Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#9 Out Of The Box

Learning Areas: The Arts- creating and making, exploring and responding, Thinking- inquiry, creativity, Science- patterns, order and organisation, Communication- listening, viewing and responding
Materials:  refrigerator box (or similar), boxed assemblage art (if you have access to it. I am lucky to have some good pieces by an artist friend at my home) 

Welcome back!  This term we are continuing our big project called Because of me. One of the most exciting things about this project is that we are creating it together – we don’t really know what the final result is going to be like.
What do we know?
It is about you, the things you are interested in and the things that are important to you; the person you are now and all the possible things you could be in the future.
What else do we know?
We know that we are going to be connecting a few different artistic elements – can anyone remember some of the elements? Colour, texture, line…
Also we might use different forms and techniques like sculpture, painting, drawing, collage, installation and assemblage. Have any of you heard of assemblage?

Putting things in boxes

Assemblage is really just a fancy way of saying  "putting things together". It comes from the word assemble. 
*At this point one of the children calls out "it's like school assembly!" 
Maybe you and your family have bought something from a shop and had to build it yourself at home- that is assembling.
Artists assemble in lots of different ways. Some artists draw, paint or cut out pictures for their assemblages. Some artists gather objects.

I’d like to show you three special assemblages by an artist called Tim Klein.
Image Copyright Heather Marsh, 2013 Artwork by Tim Klein 

The artworks are sitting side-by-side on a table at just below face height for the children. They form a line and on by one they approach the art and spend some time looking at it. I have asked them to be super-observant. 
"Notice as many things as you can" I tell them. 
"You get bonus points for noticing relationships between the objects - by that I mean if you can find a connection of some kind between one object and another"
We talk about the things we saw and speculated about why the artist might have chosen those objects. One of the boys, Johnny, told me he noticed a nest, two cocoons and a cow with wings. He thought there might be a connection between them. We talked about change and metamorphosis. It was a great conversation. 
More Assemblage
Over here are some other pictures of assemblage work artists have done. I like this work by Rosalie Gascoigne. She only started exhibiting her art when she was already 57 years old. Can you see what she has used to make this work? 
Metropolis, 1999  Image copyright of the Art Gallery of New South Wales
One of the most famous assemblage artists was Joseph Cornell. A lot of people liked his assemblages in boxes so much they copied them.
Untitled (The Hotel Eden), 1945 National Gallery of Canada

A Story – My Cat Likes to Hide In Boxes

Here is a story by Eve Sutton and Illustrated by Lynley Dodd. You might already know the work of Lynley Dodd who wrote and illustrated the Hairy McLary books.
Book cover copyright Puffin Books, 1978 

Putting things in boxes

We are going to have a go next time we work together at making a small assemblage in a box.Today, though we are going to play with the idea of boxes and what can be done with them. We are going to keep working on our artistic concept.
A fridge box is a world of potential.. Image copyright Heather Marsh, 2013

Playing with a box

Here’s a box. We can see what it is, but what could it be?
Let’s play by taking turns around the circle and using our artists imaginations to transform this box.
What is it for?
What does it do?
Should we change the way the box sits- change it’s orientation?
We want to see how many ideas we can generate.
Working together to launch the magic boat Image Copyright Heather Marsh, 2013
I am definitely doing this activity again with kids. It is so much fun. They turned the box into a couch, swimming pool, running track, rocket, upside down sailing ship, lost dogs home, babies' playground... 
Afterwards we recorded our ideas in visual diaries so that we can build on them when we start making our large fridge box constructions. 
An observer for one of the kids with additional needs was in the class and thanked me afterwards saying it was one of the best classroom experiences she had ever witnessed. 

