Spray Paint Self Portraits:
- Positive/Neg Space
- Spray Paint (new medium)
This lesson was inspired by a lesson in the magazine Arts and Activities. The article was for an advanced high school art class and was much more complex -- I simplified it for my students and they had a blast!
I first took pictures of them with my digital camera with a strong light source from one side (the overhead). I then opened those pictures in Adobe Photoshop where I made them black and white -- no grey, just black and white. I printed them off and handed them out. I then explained to the students that all the white pieces had to connect -- if the white pieces didn't connect their stencil would fall apart, so in some places they would need to make up lines to connect it all.
To make their stencil I gave them single overhead transparency sheets that they taped over their paper and drew on with permanent/overhead marker to connect all the white spaces. The students then cut away everything that was black -- leaving their stencil.
Many students felt their stencil did not look like anything let alone them. So, we took them outside and taped their stencils to paper. I did a quick demo on how to use spraypaint and let them go at it -- keeping the away from any concrete/building. Almost every student would peal off their stencil and go 'ahhhhh. That is so cool!' and then ran to do another one.
We first read the book, 'How I Became A Pirate' by Melinda Long. We then discussed what pirates look like -- what they wear, if they are clean, hats, bandannas... etc.
The students then choose their background color and dug in the scrap drawer for pieces to make their pirate. The students weren't too sure about tearing right at first, but really took off after they ripped a few pieces. Once they were done with their pirate they drew a background!
Many of my students think art is just painting and drawing -- so I decided to branch out from typical mediums and introduce light graffiti.
Light graffiti is very popular in larger cities, as it is a way to 'graffiti' without defacing any property -- so everyone really wins. This form of art is also popular in our everyday culture as one of the cell phone companies use a set of still light graffiti photos to make their 'stop action' commercials. (These are the commercials of the garbage trucks having arms and legs, or sending hearts in the air to the person they are texting.....)
These are done in our school store -- as it was the only room that was large enough and dark enough. In one corner is the camera on a tripod and set on a manual setting where the shutter remains open for about 10-15 seconds. Infront of the camera are the students with their flashlights.
The students looked at examples of light graffiti and planned out their own -- they tried their idea a few times and then made changes as they saw fit. Often times they found their designs were far too complicated for their first time painting with light. They found much success in purely moving the flashlights around in the air to make shapes -- everyone succeeded at this project!
Right before break there was just enough time for one more quick assignment. This project introduced positive and negative spaces to my 2nd grade students.
--Using Chalk Pastel
This assignment was very simple, but provided students with an introduction to positive and negative spaces by tracing their hands and coloring in the negative space. The students also reviewed how to blend by using colors next to each other on the color wheel.
Towards the end of the term my students needed a humorous assignment, so we used cartoon characters and famous art to make a parody.
--Taking two ideas and making them one
--Famous art work
The students were to pick out cartoon characters from TV, comics, or video games to re-draw into a famous art piece of their choice. The paper I choose for the final insured that the students would need to redraw the pictures and not trace them. Once they had drawn their characters and the artwork they would be inhibiting, students added color with a medium of their choice.
My third grade students requested to do a drawing assignment after completing their radial designs. I decided having them do a contour drawing would be best.
--Contour (outline) drawing
--Sign language letters
We started by practicing the sign language alphabet as a class. I then showed them the easiest way to draw the outline of their hand. I prepared them to be frustrated, but that this lesson is all about trying and doing your best -- many of the students really gave it their all and did an amazing job!
The students either drew on the final paper or on scratch paper 3-5 letters making up a work or initials. Once the students drew their letters they used magazines or drawings to collage the background in a way that represented the word/initials that they drew.
The two examples shown: The first says 'Austin' and is collaged with things he likes. The second spells 'LOL' (laugh out loud) and there are pictures of people smiling and laughing!
After a long snowy winter the students and I were itching for some sun, so we decided to try and lure the sun out from behind the clouds with some radial sun window clings.
--Using permanent markers
I first explained what radial meant then they helped me design a sun with radial patterns. Next they traced the shape of their window cling on a piece of paper and designed their own radial sun.
The students then taped the window cling over their design and traced their patterns with a black sharpie. After outlining the students colored their suns keeping warm colors on the inside and cool colors for the background.
