Collaboration

Some weeks ago, artist, Kelsey Fraser, led a workshop at the Esker Foundation on collaborative art making in both drawing and painting.  A key feature of the present exhibit, Earthlings, collaboration creates a wonderful bridge between northern and southern artistic culture.

By happenstance, the week prior to Kelsey’s workshop, I had explored collaboration with a high school learning strategies class.  Often saddled with group projects, older students often struggle with their part of a piece of work (poster, presentation, power point, report) when they are assigned to work with a mixed group of individuals.  I thought that it might be fun to explore a small non-threatening Exquisite Corpse activity in order to enjoy the experience of individual contributions for a common goal and completed work.  To begin with, we looked at the process of collaboration.

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I forgot to grab some photos of the resulting drawings. (may post later)  I had the students complete the first section on a paper folded into three (a character’s head – fantastical to representational) and then walk to someone in the room that they might not know and to trust them with the second section (the torso) and then, finally, that person would get up and pass it on to a third person for completion (the legs).  I enjoyed this exercise with a former student of mine, Tim Belliveau, when he led a session of life drawing at the Glenbow Museum.  It is a great activity for warm up and for ice breaking.  If you want to loosen up the crowd, this is a great method or if you have a fear of not ‘knowing’ how to draw, this activity removes that responsibility.

So, it was no surprise when Kelsey used some similar techniques to begin with the workshop attendees.  She began with blind contour drawings and had us circulate, working with different people on three rounds of portraiture.  The HOW TOs can be found here.

These were the three blind contours completed, where I was the subject.  It was so good to meet up with Jocelyn again!

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Next (and I’ll use this with a class some time or maybe during a pot luck party) we began a telephone game activity…page one write something, pass the booklet on…page two draw something related to page one’s writing….pass the booklet on…page three, write something related to the drawing on page two….pass the booklet on…page four, draw something related to the writing on page three….and so on through ten or so pages.

One needs to completely let go of any notions…expectations…of where this booklet goes in terms on content.  They can become pretty hilarious!

Here are a few pages from my booklet…

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Finally, the participants visited four different tables, to hook up with pencil nicks left on the edges of previous artist’s  compositions and to create their own line drawings in charcoal pencil.  Esker, the paper was of beautiful quality….thank you!  After drawing on three compositions, without looking at any of the other related drawings, we were asked to return to our original places, lay out the four compositions in sequence and to add paint.  Both challenging and thought provoking.  At this stage, the main goal would be to add harmony and unity to four somewhat disjointed pieces.  The colour added a very exciting dimension.

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Thanks to Kelsey Fraser and to Esker Foundation for a wonderful afternoon of exploring line, colour and collaboration!

“Collaboration requires focusing on everything from vision and values to how individuals can feel they are making a real contribution.”
Jane Ripley, Collaboration Begins with You: Be a Silo Buster

While I don’t think my contributions made sense sometimes, or that I had anything ‘intelligent’ to say, I also really appreciated the conversation PLACEHOLDER: An Unconventional Book Club Discussion with d.talks.  I was low on energy and very distracted and yet I had the true sense that the circle of people attending the event were listening.  Watch for future programs/events on the Esker site.

Join d.talks, in collaboration with Esker Foundation, for an evening discussion that responds to the exhibition, Earthlings, and draws upon the ceramic influences from Rankin Inlet, Cape Dorset, and Medalta in Medicine Hat. Structured as an unconventional book club, PLACEHOLDER is an intimate discussion and an opportunity for Calgarians to identify how our city and citizens affect – and are impacted by – local and global themes borne out of the work of Esker’s current exhibiting artists. Receive a list of selected texts or bring your own book, poem, or object. Let’s form a new narrative in Calgary together!

 

Pick of the Week: Experience Inclusion

Thursday night and the City of Calgary was bursting with visual arts events of every sort!  I might have visited the Glenbow Gallery’s exhibits.  The gallery offers free admission on the first Thursday of every month. (some of you may not know that)  I missed the recent opening of the new exhibits and  I particularly want to see 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group and Rough Country: The Strangely Familiar in mid-20th Century Alberta Art.  These shows leave us end of January/beginning of February…so, they are on my list.

