Sunday, January 31, 2021

Kinder Winter Collages

This week we will learn how to make artwork with paper shapes.  This kind of art is called collage.  

We will learn about an artist named Charlie Harper who uses simple shapes to  build animal pictures, and we will look at the book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.  

Check out these amazing collages made by Prescott Kindergarteners, and then click on the captions to watch the videos to try your own!

Charlie Harper Birds

To turn in work, copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

Friday, January 29, 2021

Abstract Identity Landscapes

When something is really meaningful to us, we remember it!  Our memories become part of our identity.  Our past affects us, and we often think back on our life as we make choices moving forward.  In this project, you will reflect on some memories and use them as a subject for your art.  

I have chosen two artists to inspire us:  Pierre Bonnard and Helen Frankenthaler.  Bonnard was an impressionist, and Frankenthaler was an abstract expressionist.  Both of these artists painted from memory.  They each tried to express the feeling of being in a place they were remembering.  This means they had to really think about the mood of the moment and express visually how they were feeling.  This is tricky!  

Luckily, we know that some colors express certain moods.  We know Picasso used blues when he was feeling sad and pinks when he was happier.  We know the sayings of people being "green" with envy or "red" with rage.  

Picasso's Blue Period:  The Old Guitarist

Marks we make and how we paint or draw can also tell our mood or feelings.  Look at these examples:  What mood does the artist set in each painting?  How do the shapes and colors affect the mood?

Pink Field By Helen Frankenthaler
The Studio at Le Cannet, With Mimosa by Pierre Bonnard

Think of these examples and others that you already know as you watch this video and create your landscape with Ms. Ammons.  

Example Project by Ms. Ammons

Check your work!
1=D, 2=C, 3=B, 4=A
  • Were you able to connect three specific memories with emotions?
  • Did you use marks and forms that illustrate each feeling?
  • Did you use color schemes to match each feeling?
  • Did you meet your coloring goals in all three layers?

To turn in work, copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

Busting Stereotypes with Betye Saar

Have you ever felt like people think they know you when they don't?  How do you feel when someone makes guesses about what you like, what you think, or how you do things that are completely wrong?  We are all unique, and sometimes it feels like a big insult when other people assume we are not.  

Let's start with a video:  What is a Stereotype?

Artist Betye Saar fights stereotypes through her art.  She takes images of stereotypes that are insulting and transforms them.  Look at these pictures of two of her art projects:   

What stereotype does she show us?

How does she change the stereotype?

What other images do you see in her projects, and what do they make you think?

Next, watch this video interview of Betye Saar!  

When you look at her artwork, you will notice common images:  Hands, Eyes, Windows, Doors, The Cosmos, Stereotypes, Memories, Treasures

  In this project, you will gather some images of your own.  You will reflect on stereotypes and your true identity.  You will then create an assemblage or collage that combats stereotypes and illustrates your identity.  

Watch this video lesson with Ms. Ammons to create your own stereotype-busting assemblage of your identity:

To turn in work, copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Skyline Stars: Chicago's Amazing Skyscrapers

Drawn by Yalexi M. (Grade 5) when she was in the 3rd grade!

When I first moved to Chicago, I noticed that artwork showing the city was very popular.  Chicagoans are proud of their city, and with reason!  

Chicago is famous for its architecture and especially for its skyscrapers.  In this project, you will learn to draw the skyline by focusing on some of our skyline's stars:  distinctive buildings known worldwide.  

Let's start with a drawing paper turned so that it is WIDE, and let's use crayons.  Don't color anything.  Just draw with lines!
From L to R:  John Hancock, Aon, Trump, Willis

These buildings are some of Chicago's tallest buildings, and they are easy to spot in the skyline.  Your drawing should begin with these.  Notice the Willis Tower (AKA Sears Tower) is still the tallest in Chicago.  It can be drawn with a black crayon and has a shape kind of like stair steps towards the top, and it is topped with 2 spires.  Draw it towards the left side of your paper.  

The Aon Building is near the Willis Tower in the loop, so I drew it next.  I made it look like a long, skinny rectangle with stripes that go up and down.  

