Cycle 3 Week 14- Norman Rockwell

For me, Norman Rockwell’s illustrations do more than tell a story. They often convey something deep about life and human fragility. Yes, many of his drawings are humorous, but even then they contain so much more. They capture the emotions of the subject, the complexity of a seemingly everyday scene. We connect with the inner thoughts of the people pictured. Norman Rockwell was extremely gifted with understanding and empathizing with people in all stages of life.

The learning targets for this week are (1) defining the word “illustration” and (2) conveying emotion through our work. Continue Reading →

Cycle 3 Week 13- Grandma Moses

Starting out the “Great Artists” this year we have Grandma Moses. Her work is considered folk art, meaning her art pieces reflect her community, culture, and the everyday things around her. She was not a formally trained artist, and amazingly did not even begin painting until her late seventies. In her paintings we see the quirky nature of her self-taught art: the flattened buildings, the funky use of perspective, and the robustly busy scenes. They are charming and endearing, and your students will love to create their own scene as well.

Though the lesson is primarily about Grandma Moses and folk art, this plan will also focus on learning the terms “foreground”, “middleground”, and “background”. It’s always nice to throw in some extra art terms and use these projects to practice specific techniques. Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 18- Morisot and Playful Paint

This project is almost as fun as finger-painting!  Kids get to add items to the paint, creating unique and interesting textures.  Though our artist for the week, Berthe Morisot, didn’t paint with such unusual items, we will still incorporate her work into the project and connect her to the lesson.

In the lesson plan I have included simple drawings of some of her paintings.  The students will use the textured paint to fill in the pictures.  Because the paint is so thick, it is best to do this project in the beginning of the day so it has lots of time to dry. Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 17- Degas’ Dancers

As a girl I loved looking at Degas’ work.  I was enamored by the beautiful ballerinas in voluminous tutus practicing their movements .  It seemed effortlessly feminine.  Though most of his work focuses on the female form, he also did paintings of men and children in everyday life.  The overarching theme in his work is the human figure, and he was able to expertly capture the movement of the body.

Because I want to teach my students about Degas’ mastery of the human figure, I am straying completely from the Discovering Great Artists lessons.  Instead, this lesson will teach VERY basic figure drawing ideas.  Don’t worry, it’s simple! Continue Reading →

Cycle 2 Week 16- Mini Monets

This week we move into Impressionism.  When we think of Impressionism we think of Claude Monet.  And when we think of Claude Monet we think of water lilies, landscapes, and dabbled paint.  This is exactly what we want our students to think of as well.  Hopefully by the time this project is done, they will have a permanent impression of Monet’s work and will be able to recall the imagery and technique of his style.

Not only will they see his style, but they will know what it feels like to paint as he did… with one exception.  Monet usually painted outdoors.  Though the Discovering Great Artists lesson has students painting what they see outside, this is hard to do during winter.  Here it is cold and snowy, with very little color outside.  To compensate for this, my lesson has students copy parts of Monet’s work, then do a landscape from their own head using his dabbing technique. Continue Reading →

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 →