Monday, July 27, 2009

Night Rider

Our third week of American Art History brought us to the birth of our nation. Now we know that this painting was actually done in the 20th century and the poem on which it was based was written in the 19th century, but the event itself occurred in the 18th century. For my historical purposes, I focused on the event itself. Based on the event and the painting itself, I created a criteria based lesson.

I particularly enjoy creating criteria based lessons for two reasons.

1.) The finished pieces tend to be more creative as I encourage artists to take the elements and mix them up and juxtapose them.
2.) Kids learn to really look at the details of a piece of art or artist's style, internalize it, and hence don't easily forget it.

First we discussed the artist(Grant Wood)and what is intentions really were behind this piece as well as discussing some of his more famous pieces(American Gothic) and influences.(You can learn more about him here and here)

Then we looked at the painting itself and tried to draw out every element and detail we could. For younger students, keep the elements really basic, but encourage them to really look too. Young eyes often catch very small details we adults miss.

After we did this we came up with this list of criteria that our artwork should have.
Once the minimum criteria was achieved they could add as many or as few details as they wished. They were to begin in pencil and then outline in black sharpie and color in oil pastel.

The picture must show...

1. An outdoor scene at night.
2. One very tall building with a steeple.
3. 11 more houses of varying size some of which must be arranged in a circle or oval.
4. At least 17 lighted windows.
5. A horse with a rider(this could be a rocking horse too)
6. Nine other people in the picture.
7. Trees of varying sizes and at least 4 different shapes.
8. A winding hilly road with a bridge...
9. That crosses a winding hilly river or stream.
10.The light source coming from the right and casting shadows to the left of the picture.

The kids spent a great deal of time on the drawing of their pictures and weren't able to get to the coloring, but even so these pieces are pretty impressive.


Heather - - said...

How fun! I love Grant Wood (ever since I saw a painting of his called "the Rugby Player" in a gallery in NY. Of course, "American Gothic" is awesome, too). Love the idea behind a criteria-based project. Love all your lessons!! :)


SmallWorld at Home said...

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing this with the Carnival of Homeschooling!

Ruby in Montreal said...

Thanks for sharing this! I like the idea of using criteria-based art lessons to accomplish a broader set of goals. I will have to try incorporating lessons like this into our homeschooling for the coming year :)