Cycle 3 Week 15- Georgia O’Keeffe

For the next three weeks, the art lessons will focus on painting technique and color.

This week, we will copy a painting by the famous American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. The focus will be on mixing colors smoothly on the canvas, and creating light and dark areas for dimension and contrast.

O’Keeffe completed around two hundred paintings of flowers, which are iconic of her style. Depending on the closeness of her viewpoint, some feel completely abstracted while others are representational. The painting in this lesson is clearly of purple flowers, but still shows O’Keeffe’s simplicity of form and focus on color and light. Continue reading

Cycle 3 Week 5- Washington Monument Perspective Drawing

This was my first week back to CC and, boy, am I feeling it.  Maybe also because my husband has been gone for a week, I’m planning my daughter’s fifth birthday party, and I have four loads of laundry staring at me.  Whatever the reason, I’m a little tired and I’m going to blame that for the badly-proportioned Washington Monuments in my video lessons.  So, please adjust your drawings in class accordingly.  Or if yours ends up being off too, just blame me.

We will practice shading in this lesson just like the Liberty Bell project from week two.  Repetition of the concept can help it stick in our student’s brains, and help them see how it can be used in multiple ways.  This week it will be used on the geometric forms of the Washington Monument, and next week we’ll find ways to use it in our final drawing. Continue reading

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 3 Week 2- Liberty Bell (Mirror Image)

My dad is a huge early American history enthusiast, so I am extra excited to study this year’s curriculum.  The next five lessons include symbols and landmarks of the United States, and we’ll start off with the Liberty Bell.  Originally named the State House bell, this iconic piece hung in the Pennsylvania State House, which is now called Independence Hall.  Inscribed on the bell are the words “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.”  Wonderfully, these words are from Leviticus 25:10, and have been a symbolic statement of freedom for our nation throughout our history.

We will be using the Liberty Bell to practice a mirror-image drawing.  Below you will find lesson plans and video tutorials for ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11.  These age groupings are general, so please use the lesson best suited for your students. Continue reading

Cycle 3 Week 1- Apples and OiLS

This art project will probably be quite a bit different from what you are used to in CC.  As tutors, we usually draw a picture on the board and have the students copy as we draw.  The students are (hopefully) looking at the lines and drawing them on their own paper.  This is essentially the same skill as drawing a still life, where we look at something, analyze the lines and shapes, and reproduce it.  However, I think students may be missing the real-world translation.  How do we draw something without copying someone else’s drawing?  How do we take the OiLS concept from “Drawing With Children” and connect it to drawing an object (or person, or landscape)?

This lesson is a series of sketches, not a finished artwork.  The project may feel unusual, but it imparts a seriously important drawing skill.  Try practicing at home and notice if it changes the way you think as you draw.

In last week’s post I talked about using the phrase “Let’s study what we see”.  As you teach lesson one, use the phrase all the time.  This lesson is a great starting point as we drive home the idea over the next six weeks. Continue reading