Also on Thursday, presented by Foster MAK, artist, Belinda Fireman, celebrated her opening.  This is one my readers want to catch before the end of November.  Loft 112 is a fantastic venue for events that include writers, performance artists and visual arts.

“Belinda Fireman is one of Calgary’s most vibrant artists.  Her original paintings are characterized by inspiration, colour, fun and vulnerability.  She loves making live art at events and parties, and she competes regularly in local and provincial art battles.

Belinda is the incredible creator of Self Love 365 – a daily practice that inspires and generates creativity and self-worth. This year, SelfLove365 inspired many incredible portraits of people in Belinda’s life, surrounded by the writings of her vulnerable, honest and relatable thoughts. Through the month of November, her images and words from this beautiful project will be on exhibit at Calgary’s Loft 112, presented by FosterMAK.com.”

Beautiful things are happening every where…Jarvis Hall has an artist talk this afternoon, presented by Wil Murray at 2:00 following the opening, last night, of the current exhibit, Spray Can Sea, Ooh Bared Ass, Vet Her.  From the Jarvis Hall website, this…

“Wil Murray is known as the wild man of contemporary Canadian painting.  A lifted brushstroke here, a folded dried paint skin there: he creates a new visual dialogue that is equal parts paint, sculpture and at times, photography.  Always investigating his media and using traditional materials in ways the contemporary viewer had not seen, his previous work was as much theatrical sideshow as they were contemporary painting.”

So, what did I attend on Thursday night?  Experience Inclusion: Artist Studio Portrait Exhibition at In-Definiate Arts Society!  This was a fantastic event!

From Calgary Arts Development’s initiative, What’s On In Calgary and written by AMY JO ESPETVEIDT, this…

On October 6, 2016 a group of artists transformed the Calgary Municipal Building’s atrium into an artist studio. Pairing City of Calgary employees with In-Definite Arts artists, participants used marker pens on plexiglass to draw and trace live portraits of each other.

Thursday, November 3rd was the closing reception, a lovely event that involved mingling with artists, snacking on a beautiful array of treats and looking at some truly wonderful portraiture.  Another very special aspect to the evening was speaking with three artists; Roby, Jennifer and Tony.  These artists have not allowed disabilities to prevent them from expressing their creative nature.  I’m looking forward to meeting Jennifer again when I attend the group’s creative arts sale on November 19. Finally, I was very proud of my daughter, Erin and her colleague, Phil, who spoke to the exhibit and who spoke to the nature of inclusion and the process that our city is taking in order to ensure movement forward in matters of acceptance and appropriate accommodations.  I was happy to see my son-in-law, giving his generous support for my daughter.  I love him to bits!  Another employee of the City of Calgary, he is a dedicated worker who daily, has to consider inclusion as it directly impacts his department.  I am proud of you, Douglas.

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My daughter, Erin, was partnered with Tony, an enthusiastic and sincere gentleman who I met, for the first time, at the In-Definite Arts reception.  Here, they met at the City of Calgary atrium, with the intention of drawing portraits of one another.img_2512img_2511

Here, they celebrate the follow-up exhibit at In-Definite Arts Gallery.img_2508img_2505img_2504img_2503img_2501img_2499img_2498img_2497img_2496img_2495img_2494img_2493img_2492

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I am so proud of my daughter, Erin. (Human Resources Consultant for the City of Calgary)

It was a great pick of the week.  I felt relaxed because I did not cram too much into my evening and was happy to relax and read before sleep.  Oh!  I have some good books to share with my readers!  But, for now, time to enjoy the beautiful weather at Frank’s Flats. Max is waiting!

 

More of Mark!

I guess I’ve published a few posts, now, about  Mark Vazquez-Mackay.

Here

and

Here

and

Here

Gee, I must be a fan!  And…I am!

Last Friday night, Mark exhibited his travel sketches at the Rumble House.  I hope that my Calgary readers took the opportunity to enjoy this show and the narratives and the hospitality.  It was a wonderful thing!  While I won’t write a lot here, I will post my documentation of the exhibit.