This assignment was successful for each and every student no matter their skill level. When they were completed I put them up in the art room windows until they went home with the students!
In my room I have a cupboard that contains my art centers. My art centers are available when students have completed their work. They may choose from free draw, art memory (pictured -- I found pictures online of famous artworks then printed them out and laminated them onto card stock), fancy scissors, I Spy books, a form of pictionary, and sometimes word searches.
All of my 2nd grade students have lost teeth, so what better inspiration?
--Putting work on drying racks
The students and I brainstormed two different locations for the tooth fairies to be flying: outside in the neighborhood or in their bedroom. We did an example of each place as a class. The tooth fairy was what we drew first to make sure it was nice and big at the top and sideways to show that it was flying. The students and I discussed how there could be boy and girl fairies -- this made it much more exciting for the boys.
The students then received huge paper and told to draw either their bedroom or their neighborhood with their tooth fairies. The creativity between the students was amazing! There were tooth fairies every size, there was one that hit the closed window, one got stuck in a tornado, and all sorts of other imaginative things. A couple of students that drew their neighborhoods added trees from our ice trees. Then there were even a few students that drew the inside of their bedroom on half and their neighborhood on the other.
Once the students were done drawing they outlined with black crayon and used watercolor to fill in their pictures. After they were all done we added glitter to their fairies if they wanted.
Often my middle school students have an opinion that art is just drawing and painting from some old dead people. This project really helps bring art to their world. We learn what logos are, who makes them, and then they make their own.
--Power of Art
I start this lesson out by giving a PowerPoint presentation. Each slide has one logo -- it generally takes only one slide for the student to start shouting out the companies of these products. At the end of the slide I ask them how they knew what those symbols meant. Many don't have words -- though a few do. They generally don't have an answer for me. I go on to explain that that is the power of art -- that they as consumers don't need the words to know where the McDonald's is or if a shirt your friend is wearing is NIKE. The companies have taught you their symbol. I then go on to talk about graphic designers and that people get paid good money to come up with these logos -- that is it a real world, real paying art job.
Next the students do a set of brainstorming activities with their personal initials so that they can come up with an original logo for themselves. Once the students brainstorm they are to take their favorite idea and bend it into different forms -- thus learning how to format. This is generally tough for the students because it changes their original idea. I tell them they don't have to use it if they don't like it, so just try... and often they find a shape they liked better.
The students then use final paper to place their logos. They color as they wish, cut out and mount of paper color of their choice. Often after this assignment they either make a stamp of their logo or a printing block of their logo.
As a way to really work on composition I developed this lesson using students favorite song lyrics and designing a CD cover for that song.
--Transferring words to pictures
Students first picked a song of their choice. I told them the song could be any song they wanted at long as their parents would approve -- it could have bad words in it because those words will not show up on their cover. The idea that their song might have bad words in it and be okay was obviously thrilling to them. So, they printed out their lyrics and then we went through a couple of songs that I had picked for myself. One was called, Table for Two by Caedmon's Call. I choose this song because it has obvious picture words like, 'pancake, soccer, rock, window'. I read it to the class and we underlined all the picture words. Next I did the song Be My Escape by Relient K. I choose this song because there are no obvious picture words so the pictures were going to need some abstract thinking. The chorus repeats an idea of 'getting out of here, I feel into a rut that I feel into by mistake' So, I showed them how I took this idea of 'getting out' and thought about how do I get out/leave a place.
The students then looked through their songs and underlined ideas/picture words. They took these and made at least 4 thumbnail sketches. From these we talked about how to make their favorite sketch better -- composition -- how to fill up the space in a better way.
Once they decided on a composition they liked they received a final piece of paper in which they drew their sketch and then colored it layering 3 different colors of colored pencil. The students didn't exactly understand why I asked them to layer the colors until I showed them the different between one color and 3 -- they all agreed the color was much richer!
The students were not to put on any words from the lyrics, the song title or the artist -- as one of the examples shows -- not all remember that expectation. The Cd's above are for the songs Our Song By Taylor Swift and the other is Waiting on the World to Change By John Mayor
My students really wanted to create something with clay. I asked them if they wanted to make something useful like a bowl or if they wanted to make some kind of figurine -- the vote was of course split. I looked online for inspiration, I asked other people -- all I could find were pinch pots or medieval figures. Then somewhere from the cosmos came the idea for clay bobble heads.
