Cycle 3 Week 4- Abstract American Flag

Since we are studying American artists later this year during the “Great Artists”, I wanted to incorporate some famous American abstract artists into this lesson as well.  I’ve included examples of paintings by Calder, Rothko, and Johns.

Jasper Johns (born May 15, 1930) created a painting called “Flag”, which, simply, is of the American flag.  This is a great example of how confusing abstract art can be.  As one of his critics said “Is this a flag or a painting?”.  Exactly.

Even though abstract art can be hard to understand, we can still have great conversations about the elements used and how they make us feel.  Talking about the lines, shapes, and colors helps us appreciate the beauty and depth of the artwork.  To begin this lesson, show images of abstract art (I have included a PowerPoint of images I thought helpful) and have a discussion about them.  Include “Flag” by Jasper Johns as a segue to our final drawing.

We will be using elements from the American flag as we design our abstract work.  And in addition to using the elements, we want to use the principles of design.  This project will focus on repetition and balance in particular.

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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 →