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The next three photographs are posted, with permission by the photographer, Rich Theroux, on the trade that I will show up for figure drawing on Thursday night. :0)

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Little Birds

Thank you, Jenn, for your wonderful class!  They were amazing, respectful and so appreciative of everything I had to share with them.  I enjoyed being in your class.  I’ve collected a few ideas here that I thought other teachers might appreciate.

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These art ideas are colourful and include subjects that grade three students adore, ANIMALS!  I turned on Duke’s LIVE Eagle Cam while the students wrote their journal pages this morning and they were amazed.

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I browsed around as they worked and discovered some wonderful guidance in the word walls, the charts and the resources that are posted for student use throughout the classroom.

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This afternoon, I spoke to the students a little bit about how we can sometimes feel abandoned by God, at times when big things happen, like the news of so many people having to leave their homes in Fort McMurray.  This morning in Health, we had learned about several ways to calm ourselves down when life is stressful and we practiced a five minute meditation together.  It was amazing how calming that time was!

So, we wondered this afternoon,’when something big happens, what are some ways that we can calm down the stressful feelings we are having?’  Well, it is really helpful to know that there are kind and caring people around who are going to be there for us.  I spoke to them about the Footprints prayer and that sometimes when we don’t experience God close to us, “it is then that HE carries us”.  We are not alone.  Look at the lilies of the fields.  Look at the sparrows…the tiny birds…if our Father loves them, how much more does He love us?

I moved from this shared conversation into an art activity where I spoke to the students about observing a sparrow family in a vent across from my kitchen table.  I’ve watched these sparrows for the past six years.  At this point, there were all sorts of stories shared about nests/eggs/sparrows and I tried to listen to every one of them.

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The students are really getting to appreciate that a visual journal is for practice and exploration.  I was really impressed by their studies.

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I handed out small-scale pieces of heavy toothed white paper for their final compositions. While students were drawing, they took turns painting swirling sky colour onto blue construction mural paper, in order to create a sense of spring and atmosphere.  The students added colour with pencil crayon, to their final depictions and after observing several projected images of sparrows.

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Collaborative projects are a way of displaying smaller projects that are skill oriented.  Thanks for your class today, Jenn.

Inspiration in Courtney’s Classroom

Some days, when I have low energy, I don’t feel up to mixing buckets of paint, although I believe strongly that the more our kids enjoy the tactile/sensory/exquisitely beautiful experience of paint, the better.  Last night I tossed around and couldn’t get myself to sleep.  I did warm milk and read way too many pages in that book over there.

So, this morning, early, I decided that I would focus on some drawing skills with Courtney’s grade threes.

I stepped into Courtney’s classroom and was in love.  I felt that the space said immediately, “Welcome.  You are here.  You are safe.  This is how we have a lovely time learning.”  Thanks for that feeling, Courtney.  While I’m still waiting for permission to post these photos, I’m going to go ahead anyway…always good to share generously with our colleagues, in the case that they can pick up some ideas for another year.

Chalk board and chalk…two wee chairs…love this!  Students can play school and practice their math facts and making words.  Coo-ell!

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Word walls!  They never go out of fashion!  I like that the children’s script is present and that these are not stylishly created by the teacher or an assistant.  Ownership!  Whoot!

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Oh my goodness!  Art created based on a book I’ve never connected with!  The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt Pictures by Oliver Jeffers.  I like the book!  I like the follow-up art work!

 

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The seven habits…we all need to check in with these.

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Set the students up to go into role!  Group drama, even if it is simple as the labels we use, can make the difference in engagement that we want.  I always refer to the students as artists during art class.  Confidence forming…I like this chart and reminder.

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Way to curb some situational drama.  It’s good for kids to check in before speaking.  But, it’s just as important for adults.  Love this!

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One of the best Hall Pass systems out there!  I’ve never seen this done before! When the student leaves the classroom, they leave the hand sanitizer on their desks…when they return, voila! (just in case they forgot)

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Look at that voice level chart…yummy!