--Scoring and Slipping (joining clay)
--How wet clay should be when being used.
The students had very little requirements and direction for this project. I told them that it needed to sit or stand alone, the head needed to be an upside down pinch pot, the features were to NOT be drawn into the clay, needed to have along neck (so it could bobble) and no clay could be more than an inch thick.
The creativity that poured from this project was amazing! The animals, people, creatures that they made were as diverse as how they mushed/molded/ sculpted the body. Every student that attempted this project succeeded because they were allowed to work with the clay on their own terms -- not on mine.
One of my eighth grade students really did not want to do a clay project, so we came up with an alternate project for her. She is amazing with a number 2 pencil for just being in 8th grade. A lot of her sketches deal with dark subjects, so I asked if she was often inspired by songs/poetry. She kind of laughed and told me the was also a poet. I printed out a verse from Talib Kwili's song Joy.
Above is what she drew: broken glass, a man crying holding a seed very delicately, a pierced heart, and a chess board.
The lyrics:.....I do it for the seeds y'all, in they formative years when they need y'all
we gotta believe, in what we conceive y'all, it's deep y'all
I give them the truth, so they approach the situation, with ammunition
I keep nothing away, they hear everything, cause they know how to listen
Teach them the game, so they know they position, so they can grow
and make decisions, that change the world, and break old tradition
They put kids in jail, for a life they ain't even get to start
that's murder too, and it's breaking my heart
it's breaking our nation apart
We gave the youth all the anger, it's just
we ain't taught them, how to express it, and so it's dangerous
You can't talk to them unless your language
is relating to what they going through
so busy ignoring them, you can't see what they showing you
And you wonder, why we called baby-daddy's and baby-momma's
when we grow up, we can't act like adult mothers and fathers, yo
I'm so blessed to have a boy and a girl
everyday they bring joy to my world"
I had 6th grade students at the end of the day for a quarter and a group of boys liked to put up their chairs as creatively as possible. They often would ask if they could have extra credit for their abstract sculpture. I of course gave them a few points.
After the ice trees my students really wanted to do something that didn't require them to draw. So we made bug collages inspired by Eric Carle!
--Decorating paper (cause and effect)
--Critical thinking/problem solving (which shapes for what part to make the bug)
--Tracing (fine motor skill)
--Cutting (fine motor skill/hand eye coordination)
We first looked at pictures from books of Eric Carle -- careful to look at the colors and textures of each shape -- and how those shapes made up an animal. Next the students used different centers to make different kinds of paper. One station required students to blow bubbles in a container fill with soap, water, and a little bit of paint. Once they blew bubbles up over the edge they placed their paper on the bubbles and wham they had a really neat texture on their paper! Another station had students use different kinds of texture plates to do crayon rubbings. The students then used watercolor to go over these crayon patterns!
All the paper the students made went into a community pile. I explained before we started that these papers we would share and there was a good chance that students would not get their paper back. We talked about how interesting it would be if we only had one type of paper in comparison to many -- we compared it to having an ice cream sundae and how most of us would want lots of flavors.
When it came time to make the collages students picked out their paper and were given the option of using shape stencils to trace and cut out or to make up their own shapes to make their bugs. We looked at shapes and imagined what part of the bug it would be for -- this really helped give the students a jump start.
They then were set loose to create their very own bugs!
During the late fall, while I was long term subbing, we had a HUGE ice storm that cancelled school for two days!
--Drawing branches with 2 lines
--Critical thinking/problem solving
When school resumed my 2nd graders and I used the ice storm as a perfect teaching opportunity. We looked out the windows at the trees. What did they look like? How were the branches formed? How big were they compared to the trunk? How did the ice make the tree look? Could we see through the ice? What color was the ice? Was the ice just on top of the branch? Were there leaves on the trees? What color was the tree/leaves?
We then talked about how trees have two sides to the branch -- that each branch is thicker than a pencil line -- so we drew trees making sure all the branches had two sides! The students then colored in their trees with a brown crayon of choice, outlined with white oil pastel and then used white glue to trace their branches, and last they sprinkled on their own 'ice' (glitter).