The Trump Tower can be found near the center of the skyline.  It is blue, and the steps on each side alternate as you move towards the top spire.  I add horizontal lines as rows of windows.  When my students "boo" this building (for reasons I will not mention), I remind them that Adrian Smith, the architect who designed the building, deserves credit for the beauty of the building. 😇

Finally, the Hancock Tower has the shape of a long trapezoid.  It was made more narrow at the top to make it seem taller.  I draw a X pattern down the building, and I add two spires.
Start with the "Skyline Stars"
Next, I add some buildings I find interesting.  The ones I ususally add are The "Diamond Building", which is actually called the Crain Communications Building, is near the Aon and Willis Towers, so I usually add it in front of or next to those.  Then, I add the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel on the right hand side of my paper.  Between the Trump Tower (Adrian Smith) and the Hancock Tower, I add the 900 N. Michigan Building.  Even though this building is not as tall as the others, the top looks like a castle with 4 spires.  It is easy to see in the skyline.  Here are photos of these landmarks.  Try adding them (or other buildings you like) next!

Add other buildings you find interesting!

"Diamond Building"

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel
900 N Michigan Building

After adding these, the other steps are simply adding details!  I added Millennium Park by drawing "The Bean" and some trees around the base of the Willis Tower.  I added Lake Shore Drive and some traffic next to that, and I added the waves of Lake Michigan in the front.  It is fun to put stars in the sky, windows and lights on the buildings, and boats in the water.

I added a park and a street in front.

I added lights, stars, and boats!

You could stop here, or you could add more COLOR!  I added color with watercolor paints.  This is fun because the wax from the crayons shows through the paint as a resist.  If you don't have watercolors at home, you can use washable markers!  Just draw lines where you want to paint, and then paint over the lines with a paintbrush and water.  

In class, we learn fun facts about the buildings as we go along.  I added links to the building names in these directions, just in case you want to learn some facts about Chicago's amazing architecture.  Other extensions for this project are limitless!  Some that we have done in class include:

To turn in work, copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

Blues and Jazz in Art: Romare Bearden

American painter Romare Bearden was one of the most important African American artists of the 20th century. 

He is best known for his collages, which he created largely from painted paper, magazine clippings, and bits of fabric. These works were done in a style influenced by Cubism

Based largely on his boyhood memories of life in the rural South and in New York during the Harlem Renaissance, Bearden’s works show us a lot about American black culture

In addition to being an artist, Bearden was a soldier, athlete, art historian, teacher, and author. He also owned and operated an art gallery.  

He loved music, and spent time working as a composer.  During the Harlem Renaissance, jazz and the blues were popular in the cities where African Americans had moved.  Romare Bearden shows his love of music in his art. 

Look at these examples:

What instruments do you recognize?

What mood do the colors create?

What do you imagine the music sounds like?  

Watch this video to hear Ms. Ammons read a story about Romare Bearden!

Now, we will make art INSPIRED by Romare Bearden.  That means you will think about what makes his work look interesting.  You will use collage, so you need pictures to cut up.  You can find some in your art packet or in magazines.  Think of it as making puzzle pieces that you will arrange in a new way.  

Sample Project by Ms. Ammons

Watch this video, and follow along with Ms. Ammons to make your project.

To turn in work, copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

Jacob Lawrence's Dynamic Cubism


Jacob Lawrence painted this self-portrait in his abstracted style that he called Dynamic Cubism.

Jacob Lawrence was a painter during The Harlem Renaissance.  He illustrated What life was like for African Americans.   He used bright, vivid colors set against black and brown figures.  He often showed images in sets of three.  Look at these examples:  

What colors do you notice?
What are the people doing in each painting?
Do they look realistic or abstract?

Watch this video to hear Ms. Ammons read a story about Jacob Lawrence!  Try to remember some facts that you learn from the story that tell you about his life.

Now, let's make some art!  Our artwork will use some things that Jacob Lawrence used in his artwork.  This means our art will be INSPIRED by him.  As you watch the video, think about what your picture could look like!  Follow along with Ms. Ammons as she does the project, and predict what steps you will take when it is your turn!


To turn in work, copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

The Art of Ancient Egypt


Ancient Egypt was one of the greatest and most powerful civilizations in the history of the world. It lasted for over 3000 years.  A lot of what we know about the Ancient Egyptians comes from their art. From the many pieces of art they created we can learn things like what they looked like, what kind of clothes they wore, what jobs they worked, and what they considered important. 