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Who doesn’t enjoy words to live by?  I live by them!

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Our morning art lesson began after greetings and opening exercises.

Recently, I’ve connected with a friend-blogger, Miriam Paternoster, who teaches middle school art in North Italy, and in perusing her lesson ideas, I decided that I’d try out something with my grade threes.

In the grade three social studies curriculum, the students explore Peru, Ukraine, India and Tunisia.  I remembered the rich tiling and mosaic motifs that come out of all of these regions and so decided to focus the children on creating tiles that can be linked together for display purposes.  In order to inspire pattern-making for the ‘doodled’ sections, it’s good to give many exemplars.  When the question, “What is a tile?”  came up, there was a lot of discussion about the tiles in our homes.

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New vocabulary: tiling and motifs.

I printed off templates on large white paper before coming down to the classroom in the morning.  I ticked off six dots on each side of a measured square/ 11 x 17 paper through the copy machine…so, 11″ squares.  These templates provided markers for the grade three students to draw their six woven strands of ribbon.  (dot-to dot across from one another)  Where things had to be thoughtfully done was deciding what particular lines needed to be erased so that the ribbons wove through the piece…I referred to them as ‘unders’ and ‘on tops’.

Once blocked in, the ribbons were shaded at all the ‘unders’.  I taught the grade threes how to apply different pressure with their pencils to go ‘dark and lighter and lighter and lighter’.  I also taught them how to avoid making ‘hairy’ edges, but turning their pencil sideways and making marks along a line edge.  Did I think they would do this?  I wondered.  And yet, there was barely a peep as they invested their energy in creating these drawings.

The expressive component of the lesson was to choose a single coloured thin marker to create repeating and varied motifs in all of the remaining white negative spaces.  We worked on a community piece on the white board as the independent work was happening. “If you invent a pattern that you want to share, you can add it at the white board.”  This is what they created.

The list of statements to the right side of the white board are questions that students might ask instead of, “Is this good?”

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Here are some of the resulting projects.

Students who are older would not require a template for the woven ribbons.

From Miriam’s website…when displaying these, connect the dots and create a collection of tiles.

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Thank you for your class today, Courtney!

Pieter Bruegel’s Children’s Games

Yesterday I had the opportunity to teach a beautiful grade six class.  I bit off more than I could chew, however, because we did not completely move through to the end result that I had in mind in this exploration of Pieter Bruegel and the study of two pieces, Children’s Games and The Hunters in the Snow.

Before the lesson began, I had the children sketch in their visual journals (every kid should have one…just love these!) a scene where children are playing winter games outdoors…recess, skiing and snowboarding, skating, building forts or any other activity.  This student added the smaller figures into her original plan, after we began to practice doing mini figure plans in our journals…I loved that the cross over had happened in learning, just naturally.

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The reflection section of the lesson was more engaging than I thought it would be and the students needed to become familiar with the handling of a paintbrush.  It’s all good and we need to be flexible with our expectations.  Lessons are more exciting when they are left open-ended.

Here are the two pieces and a very good analysis of Hunters in the Snow.  I did not use this in my class, but thought it might be of interest to teachers who want a quick background on how to talk about art.  The resource I used with the students is a short power point and I’ve provided the link below.

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Atmospheric perspective for 3-6 (St. Mary’s Lake at Glacier National Park): http://sdrv.ms/KlUH9W

As we spoke about winter landscapes, we talked about how to achieve atmospheric perspective.  We talked about the mountains and what they look like on the west horizon.  I talked about my walks around the pond and what I see daily.  I talked about the different colours on the pond.  We looked at Bruegel’s piece and discovered that ice on a river/canal/pond is not necessarily white and sometimes is a very dark colour.  We talked about the figures and their gestures and activities and how indistinct they become as they get further back in the picture plane.

I realized as I was teaching that there were some terms that the students were not aware of and so I had to back step a little, so very quickly, they learned the terms background, middleground and foreground.  It is easier to speak of art when the vocabulary is there and you are just not always pointing.

