Thursday, January 9, 2014

Kindergarten, 1st and 5th grade - Britto, Longo, and Warhol

I am currently teaching three art classes for Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 5th Grade at my daughters school.  It is always a challenge to make the classes appealing to kids because the curriculum we currently use is a bit outdated and sometimes too wordy.

Instead of just throwing the whole thing out the window, I've been taking the basic core lessons, but updating them with new artists that the kids might not know.  I'd like to share how we learned to draw and paint like Britto, Longo, and Warhol.

Kindergarten - Primary Colors
Objective - Students identify primary colors on the color wheel and discriminate primary colors from other colors.

For the lesson today, we looked at the artwork of Romero Britto, a Brazilian painter and sculptor who combines elements of cubism, pop art and graffiti painting in his work.  We used his flower painting as our inspiration.

Romero Britto

First the kids learned how to use black watercolor paint for the main outlines.  We started by drawing a big circle in the middle of our paper and then added six Cs that all wanted to hold on to it.  We then put our paper aside to dry and discussed the reason some of the papers were wetter then others.  I wanted to show them first hand why I always say "less is more" when using water in watercolors. 

Once circles were dry, and we'd looked at a few more of Britto's artwork for inspiration, we got to work coloring in our petals with patterns and shapes. Here are some of the examples of finished artwork:

1st Grade - Shapes Within Shapes
Objective - Students create a drawing with a shape within a shape.

For the first graders, I really wanted to find a print that had changed how art was viewed and decided to talk about Andy Warhol and his impact on the art world and commercialism.  Warhol is an American pop art painter and sculptor who passed away in 1987.

I started my power point presentation with an image of the Mona Lisa, which of course sent hands flying of everyone that wanted to tell me who she was, and we talked about how art was viewed  when the Mona was painted.  I told them that portraits and landscapes were the primary art forms until modern artists changed that with public shows.  One of these shows was Warhol's pivotal 1964 exhibit The American Supermarket, where he presented his Campbell Soup painting.  He was one of the first artists to tell everyone that you can paint anything you want, including everyday objects, and of course the kids loved that.

Andy Warhol

His painting was used as the perfect transition into talking about artwork that had shapes within shapes, since it showcases a circle within a cylinder.  I also showed them all 36 Campbell soups that Warhol painted and installed together, so that he created a pattern with the canvases, not just on the canvases.

As with my kindergartener's, the first graders also used the black watercolor paint to edge their soup cans.  They were then given red and yellow oil pastels for the rest of their masterpieces.  Here are some of our very own Tomato Soup paintings:

5th Grade - Crosshatching for Value
Objective - Students use line to crate value in still life.

I had a hard time finding artwork for this lesson since crosshatching is a necessary, yet boring, thing to teach kids.  They just don't like doing it and I usually have difficultly getting the lesson through to them.  This year, however, I stumbled upon the artwork of Robert Longo, an American painter and sculpture, and was blow away by his Monsters series on waves.

Robert Longo
Here was the perfect blend of how to talk about the values in range, yet do so with an exciting subject matter.  It was so awesome to hear a few gasps from kids when I showed them the wave images blown up at the front of the classroom.  I love when artwork creates a reaction.
Before we started on the waves, we took a 2B pencil and a four by nine sheet of paper to created a value scale of
-White (leave blank)
-Light (draw vertical lines)
-Medium (draw vertical lines with horizontal lines on top)
-Darker Grey (draw vertical lines with horizontal and diagonal one direction lines on top)
-Darkest (draw vertical lines with horizontal and diagonal both directions lines on top)

I wanted them to have the value scale as a reference when they were creating their waves. 

Here are some of the artwork created by them using 2B and 4B pencils, along with ball point pens:

Till next time, keep drawing!

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