This week, you will learn about the Ancient Egyptians, and you will make some art inspired by their culture.

Did you know....
  • Egyptian artists mostly used the colors blue, black, red, green, and gold in their paintings. 
  • A lot of Egyptian art depicted the pharaohs.  They were like kings and gods, so they were very important to the Egyptian people. 
  • Many of the paintings of Ancient Egypt survived for so many thousands of years because the  Egyptian desert is extremely dry.
  • A lot of the art hidden in tombs was stolen by thieves over thousands of years.
Begin by watching these fun videos from National Geographic Kids!

Did you know the Ancient Egyptians had their own alphabet called hieroglyphics?  Watch this video to learn more.  You will learn what a CARTOUCHE is and how to make one using hieroglyphics.

Follow along with Ms. Ammons to make your cartouche!

Now, let's make some of our OWN art inspired by the Ancient Egyptians.  Did you know Egyptians made their own paper from a plant called PAPYRUS?  Let's try making our own paper look like papyrus by using texture!  

Follow along with Ms. Ammons as you learn about some symbols and styles you can include in your artwork.

 To turn in work, copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

Shading and Blending Values: Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate

In this lesson, we will learn how to use VALUE to make our drawings look more realistic.  Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a color.  Think about coloring with a pencil.  If you press down hard, you will get a dark line.  With the same pencil, you can touch your paper lightly with the tip of your pencil and color in a very light grey.  These are examples of two different values of the same color.  

Watch this video, and create a value scale that shows how many different grays you can make with the same pencil:
Sample Value Scale

Now, follow along with this next video to learn how to use value to change a 2-D circle to a 3-D sphere.  Then, use that practice to create a drawing of Cloud Gate (AKA, "The Bean")

 To turn in work, copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

My Life as an Album Cover

You know a lot about portraits.  Portraits can show us what a person looks like, but they can also tell us about a person.  

In this project, we will think about how album covers can be a type of portrait.  Did you know that a lot of musicians hire artists to design their album covers?  What would those artists have to show in their work? They need to find ways to show what the music is about, and they need to show visually what the musician wants to show musically.  Here are a few famous album covers. Look at them and think about these questions:

When do you think this music was made?

What do you think the music sounds like?

What does the musician want us to know about them from the album cover?

Your challenge is to design an album cover for your life story.  You will need to show us what you look like, but also tell us some things about you.  Any choice you make can make a difference in how your audience will see you.  

MONDAY:  Watch the project video.  Begin by reflecting.  Make some lists under these 3 topics:  


TUESDAY:  Review the proportions of the face, and practice drawing a simple face as you watch this short video:  CLICK HERE  Use a picture you like as a reference, and sketch your face on a 9x9 inch paper.  

WEDNESDAY:  Begin to add symbols and to shade your work.  Color is optional, but you should think about what color scheme works best for your project.  

THURSDAY:  Deep dive into the coloring/ shading goals.  Focus on even coloring and using a variety of values.

FRIDAY:  Finish up, upload your work, and write an artist's statement!

Project Goals:  (4=A, 3=B, 2=C, 1=D, 0=F)

Are your proportions accurate?

Did you shade and/or color your work carefully?

Did you add information about yourself in a creative way?

Did you balance your picture by filling your space?

Copy this code:  WCCP-WSTF

Signs of Peace

This week, the kindergarten artists will explore signs of peace.  We will make art and look at art with a theme of being peaceful and kind.  

Pablo Picasso used simple lines to tell a simple story:  

Be peaceful.  

Look at these pictures he made, and think about how they make you feel:

We will begin by making a 3-D dove from paper.  The dove is a symbol of peace.  Ancient Japanese culture, Ancient Greek culture and the Christian Bible all use the dove to symbolize the end of a bad time or the beginning of a peaceful and hopeful time.  Follow along in this video to make your own peace dove!  

Peace Dove Video

Now look at this image by Pablo Picasso.

What do you notice?  

How does it make you feel when someone gives you a gift?

How do you feel when someone opens a gift you give them?

Think of a friend you love.  What makes them a good friend?  What are some things about them that you admire?  Follow along in this video to make a picture about friendship inspired by Picasso's drawing.


Add your work to ARTSONIA!

American Sculpture: Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear is a 79 year old sculptor who lives in New York.  He has traveled the world to study art and craft traditions, and he has rec...