At some point there was a conversation about emoticons…a term that I didn’t know. :0)  Here they are.  If this hadn’t been grade six, this conversation wouldn’t have come up and it was fun for me. I always use the example of ‘Pictionary’ when I talk about symbols, but because we became interested in the facial expressions of Bruegel’s figures, this was so appropriate.  Go KIDS!

We discussed the fact that none of the figures in Bruegel’s piece have emoticon faces, nor do the snowmen.  I suggested the idea of just indicating the face with small marks, instead of distinct smiley faces and that whenever insecure, as I would be, turn the figure so that its back is to the viewer.

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I talked about the fact that we were going to create our own landscapes in the spirit of Bruegel so that we would all choose, for this piece, a horizontal profile.

This is what my board space looked like by the time we had finished our chat…Glory be for projectors.  In my day, I used to hold up little prints.

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With chalk, the students blocked in three or four horizon lines, depicting their foreground, middle ground and background, depending on what activity they chose.  I told them about being stuck on a black diamond ski run, as a beginner skiier at one time.  I told them what it looked like in my foreground…but, as I skied toward the edge, what I saw before me.  The boarders in the crowd laughed.

Here are some examples of the chalk drawings.

When we began to paint, I had buckets of white and sky colour prepared so that students could begin with some fill in.  In progress…

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From there, the children told me what colours they wanted as middle tints and I was able to just add to the buckets of white and we avoided waste.  Here are their paintings with colour.

 

Don’t forget that the day was flowing like all days will…the students began with math.  At some point in the morning, they exchanged their books at the library and they enjoyed the wonderful stories of Jeff Stockton, an artist in residence.  We completed our landscape paintings and cleaned up before our science lesson about rotation and revolution.

I realized that the second part of the lesson and the insertion of the figures into our Bruegel landscapes would have to wait as a follow up to the lesson with their art teacher.  I gave them all of the prep work, however and they created fanciful plans in their visual journals.

Here are some of their mini-mes.  We made distinctions about stick figures and these mini action figures by studying some of Bruegel’s.

After sketching these, the students can then go into their tempera paintings with pencil (a nice tooth is provided by the dried paint) and the figures can later be coloured in with pencil crayon or fine tipped marker.  Earlier, the students and I observed how Bruegel used red on the figures in most of his compositions in order to carry the viewer’s eye throughout the composition, so red should appear throughout the student works, in scarves/hats, coats, ski equipment in order to imitate this compositional device.  We shared a lot of laughter as we pretended a one inch figure would be skiing down a mountain in the background.  One students said, when I likened it to Godzilla skiing, “Either the person is too big or the mountain is way to small!” :0)

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The following images show the Bruegel figures incorporated, with some thoughtful consideration about scale and gesture, into the winter landscape spaces.

I’m including this lesson for my readers in case they want to do something different with white plus one hue.  Thanks to Jenn, for her class.

Trees in Gradation

 

http://psepta.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/file/view/FebruaryArt+Appreciation+2012.pdf

Epiphany Tunnel Books

Oh my gosh…not a lot of writing is going to happen here, but I have to archive an activity that I’ve actually never practiced before and had opportunity to try today.  I have to say that the most difficult aspect of teaching a grade four class how to construct a tunnel book was teaching them how to fold creases as valleys and mountains…or let’s face it, how to fold creases at all.  Do my readers remember, as children, folding fans?  That’s all that’s required, really, but folding a fan seemed, at times, insurmountable.

All other concepts…near and far…background, middle ground, foreground…no problem.  I don’t know.  I’ll have to think about just how to make the folding easier.

What I DID do…I created a template and copied it twice for each student, providing, once folded, for the two sides of the tunnel book (accordion-like).  I marked out a series of lines, dotted from one side to the opposite side.  At some point, I’ll photograph my template and share it here, but, not tonight. What’s a tunnel book, you ask?

Tunnel books can be as sophisticated OR as simple as you wish. The book collapses flat, exposing a single composition.  Once pulled, like an accordion, a three dimensional sensibility is revealed. The Epiphany tunnel books that the grade fours created after I shared the story, The Gift of the Magi, were very basic.  Take a look at these.  These illustrate the more complex tradition.

