Cycle 2 Week 15- Fanciful Landscapes

It’s time to let our imaginations run wild!  Though Thomas Gainsborough’s landscapes might appear simply realistic to us, they have a dream-like, dramatic quality to them.  It is said that he even created them at home using pebbles, twigs, and even broccoli to create mini dioramas.  The images were very much from inside his own head.

For this project, the students will create their own imaginary scene.  Just like Gainsborough’s, it will be realistic yet wondrous.  Waterfalls?  Rainbows?  Babbling brooks with ferns and foliage?  Erupting volcanoes?  The students get to be as creative and unrestrained as they choose. Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 14- Botanical Drawings

I love this project.  It combines drawing with science and math.  It teaches students to carefully study what they see.  It allows us to emphasize size and proportion in drawing.  Kids will always love to doodle and draw imaginative ideas, and teaching traditional drawing techniques in no way inhibits this.  In fact, teaching realistic drawing will give them the skills to better draw what’s in their head.

This botanical drawing is based off the work of Carl Linnaeus, famous artist, botanist, physician, and zoologist.  He carefully studied plants and recorded his findings through illustrations.  They are beautiful examples of science and art.   Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 13- Portraits

Oh, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Portrait drawing can be the most nerve-wracking art assignment.  The features always look a bit wonky, it never looks like the person you are trying to draw, and it can be embarrassing to have to show it off to other kids in class.  Though portrait drawing is a challenge, following a simple mathematical formula can greatly improve the outcome.

In this lesson, students will learn the basic structure of all human faces.  Using this guideline, they will draw the portrait of a parent in class.  The focus is learning the structure, not creating a perfect likeness of the subject.

The famous artist tied in with this lesson is Rembrandt van Rijn.  A famous Dutch painter of the 1600s, he painted landscapes, biblical scenes, portraits and self-portraits.  To begin the lesson, give an introduction to Rembrandt and his work, then dive into drawing your own portrait. Continue Reading →

Mealtime Monet- Illuminated Letter

Today we will create our own drawing inspired by Medieval art history.  As we learn about historical figures of the Middle Ages in class, seeing art from this time gives us a fuller understanding of the period.

illuminatedpage

Illuminated manuscripts are just one many art forms from the Middle Ages.  They were created by monks, written and colored entirely by hand, and took years to complete.  The drawings are fanciful and beautiful.  Monks created the manuscripts on vellum (animal skin), painted them with pigments, and embellished them with silver and gold.

For today’s project you will need the following:


Materials

8.5 x 11 paper

pencil

ruler

paints or colored pencils

optional: gold or silver marker or paint


First, let’s look at some illuminated letters.  On this Pinterest page you will find a variety of examples.  Some are from the Medieval Period and some are modern.

https://www.pinterest.com/doveandquail/illuminated-letters/

Also, look at this amazing artwork from Tolkien illustrator Benjamin Harff!

http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/902-Benjamin-Harff-Interview-Edel-Silmarillion.php

 

Once you’ve explored some illuminated manuscripts, let’s get drawing!  Follow along on the video to create your own illuminated letter.

Mealtime Monet- Shooting Stars in Perspective

(What is this all about?  Check out What is Mealtime Monets?)

I’ve greatly enjoyed learning about astronomy during Cycle 2.  As I say almost every week, I am re-gaining my education by being a part of CC!   As an nod to Cycle 2’s outer space facts (and my six-year-old son’s new-found love of drawing stars) this art project combines celestial bodies with one-point perspective.

Perspective drawing creates depth, as if some things are far away and some are near.  Today’s drawing is of “shooting stars”.  The stars will appear close to us, as if shooting forward from deep in space.

shooting-starsContinue Reading →

Mealtime Monet- Abstract Autumn Leaves

(What is this all about?  Check out What is Mealtime Monets?)

Autumn is here, and I am already mulching and raking leaves like crazy.  Though this project won’t solve the entire problem, it will get your kids to pick up three our four leaves from your yard.

“Abstract Fall Leaves” combines the idea of abstract art from week 4 with the warm/cool color scheme.  For this project, kids will design a balanced composition and begin to understand the color wheel.  Let’s take a look:

Continue Reading →

What is Mealtime Monets?

What is “Mealtime Monets”?  It is the thing that will save your sanity!!!  Ok, I like to exaggerate, but still… it is a tool that will give you free time while your children practice real art skills that relate to Classical Conversations or drawing in general.  I’m calling it “Mealtime Monets” because dinner prep is the time I find I need a bit of space, yet my children (and dog) like to be stealthily right behind me every time I walk to the sink so that I trip over them as I back up.  Or they ask to help make dinner as I’m in a whirlwind panic of pulling the baked chicken out of the oven as I remember that I forgot to make the rice (again).  I do love having my children cook with me, and we do this often, but there are some nights that I’d like to have them occupied while I’m working on it.  And when I realize I’ve screamed “Just go play OUTSIDE!” four times, I need to find an alternative for them to do.

Mealtime Monets are helpful because your kids can sit at the kitchen table and work on the projects while you’re near them in the kitchen.  They like this, of course.  Even if you don’t use the projects near dinner time, they are a good way of keeping kids occupied and engaged in something meaningful while you do something else (like work on math with another kid.  Or have some time by yourself).  They use simple materials and little prep time.  Perfect.

 

Cycle 2 Week 6- Mona Lisa Grid Drawing

monalisa

I had the chance to visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa in person many years ago.  What I thought would be a huge and impressive painting was actually a small and somewhat dull portrait.  What’s all the fuss with the Mona Lisa?  There have been many theories about the woman’s expression, about what her real name is, and even about the portrait being of Da Vinci himself painted as a female.  Though I am not a die-hard fan of the work, it is still an interesting piece of history and a quintessential piece of Renaissance art.  This week we will re-create the Mona Lisa using a grid-drawing technique.  This will tie in our history sentence and expose students to another way to accurately draw what we see.

Below you will find three lesson plans: one for ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11.  The lesson plan PDF includes tutor directions, line drawing of the Mona Lisa, and gridded paper. Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 5- Cities in Perspective

Cityscapes are a wonderful way to use perspective drawing techniques.  Luckily, the geography for this week is European Cities, a perfect jumping off point for drawing buildings in perspective.

The drawings this week are inspired by vintage travel posters.  They always have a dynamic sense of depth due to…. you guessed it, perspective!  These are the posters that inspired this week’s projects.

travel posters

Perspective can be a challenge.  Students have to use rulers, line up points, and do all sorts of stuff that is hard for them.  Just remember, it is not about what the final drawing looks like.  It is about students learning the ideas.  Even if it doesn’t look great, they are practicing challenging subject matter and gaining understanding.  That’s the important stuff!

Below you’ll find lesson plans for ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11. Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 4- Abstract Native American Salmon

For week four, the lesson combines Native American art (timeline card “Early Native Americans”) and abstract art.  First, let’s define abstract.  It is a category of art that represents imagery in a simplistic or distorted manner.  Under this category is non-objective art, which takes out the recognizable image completely, and we are left with just lines, color, etc.  The Foundations Guide art idea for week 4 is non-objective, but using abstracted imagery can also effectively teach students to design well using lines, shapes, and color.

Just like the lesson from the Foundations Guide, this lesson encourages students to use the elements to create interesting and pleasing design.  Students must also think about space, balance, and repetition as they draw.  The fish in the project is a simplified shape, and the motifs inside are focused on design, not realism.  Let’s get started on the abstracted Northwest Native American Salmon! Continue Reading →