O’Keeffe inspired

Can you tell what this is?

So I’m an elementary Art teacher. I’m faced with many challenges, the biggest being how do I fit my curricula into essentially 35 hours per class in the year? Yes, you’ve read correctly, 35 hours is about my total time in a year to teach them. As a result I have to pack as many goodies into a lesson as I possibly can. That then brings to mind, well what do I think is worth their time and what things are most important? These two questions dictate where my classes go throughout the year.

As I prepare for this second half of the year I have to recollect where I’ve taken my kids and where they’ll go in the next few months. It’s at this point that I have to re-evaluate my Fall semester for the next year. I’d like to share one of my favorite projects. It’s simple, packs a lot of punch, and yields really successful art. I call it, Through the Microscope. We relate science to art, touch on art history, work on abstraction, work with color mixing/painting, and sharpen our observation skills. Our goals are to create an abstract looking image based on a larger original picture.

I begin with questions about what you look through to make something look bigger and to make something look smaller. We quickly talk about the differences in telescopes and microscopes and the outcomes of using both. We create a list to encourage focused conversation. Then I introduce the artist Georgia O’Keeffe through a power point with simple note taking. In the power point I include many examples of her work and we discuss the connection to using either a telescope or microscope. What does it look like Georgia gazed through? How can you tell? I’m looking for a focus on making things look larger, increasing detail, and so on. Also, I touch on her abstraction of everyday items. A flower no longer looks like a flower to the viewer.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection

Now we’re ready to get our creativity on. Here’s how to do it:

Tear a colorful page from a magazine or discarded book. Look for something bright and colorful. The actual image is not important.
Using an index card, cut a square from the middle. This serves as a view-finder.
Move your viewfinder around your colorful picture looking for interesting shapes and colors. Once you’ve decided on a piece of the image tape your viewfinder in place.
Create a quick practice contour line sketch of what you see inside your viewfinder.
Once you are happy with your sketch, redraw your image on a square piece of paper. This serves as the base for your final product.

Mixing tints and shades was introduced in a previous lesson. Now those skills have to be utilized to recreate the colors in the original picture.

When you finish you should have a "zoomed-in" replica of your original image. The results have been amazing!

Did you figure out what the top photo is? It’s a section of an old truck. Do you see the grill? The headlight? Amazing, right?! I do this project with 4th graders.

Happy creating!


About repletewithclass

wife. art teacher. whirlwind.
This entry was posted in General Arts, School Art and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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