Wim de Vos is a bit of a character…but, I like that he demonstrates the kind of artistry possible where a tunnel book is concerned.

I found the following photo on Amanda Watson-Will’s site and because there is no other photographer credited, I will assume this is her archive.

Wim de Vos

This is more like it.  I only wished I had seen this one before I began my lesson.

So, after the  story of the Epiphany star and the fine art of gift offering…I got the students started on a background panel, deciding that it made sense to work from the back up to the front OR the background to the foreground.

These are a sampling of the tunnel books made by these awesome, open and enthusiastic students!  Love them so much.

Requirements for their compositions:  A guiding light, a figure, gifts, foreground, background and middle ground.

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Thank you, Colleen, for your class!  What beautiful children!

Poinsettia With Grade Threes

If you had previously studied the structure of the poppy during November and did some careful observations of the petals, stems and leaves of that flower, then, drawing and painting Poinsettias is a natural follow-up.

When I visited Tammy’s grade three class, I decided to have the students do a drawing from their memory/experience, so I could determine where I wanted to direct the lesson.  We only contain so much information in our visual memories and so whether you are a child or an artist, sometimes the details of the visual stories are vague.  So, I asked the children to draw a Poinsettia.

“What is a Poinsettia?”

“A Poinsettia is a Christmas flower…bright red…we can buy them in pots at Home Depot or at the grocery store to decorate our homes and the church.”

“Oh, YEAH!”

They set to work and created very symbolic pieces that indeed, represented the flower we would be analyzing.

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Next, I pulled out a Poinsettia plant that I had borrowed from the office and did a demonstration of the structure of the center and the petal/leaf arrangement on the Poinsetta plant.  I talked about the unique nature of a plant…similar to each human person being unique from one another.

Poinsettia-inPot (1)

There is no set rule as to how many petals radiate out from the center in a first row.  Similarly, it doesn’t matter how many show in the row directly behind this first row.  In grade three terms, I tried to identify the differences between informal and formal (symmetry) balance.

“In your sketchbooks, no crossing out…begin again rather than using an eraser…draw dark on top of light to make changes.  Practice several times.”

If you feel uncomfortable about doing a drawing as an exemplar on the board, I’ve selected this Youtube video as a pretty good example of what I am going for in terms of representation and structure.

The second drawings looked something like this and were completed by the same students as above.  (I just randomly pulled a couple of visual journals out of their desks at the end of the activity.

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Moving into Composition, I handed out 18 x 24 construction paper in a complementary colour.  I chose purple for our journey of Advent.  As I always do, I also handed out a piece of white chalk to each student for the sake of working out their composition.

“To make your art work dynamic and exciting, boys and girls, place your center OFF CENTER.  You may also wish to have a vertical format or horizontal format.  The choice is up to you.  Look!  When you draw with chalk, you can fade out lines that you don’t like.  It doesn’t matter.  You will be painting over the lines that you want to keep.”

I then proceeded to demonstrate how to use the paint center and how to share the paint with a partner.  I showed them how to use a place mat and slide it along the edges and how to care for their brushes by stroking the paint, rather than scrubbing the paint.  Some where along the line, I had the painters stop (brushes in your buckets) in order to show them that the flat brushes could make wide marks and thin marks.  For some reason, they broke out into wild applause when I turned my brush sideways and painted a long thin line.  That actually surprised me.

For the sake of expediency, I had the children limit themselves to one outline colour from the warm palette for their Poinsettia petals and one from the green palette for their leaves.  If the students are accustomed to using a paint center, they can travel back and forth, trading colours frequently.  Here are the works, outlined and ready for fill ins.

Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 016 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 015 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 014 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 013 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 012 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 011 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 010 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 009

The children’s individual styles surface quickly and I like that!  A lot.

They had a wee break for a music class and returned a half hour later, ready for the quick and immediate activity of filling in the rest of their background spaces.  I really enjoyed working with these guys and I appreciated the fantastic support of young student teacher, Shelby.  Thanks so much for your help!

