

10. Compilation Mural of Amy Winehouse, Biggie Smalls, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Garcia.

Artist: Delton Demarest

Location: 4902 Smith Road 

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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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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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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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Color Study Composition Still Lifes

This lesson is one of my favorites, why you may ask??

Because there is so much to cover in our curriculum calendar. There is so much that kids need to be learning. I want to have time to teach them extra, because art is so cool and so interesting. But how do I do that if I have no time??

In order to make time, I created a lesson that focuses in on A TON of things that are listed in the curriculum calendar. This lesson covers the following topics:

We discussed Composition- Students learned about Rule of Thirds, Grouping, Emphasis with Color, etc. Students were asked to create a composition from their still life objects, using either three, four, or five boxes.

We discussed Color Theory. Before doing this project, I had students do a lot of worksheets and exercises to learn about Primary, Secondary, Analogous, Complementary, Monochromatic, Warm and Cool Colors.

We discussed shading and use of value. Before doing this project, students had created Value Animal Eye Drawings (which is also posted on my blog), to practice shading with just black and white. Adding color in the next step, in my opinion.

So there are a ton of different ways to present this lesson, and a ton of ways to alter it.

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6th Grade Sculpture Ceramic Face Mugs

I decided to be daring with my crazy 6th grade class. The class that I had more students than chairs and table space, yet somehow I’ve managed to fit them all together. The class where all the skill levels are mixed, ranging from gifted and talented to absolutely no experience or interest in art.

This class is goofy, as most sixth graders often are. So I knew I needed a lesson plan that could hold their interest, while still giving them a wide range of creativity and the ability to expand on their ideas. I decided to create a lesson where students would create clay mugs, and then sculpt a face of some sort of the side of it. I wanted them to create mugs that had a ton of personality.

I recommend having students pass a basic clay tools and vocabulary test before they are working. This could include basic terms such as slip, score, needle tool, carving tool, metal tool, bone-dry, etc. One thing I did not include which I should have elaborated on way more is the variety of different clay tools and when it is best to use each one. That is something I ended up telling students as I went around and helped them individually.

Once students pass the basic clay test, then it is time to discuss the project. I showed students a variety of great sculpture examples, along with different styles of cups and mugs. I allowed them the creativity to expand beyond a basic shape, to play around with handles, to make a cup that is function versus a cup that is just nice to look at. Like I often do, I required that students handed in two completed sketches of two different ideas. I reminded them to include details and to consider how they could create a clay mug with personality.

I showed a demonstration to my students on how to create a clay mug by rolling out clay, creating a base, and attaching all of the pieces together by slipping and scoring. From there, they were allowed to change the shape into whatever way they wanted. I walked around individually and helped students, making sure to pass back their graded sketches so they had an idea of what they were trying to accomplish.

I graded these using my standard format for how I grade projects. 25% Subject Matter and Creativity, 25% Sculpting Clay, 25% Craftsmanship and Applying Glaze, and 25% Effort and Participation. Here are some of my favorites!

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6th Grade Monochromatic Paintings

This quarter, I had a very challenging sixth grade class. It was all mixed levels, some very interested and educated in art, and others with absolutely no interest and no experience. This particular class required extra chairs to be sent to my room, because there were about 30 students. One very successful lesson that I taught was a Monochromatic Painting.

I really enjoyed this lesson because it allowed a great introduction to basic Color Theory. Students learned about Primary and Secondary Colors, Analogous and Complementary Colors, Monochromatic Colors, and Warm Vs. Cool Colors. We took some time focusing on the different schemes and completing worksheets and discussions until I felt that students could pass a basic color theory test.

Once students passed the color theory portion, we began painting. Students were asked to select a monochromatic color palette (black, white, and one additional color of their choice). They needed to create a value scale using those colors. We spent some time focusing on value and how it adds great detail to a work of art. Students spent some time creating a value scale and aimed to create 5-7 different shades. This was also a great time for students with no artistic background to practice painting, how to hold a paintbrush, how to apply paint, etc.

The next step was focusing on the composition and subject matter of their paintings. We discussed creative and interesting subject matter. Students were asked to sketch two different ideas that they wanted to paint. I counted their sketches as a classwork grade, which I typically do so students work hard on them.

Once their sketches were approved, I gave them a canvas and let them start painting. I graded them on Creativity and Subject Matter, Use Of Values (that they were able to mix colors effectively), Craftsmanship, and Effort and Participation.

Here are some of the final paintings!