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 →
This week we continue to study 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 experiment by copying parts of Monet’s work, then replicate a painting. Continue Reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
For week three students will be doing an upside-down drawing. The concept is about training our brains to see the image solely as a group of lines and shapes. It also relates back to OiLs and the ability to describe and duplicate lines.
It is so, so, SO important to teach students to look at the object in front of them as they draw, and to study the lines that create that object. People tend to draw the object they see in their mind rather than what they see in front of them. For example, if asked to draw an apple on a table, many people would look at the apple once, then keep their head down and draw what they think a typical apple would look like. We want students to constantly look back at the object and draw the nuances of the lines and curves- simply as a series of lines and curves, not an apple.
The lesson below relates to geography for the week. The Book of Kells is a medieval illuminated manuscript created by monks in Ireland around 800 AD. It is a great way to connect art to history to geography. Continue Reading →