And, thank you, Tammy, for your class!

Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 023 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 022 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 021 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 020 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 019 Kath's Canon, December 11, 2015 Pointsettias Grade 3 018

Another Rock on the Wall

I watched this little video this morning…

Clear Away the Clutter and Do Your Own Thing by Richard Serra

It was very timely.  Yesterday, I took the afternoon to nourish myself.  I attended a session at the Esker Foundation, a studio in drawing. I cherished the time…time to make observations, be totally present and to translate what I was observing into marks.  Thank you, Doug Williamson, for sharing your knowledge.

Life has pounded my family and friends lately and as a way of stepping through the pain of watching their struggles, as I’ve done throughout my life, I made art.  By creating music or dancing or making marks, a person can transcend difficulties.  This is what I find.  We all have ways of integrating suffering until it begins to melt away.  Rather than being victims to our narratives, we can push on through, to become supportive to others and to not only survive, but thrive and create.

Creativity is a journey…a process…a life-saver.

Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 007Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 005Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 004Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 002Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 001

Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 010

Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 014

Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 020Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 011Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 022My drawing begins…

Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 023Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 024

A bit of feedback, very much appreciated. And then…coloured media, tonal considerations and coloured grounds discussed.

Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 029Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 046

Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 042Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 039Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 037Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 034Kath's Canon, November 29, 2015 Esker Drawing, Frank's 050

It was an intense…but enjoyable afternoon!

October Cross Contours

Today with grade fours, I took the cross contour ‘hand’ project that we see throughout our elementary schools and explored it, with a twist.

cross contour 1I’ve seen project-based art lessons thoroughly investigate the ‘traced hand’ out there in the field at many different grade levels, the following being tackled at a higher level.

cross_contour_hands_by_mica08-d4pl2p8The following examples involved concentric lines and a single geometric/amorphic shape overlapping those lines.  They also involve a cool colour scheme in contrast with a warm colour scheme.

elementary hand 5 elementary hand 4 elementary hand 3 elementary hand 2 elementary handBack to this October’s lesson….I first spoke to the students about cross contour drawing and used a couple of little Youtube videos to inspire.

I showed them a couple of super cool images that had been created by other artists.

cross contour dark holecross contour 3Another cross contour activity that can easily be tackled by grades 4, 5 and 6 students is the worm hole in oil pastel.  The how-to instructions can be found here.

Worm Hole Cross Contour October 2014While I noticed I did not save any archives of individual projects that I had done with students, I did find this collaborative figurative piece that my students had created on white mural paper, outside of my classroom, some years ago.

Cross Contour FiguresBack to the events yesterday, I first spoke to the students about creating a template of a flat figure of the human body.  We did this on manila tag,  filling the sheet from top to bottom.  I demonstrated simplistic shapes to represent both the hands and feet, likened to mittens.

See the exemplar here.

Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 003

Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 007The students then cut out their flat figures and, using them as stencils, traced around them onto a large sheet of paper.  These can be as large or as small as you like.  After a demonstration at the front of the class, the students were on their way.  I spoke to them, using the term ‘cross contour lines’ as often as I could.  Begin on the edge of the orange paper and draw a relatively straight line until you arrive at a pencil contour line, them BUMP to the next contour line.  Draw a straight line until you meet the next contour line and then BUMP.  And so on it goes.  With elementary students, the term BUMP seems to have meaning.  You can assist by mentioning that their bumps are not tall enough, when the cross contour flattens out to much.  See what emerges.  The students think that the mummy-sort of images are ‘cool’.

To be honest, some students are going to struggle with this, so modify with a smaller composition if this becomes evident or provide them with an alternative like the traced hand or a circle drawn in chalk on the paper.  It is best that every teacher try out this process on their own first, like always, so that they understand the process and can best communicate the process.  Have Halloween fun!

Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 004 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 020 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 005 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 006 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 008 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 009 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 010 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 011 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 012 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 013 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 014 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 016 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 017 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 018 Kath's Canon, October 7, 2015 Elementary Art Cross Contour 019I typically like to put on music, but had forgotten.  Here’s what I had selected.