Thursday, March 26, 2009

Art Emergency- Super Art Teacher to the Rescue

A while back, I received this request...

Hello. My name is Andrea and I am the mother of a first grader in AZ.
I am not sure if you have heard of the
"Art Masterpiece" program or not but the school my daughter attends
is implementing it and it is all parent/volunteer
lessons on masterpieces of famous artists and their work. I saw your blog
and LOVE some of your ideas and the kids artwork I
have looked at.

Help! I have been asked to take over for another parent TOMORROW...
.I hope you get this in time! And need to give a lesson (the easy part)
on Fernand Leger.............
the masterpiece they chose I personally think is one of
the POOREST choices of his is:
"Leisure: A Homage to David"
Les Loisirs, c.1948 by Fernand Leger
Les Loisirs, c.1948

Anyway....I am really into being original and don't want to give the kids a boring draw/paint project!


Andrea, AZ

First off, it was so nice hearing from you, if not for your time concern, I would have added you to the contest I am running right now, but since this is an art emergency, I must respond to the call! (Sorry, my kids are into superheroes.)
Anyway, you might notice that I often use one small element of a painting or technique to use as a starting off point. Because of the age group you are dealing with, the simpler the better. I noticed a bicycle in the painting. That may be a great place to start for such young kids and it may help them generate a connection to the piece.

My suggestion for the project is to start with a black line outline of a bicycle. You could draw your own or print the image
I found here
bicycle.gif (GIF Image, 360x440 pixels)

Then have the kids draw shapes over the top of the drawing. Circles, squares and rectangles are good. In the ares created by these lines, have the kids color them in in colors Leger used in the painting. You could control this by picking them out beforehand and only offering those colors. Instruct the kids to color in such a cubist way with more pressure in the middle of the shape and less on the edges of the shapes. Or you could just ask them to make sure no two spaces have the same colors touching on any side.
Granted this procedure is really more about cubism than this particular painting.
Here are two resources to help you see what I mean (literally)
Lesson Plan: Round Robin Construction - Non-Objective Design
Ms. Julie's Place- Art Lessons for Kids: Picasso

The above will provide you with a relatively controlled outcome. If you are willing to let the kids go a bit and they are confident enough you could take a criteria approach. This is an open ended lesson, The kids creations are entirely their own, except for the rules they must follow to get there.

Discuss the elements of the painting. Bring to their attention the bicycle, birds, clouds, fence, and star shapes on the young man's shirt. Help them to notice that there are 6 figures- three male and three female and that one of the girls is very small and/or young. Show them the limited color palette he chose with mostly primary colors, red, blue,and yellow, accented with orange, white, pink and green. Show them how everything has a strong black outline.

Taking these things into consideration, here are the rules:

1. Draw a picture that is happening outside. There should be a blue sky, clouds and birds.

2. Draw a fence somewhere in the picture.

3. Make 6 people. 3 boys and 3 girls. Make one of the girls smaller than the others.

4. Make sure there is at least one bicycle in the picture. It does not have to have a rider, but it could.(The rider must be one or more of the six figures)

5. Make sure one of the people's clothes has a star on them.

6. Color big areas using red, yellow, blue, and small areas pink, green and orange

7. Lastly, outline all the lines with black. (if you are using markers or crayons, have them do this step before coloring, if they are painting do this step last with black oil pastel.)

These are other projects I did based on a criteria approach like this.
..Ms. Julie's Place: Marc Chagall .
Ms. Julie's Place: Gustav Klimt

Ms. Julie's Place: Vermeer

I sure hope this helps and that it reaches you in time!



PS If anyone has tried this out on their own, I would love to see your results!


Snippety Gibbet said...

In my county "the big idea" for first grade art is "family." This piece would be lovely for that.

creativemom said...

Hello! i am so glad you stopped by my blog. I love yours! I found myself nodding my head to much of what you have to say! Very inspiring and beautiful here! I'll have to come back again and again! :)