Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream!

"The Scream" by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch
has always been a favorite of mine. I have seen reproductions ranging from extremely vivid colors to black and white graphics. It is a strong piece of emotional art work springing up from the
abstract expressionist movement.
It has inspired countless parody as one can find by simply Googling images for the title. It is at once simple and extremely complex, silent and deafening. I learned for the first time today of it's connection in concept to the eruption of the volcano of Krakatoa, a natural event with global ramifications. In the painting you can hear the explosion in the reverberating waves of color that are at battle with the sounds of the death-like figure's screams. Pretty heavy for kids you might think, but when you see Macaulay Culkin putting on aftershave in Home Alone you are really looking at the same image. Kids scream. People scream. Screaming occurs for multitudes of reasons, from
fear, anger, frustration, excitement, or sheer joy.
It is all the about the emotion, not the specific emotion, and
that is what abstract expressionism really is.
Today I bring you my version of an art project and unit study ideas to help you learn more about this painting, artist, and correlating connections.
(Can you tell how much I love alliteration?)

What you will need:

white cardstock
masking tape
cardboard or other drawing board
black sharpie
oil pastels

1. Start out by having students draw a single figure in the center of the paper. It does not need to be the whole figure. It can be cropped to show only a face and upper torso or a full length figure.
(for a figure tutorial- check out Paul Bunyan or Dancing Divas)
2. Make sure to draw the features of the face with a strong emotion and expression!
3. Outline the shape of the figure and then "echo" these outlines all the way to the edges of the paper. Try to make these outlines as wavy as possible, as if they are vibrating.
4. Use black sharpie to outline all the pencil.
5. Color the inside figure with either all cool(greens, blues, purples, greys) colors or all warm(red, yellow, orange, pink, brown) colors.
6.Color the reverberation lines with the opposite type of colors. If your figure is warm, use cool colors, or vice versa.(tip: work from the inside out to avoid smudging color all over you paper)
7. Lastly re outline all the black lines with black oil pastel.(You could also rub a bit of paper towel over the whole image to smudge the black a bit and add some texture- but be careful- a little goes a long way!)

Here you will see versions done both ways...

To extend this into a unit study...

Science: Study sound waves, geology, or vulcanology

History: Learn more about Krakatoa's eruption and how the weather affected history.

Geography: Learn about Norway

Math: How many sound waves are in you picture? How many miles is it from Krakatoa to Norway?

Language Arts and Music: Write a song or poem about
the things that make you want to

Links and Resources

Edvard Munch at Kinderart

Art Smarts for Kids

National Gallery of Art

Enchanted Learning

Volcano Videos at How Stuff Works

Align Center



Bethany said...

Julie. I have been loving your blog for awhile. I teach an art class to k-4th graders and Use famous artists and works to do it. I came across your site one day looking for a sample of someones art. Had you in my bloglines since. I am going to have to do this one with them. You have great ideas and instructions. So fun

Thanks for your sweet comments too.

Jessica said...

I love the idea of using this painting to introduce sound waves. I will definitely use this when I have a class of my own (in about a thousand years it seems).

Jamie said...

Julie, thank you for sharing your gifts with us. I am actually very overwhelmed in life right now with 3 boys (6 yrs, 3 yrs, and 6 months). I am trying to homeschool my 6 year old but honestly I am not accomplishing much. We did do the St. Patrick's day clover piece and they were very proud of it. My heart longs to provide a home that encourages creativity. You are going to help me do that. Thanks for allowing the Creator of the universe to flow through you. :)

School for Us said...

Julie, Thanks for the comments about my Paul and Babe. You made my day! :-)

I love this Scream project and hope to do this next week with my daughter. Thanks for all of the creative ideas!