Robert Indiana: LOVE!

As we approach the month of red and pink and doilies, I thought that I’d try something new and chat with the grade fours about Robert Indiana and his hard edged Pop Art, particularly his LOVE sculpture.

Love in NYC

I showed the students this little interview that included a number of slides about the well known sculpture and I spent a bit of time showing them the negative spaces and talking about the colours that were used.

In retrospect, I would have used a smaller format and had the children use only wide and flat tipped marker pens on white bond paper.  I realized, much too late that it was a challenging enterprise to paint such hard edges at this level.  The students went ahead like gang busters, however, and took on the challenge.  Once again, I showed them how to use the edge of their brushes to paint very long strokes and thin lines.  I try to teach this whenever I mix paint.

We began by looking at the Clarendon Black or Bold Font.  I talked to the students about serifs and about the sorts of fonts that we use when we open up a Word Document.

Calendon

Their first depiction was made while making observations of the Calendon style, looking closely at the shape of the negative spaces, as much as the positive, the letters.

The students folded their bond paper in such a way that they created a square.

After that they created a + sign by folding edge to edge both directions.  These left them the template where they practiced drawing their LOVE, remembering to leave their O on a diagonal.  This is when we ended up giving the negative shapes names such as Arrow Head.

folded paper plus sign

Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 008 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 007

Remember, also, that a whole number of four letter words can be used in this study of Robert Indiana’s approach to text and language.

I then gave the students squared construction paper for their larger composition and they created their text, using chalk.

Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 013 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 012 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 011 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 010

I first mixed up a number of tints of red for the painting of the font.  I decided that contrary to Indiana’s pieces, I would not work with Complementary Colours as wet edge to wet edge, this would most certainly create mud once the children got busy painting.  I mixed a whole palette of related colours, almost an Analogous palette and these are the resulting compositions.

Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 036 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 034 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 033 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 032 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 030 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 029 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 028 Kath's Canon, Love Paintings, Frank's 027

 

Have fun with some version of this.  I’ve since taken a peak on the web and their are a number of different approaches.  It’s possible that you could outline the letters in oil pastel or sharpie pens.  The students and I talked about that, waited for the pieces to dry and decided that from a distance the words popped out successfully.

Thanks, Jess, for your class!

 

 

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