Friday, July 11, 2008

Art Lesson #2- Joan Miro

Miro was a Spanish painter. He was friends with the likes of Picasso and Max Ernst. His work dips its toes in abstraction, cubism and surrealism all at the same time. This project is a great way to introduce young kids and those who are intimidated by the artistic process to creating art.


2 pieces of wax paper(each 10 1/2 x 12")
length of black yarn or embroidery floss
crayon sharpener
crayon shavings(red, blue, green, yellow, black)
white card stock 8 1/2 x 11 "
black card stock 12 x 12"
black sharpie pens
texture templates
iron(for the adult to use only)
scissors or exacto knife(for adult only)

(beforehand sharpen green, blue, red, yellow, and black crayons, I kept them in paper muffin liners. Warning, this can get messy and end up with you having to scrub your floor. I recommend doing this only on tile or outside. Do not attempt on carpet!)

Start out by showing examples of Miro's work. Talk about his life and his influences.
Point out to students that he tended to use the same four colors and black, and that line was very important in his work. He used thin,thick, light, and bold lines. Sometimes they were wavy, straight, bent, or curved. Sometimes they made a shape that we wouldn't normally see. He liked to be a bit silly in his work and his titles help us to understand what he wants us to see in his work. His titles help us to create a story around what he has illustrated for us.
Begin by giving each student a piece of wax paper(Use a piece of card stock as a template to mark out the picture area the kids are to use) and a black string. Have the kids play with the string until they have created a shape or group of shapes that will become the basis for the rest of their painting. Have the kids use sharpie markers to add more lines and details to the rest of the picture. After all the lines are in, the children can add color in the form of crayon shavings. Have them try to put the shavings only where the string has created a closed shape. (the string will prevent the color from bleeding too much when it is ironed). Once the kids are satisfied, add a top layer of wax paper. Use just a little tape at the edges to keep the papers together as you take them to the ironing board. With a cloth on the bottom, then the wax papers, and a piece of card stock on the top, iron the layers with an iron set to high. One or two passes should be sufficient to get the colors to melt, but check by pulling back the card stock a little. Make sure the wax papers have fused together. After the papers are cool enough to touch(10 seconds or so) give the pieces back to the kids for the next step. The kids are now to add more colors with regular crayon. Encourage them to darken some lines with black marker and maybe add some more. The idea here being to create different values of lines. At this point the kids can use the texture plates. Many of Miro's pieces were done on a heavy burlap so they had a lot of inherent texture. Once the kids think they are done, cut the picture out on the lines that were first made with the card stock template. Once complete, mount the picture on to the white card stock with a glue stick. Before they add the glue, they can even add some lines to this paper as they will slightly show through the wax paper giving the painting more depth. Then you will mount this on to the 12X12" inch piece of black card stock. Have the kids sign the piece in either black sharpie on the picture itself or under it in the black paper with a white crayon. Be prepared for some stunning results! Encourage them to title their piece and perhaps as an extension activity to write a story about it.

This sample is titles "Pistol" and was done by a 6 year old.

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