Friday, July 9, 2010

Fifth Grade

Contour Paintings

Fifth graders honed their observational skills in this project, drawing objects of their choosing from direct observation. We talked about contour drawing techniques, and looked to Pablo Picasso's elegant line drawings for inspiration. These drawings were outlined in Sharpie and painted with tempera in non-naturalistic colors.

Keith Haring Prints

Keith Haring's freely expressive, linear, playful style appeals to the masses, so his work was the springboard for this Styrofoam print process. Students first made sketches, then traced those designs onto a sheet of Styrofoam, leaving indentations anywhere they drew lines onto the soft surface. The foam "plates" were inked and printed onto construction paper.

Wayne Thiebaud Cupcakes

Food is often and engaging subject, especially when it's junk food! I've always admired Wayne Thiebaud's food paintings, so here they are manifested in my classroom. I created fake cupcakes using spray insulation foam, and painted and decorated them so they would be different and fun. We also used fake french fries, dirt cake, and ice cream as subjects for these drawings. We learned about shading a form, so students were careful to include shadows, highlights, and a heavy cast shadow in their drawings. Rich, beautiful color was achieved by blending and mixing oil pastels. These were drawn on gray paper to help the light colors pop.

Cuckoo Clocks

As a kid, I was fascinated by my grandmother's cuckoo clocks- they're so detailed, folksy, and intriguing. Since woodcarving obviously isn't an option for an elementary classroom, we used corrugated cardboard I had stockpiled from the year's art supply order. For assembly, we needed Tacky glue and low temperature mini glue guns since Elmer's dries too slowly for a three dimensional structure with this kind of bulk. Lastly, students embellished with Sharpie to mimic the intricate carving on the real McCoy.

Endangered Species Cyan Print

The only reason my students could do this nifty project is one special product: light sensitive paper. This is about as close as I could get to a photographic experience for my students, since we have no dark room. We borrowed five overhead projectors from some obliging friends around the building to serve as the light source. Kids printed out images of the endangered species they had been studying in a classroom project, and traced the animal onto a transparent sheet of plastic (in this case, part of a sheet protector) with, yup, you guessed it, a Sharpie marker. Thicker Sharpies are actually best for this process since they are crisp, clear, and extra opaque. Once that drawing was done, kids came to the projector, where they were given a sheet of light sensitive paper. Quickly, they dropped their transparent drawing onto the projector bed, followed by the sheet of light sensitive paper facing down, and topped with a heavy book to cover it all up and trap the light. We timed the exposure with stopwatches; in this case to 2 minutes, 45 seconds. The print gets dropped immediately into a bath of water for a minute, and then it's done! If you get this paper, you can do these prints at home with sunlight instead of the projector. You needn't rely on a photo or drawing as a subject, either- you can lay objects on the paper itself, like leaves, feathers, shells, anything you like.

Klimt Self Portraits

For the fifth grade self portrait, we looked to painter Gustave Klimt. His gloriously lovely portraits feature realistic renderings of faces and arms, but wildly stylized depictions of clothing and background. They're bursting with color and pattern, and embellished with real gold leaf. Fifth graders first created a tissue paper collage on an 8 by 10 inch canvas board. Then, they drew a small self portrait of only their faces (or hands if they wished) on tagboard. This was cut out and glued to the canvas, which was then painted to make the clothing and patterns in the background. We imitated the gold leaf with metallic paints.

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