Monday, June 29, 2009

Wooden Cubes

Give the students three wooden cubes. Explain different linking methods. Brainstorm some creative examples. Show them the wealth of materials that you have. Let them work.

Nine Squares Project

Students are asked to use nine squares for this project. The nine squares are to be hung together, producing a single work of art in the end. I don't specify the size of the squares, but they often cut 4 inch squares, more or less. I have relented and let the students use fewer or more squares if the ideas are solid and 9 just doesn't work. Again- it is amazing what students come up with. The Elvis piece is from an art magazine and I apologize for not having the source.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Color Prints

Two color prints are nothing new- why bother mentioning them? I have the students carve one big base block and the additional color can be made the same way, or if can be made as a mini stamp. It saves material and time. In other words- the bird beak is made from a little triangular piece of unmounted linoleum- and the flower was done the same way.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Art Olympics

To break up the class routine, you could hold an Art Olympics twice a year, although I have only done it during the last week of school. One week of one day activities! I mix up the activities each day, period to period, so I remain interested. This year: Tower building in pairs with scraps of railroad board that I saved all year (who can build the tallest tower?), Drawing a silhouette (with a sample to follow) upside down using a clipboard. I have two students at a time lie their backs on two desks with their heads hanging down. A second student holds the clipboard and a third holds the sample paper. There is no time limit. Compare the two and give small prizes. Drawing in a mirror: again, I use silhouettes...two at a time, no time limit.
Art History family feud: Divide the room in half. Create an Art History for Dummies info sheet (a brief outline of periods of your choosing). Hold up a reproduction of a famous work of art and have them identify the period, switching sides for points. Progressive drawing on big photo is bad, but all of the students (middle through high school) enjoyed it. If you don't remember doing that as a kid, divide the human body into four sections (or more) and set a timer for about 5 minutes if you are using large paper. Fold each completed section to the back and pass consistently either right or left. They are complete after four rotations. I also baked small cakes and taught the students how to decorate using pastry bags. We ate them. Older students with a double period watched This American Life, streaming through Netflix for a portion of the class time. We also listened to some nice essays from This I believe.

Protest Signs

The idea for these signs came after attending a Troy Davis Rally organized by high school students that was held at our town square. I asked the students to make signs of support, or signs of protest. I didn't let two students support the same cause. It was interesting to see what they did and did not believe in. Some students were not for or against anything, which I found interesting. This is a great website that shows signs from around the world.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cardboard Cityscape or Country Town

Students have particular guidelines to follow. They need to have at least three cardboard layers, with cutouts and additional details adding to their final grades. I give the students a handout of old-fashioned stores, barns, and homes. They can combine them in any way they wish. We talk about how older homes are often symmetrical. I always ask for the projects to be painted in shades. Afterward, they see how nicely all of the "blackened" colors go together.

If the students are going to make a city block, I show them Romare Bearden's, The Block.

Art with Lyrics, Quotations or Poems

Students are generally very happy to do this project because there is so much personal choice involved (style, medium, and words). Two were created in shallow boxes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tree of Self

Students were asked to draw on white paper: a favorite food, a pet or a favorite animal, a favorite place or a place a student wanted to visit, two objects- anything, another person- anyone! (you get the idea- you can make your own rules). All of these were to be drawn within a shape. These shapes were then cut out and all were supposed to be mounted (framed) on something (foam, solid paper, patterned paper...) These were then connected to a tree, or a web-like form. The students did not come up with many alternatives- but I asked them to think of other webs (nets...networks...pipes connected to other pipes...anyway). I asked for textured backgrounds (students chose the technique and media).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paper Bag Hats

Make a hat from a paper clear tape, glue or staples. Let the students go outside and grab a few things. White paper, newspaper, masking tape, a hole punch, needles, scissors and string were available....

Paper Strip Projects/ Eighth Grade

Students learned how to design a page (sketch first), how to quickly chop up strips on the paper cutter (perfection not required), how to glue neatly (using scrap paper on their desks that would later be recycled) and to work with analogous color schemes.

Loosely Interpreted Book Projects

Students had to create solid projects that had at least one "page"...they could use words or have no words. Again- a very open project with many different results.

Art Nouveau Project Grade 8

Even though these may not exactly look Art Nouveau to you, they were at least a lesson in simplification and graceful design for 8th graders. We made calendar pictures for each month after looking at Nouveau examples.  The last sample is my own

People Collage

Students created collages where the foreground and background were of equal importance. All of them had to include at least one person.

Fabric Project

These are examples of hand painted, hand stitched, and/or computer printed fabric sheets- with very different results. The assignment? Look at mini art quilts, and make a project that includes stitching, art, and fabric.