Sunday, December 16, 2012

Charcoal Drawings of Still Life Objects

Students in Art 1 worked for 2-3 weeks on a charcoal drawing based on observing still life objects.  We studied the tradition of Vanitas till life, dating back to the 16th century.  Objects in the still life symbolize the spoils of life, the five senses, and the brevity of human experience.  

Students also learned the traditional chiaroscuro technique where you tone your paper to create a middle value and then add darks and lights from there. In the case of using charcoal, we erased out all the highlights. 

To Begin, students drew thumbnail sketches in their sketchbook, in order to find a good composition. To do this they used their prior knowledge from the small pencil compositions project. They looked through a viewfinder and drew 3 different compositions.

 I had the students fill in the negative space shapes in their small compositions, so they would be able to see the structure of the drawing a bit better. 
Next, my students selected the composition they felt was the strongest, toned their paper with vine charcoal, and enlarged the small composition onto large paper using a simple grid and observation.  

They then took their time to create a contour line drawing of each object.

Students then observed the still life carefully in order to find the lighter values and use their eraser to pull them out.  They then added darker values using both vine and compressed charcoal. 


The final drawings are very beautiful, and in many of them you can see the struggle evident in the process of making this type of work.  Students spent several days re-hashing and reflecting on their their process and experience.  I will post about that next. 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Authentic Assessment (Artwork Exam)

In an effort to design an authentic assessment of what students learned this quarter, I asked students my freshman Art 1 and Art Appreciation students to make a list of each concept, technique and vocabulary word they learned so far. 
From there, each student selected 4 of the things they felt they had learned the best, and that they could demonstrate in a new work of art.

Osman expresses unity, value, movement, and a good composition.
 I then asked each student to create a work of art that demonstrated their understanding of these 4 things. 
Most students created a sketch in their sketchbook in order to envision what their quarter exam might look like- how to arrange the concepts into a new work of art.

Dianell created a work expressing the principle of unity, the elements of value and color,  the technique of contour line drawing and the studio habit of engaging and persisting. She also showed the correct proportions of the human head.

 Students could focus on any subject matter they wanted, and could use any of the materials we covered thus far except clay (we ran out!).  They could still express clay concepts and techniques they learned, but they had to use other materials. Victoria did a good job of expressing slipping and scoring (below).

Victoria D. made an artwork demonstrating her knowledge of human facial proportions, using a viewfinder, slipping and scoring (clay), and value.
Looking over what they created, I am extremely proud of my students' ability to express what they learned in class while at the same time creating something personal to them.  I love how unique everyone's work is, and how each student made a lot of complex choices along the way, independently.

Madeline created a mixed media piece demonstrating value, contour line drawing, and two more concepts.

Students also had to write a justification statement that shared HOW they expressed the four techniques or vocabulary and the definitions of the things they learned. 
Here are some more examples of the final exams. 

Beatriz expresses color, gesture drawing, proportion of the human head, and a good composition.
Brennan expresses unity, color, contour line drawing and using a viewfinder.
Cynthia expresses proportions of the human face, value, emphasis, and the studio habit of envision.
Demonstrating emphasis and value, unity and developing craft

Shawn expresses emphasis, value, contour line drawing, and envisioning
Othmane expresses contour line drawing, using a viewfinder, value, and creating a good composition.
Monika expresses contour line drawing, value, unity, and the studio habit of envisioning

demonstrating proportions of the human face, gesture drawing, value and pattern.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Clay Busts of Famous People

Students in Art 1 and Art Appreciation learned basic techniques for working with clay as they sculpted a small clay bust of a famous person.  

First, students created a basic human head as they learned about the long history of clay busts, and measured out the basic proportions of the human head. 

Henry works on his sculpture

Next, each student received a random photograph of a famous person. Students watched several demonstrations over the course of a few days on how to create a likeness to a specific person.  

In the meantime they learned to roll a coil and how to slip and score two pieces of clay together so they won't come apart. Slowly through close observation, students transformed their general human head into a rendition of their famous person. 

Hannah and Jasmine work on their sculptures

After all the heads were finished, students continued to learn about the craft and process of sculpting using clay as they hollowed out their heads. 

Justin Bieber by Sam C.

The finished clay busts look super wonderful!

Liv Tyler by Jenny

Obama by Vinnie
Henry's finished sculpture of John Stewart

Blake Shelton by Sophia
Tracy Morgan by Alicia
After students finished sculpting they voted on the sculpture that they felt looked the most like the photograph.  Queen Elizabeth was one of the winners below.  :)

Queen Elizabeth by Mariel

Will Ferrell by Monika

 NOW the clay busts are dried out and on their way to be fired in the kiln.  Look out for a cart with lots of clay heads on it!