New Vocabulary Assemblage, orientation, relationships

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

#8 Blotches, Splotches and A Treasure Map of Your Mind

Learning Areas: The Arts- creating and making, exploring and responding, Thinking- inquiry, creativity, Science- patterns, order and organisation, Communication- listening, viewing and responding
Materials: acrylic paint, paint pots, small plastic spoons, paint brushes, A4 paper, visual diaries, felt-tipped pens, coloured pencils and crayons

We are going to start a project together that I am very excited about: So far it is called Because of me  (the name might change as we go along)
The project is going to be about you: who you are, the things you like and do and the ways in which you influence the world around you.
We will be working towards using all of the ideas and things you create to design big box constructions to play and perform in. First though, we need to gather ideas... 

The place everything gets connected
We are going to go on a fascinating journey today: exploring the most important tool an artist has: our brain!
Artist’s notice things, gather things, imagine and think. When the thoughts and gathered things and ideas are very strong, an artist may choose to bring them together to create some art. When you bring everything together in art and are ready to begin making we call it a concept.
Let me show you a piece of art I finished recently. I made this after we made our colour targets (#3 Blending Colour: Transforming Spaces) You can see I chose to add more elements to my colour blend. 
The (next) Big Thing, Copyright Heather Marsh, 2013

We have a conversation about what they notice.They talk about the warm and cool colours - how they notice sea creatures and airplanes on the cool side and a heart and "seed" on the warm side. 

Before we get further into our artistic concept for the box project, lets put another element of art into our artists toolbox: shape.
Now, I know you all know what a shape is – how many shapes can you describe for me? What about shapes that aren’t regular – as in, shapes that can’t easily be measured?

Investigating: Rorschach Blots
Here is a type of shape I find very interesting. It is called a Rorschach blot. Do you think that would be tricky to say? Let's have a go..

How do you think this shape was made? Do you think the blot makes a picture of something you can recognise? 
What about this one – what can you see?

The children start to name the things they see, at first slowly and then once they get going they suddenly see many many objects, animals and people in the blots. 

Notice that because each of you is unique you see different things. Part of the specialness of being you is that you offer us a unique perspective.

Making: Colourful Rorschach Blots 

Lets make some Rorschach blots. We are going to use A4 paper and paint. Instead of using a paintbrush, though, we are going to use teaspoons to put very small blobs of paint onto the page.
There are some instructions for making this work:
Fold your page in half. Put a few small blobs of paint only on one side, close to the middle or in the middle.
Fold your paper and squish the paint around.
Unfold it to see your blot! What does it look like? Can you see a picture in your blot? 

*The challenge for some children is following all the instructions. This is a great opportunity for learning and without shaming children who did things differently, we usually discuss what we have produced in terms of personal satisfaction, what worked and didn't work and what we would do differently next time. 

Exploring: Mind Maps 

While our Rorschach blots are drying, lets explore artistic concepts again. I find when I am thinking about making some art, it helps to gather my ideas all in the one place. Recently I started doing mind-maps – it is like a treasure map to your brain and your ideas and thoughts are the treasure. 
Here are some mind maps I found: 
By Kira, Grade 6, Ararat Primary School 

Acknowledgment: Coach Shev Gul

Making... Again! 
In your visual diary you are going to begin a mind map. We don’t have to finish it today – it might be something that you return to and add to over time.
I would like you to begin by putting a shape or a small picture in the middle of the page, which we will call your centre – the thinking, connecting, joining stuff up bit of you. It could be a drawing of your brain, or your heart – or a sparkly gemstone – whatever you like that represents you.
Coming out from the centre we are going to draw paths. Each path can be different – wriggly or straight, thick or thin, dotted, textures – however you like. At the end of each path is something about you- a special thing you like, something you do well, your family or favourite pet, something you are really interested in.

New Vocabulary artistic concept, Rorschach blots, mind map, unique, perspective 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

#7 An Expedition to Find Texture

Learning Areas: The Arts- creating and making, exploring and responding, Science- patterns, order and organisation, Communication- listening, viewing and responding, Interpersonal Development- working in teams
Materials: crayons, A3 cartridge paper, scissors, glue, paper scroll or very large scale paper (A0) for final collaborative work

As artists, you all know how to manipulate two elements of art to create different artistic compositions: colour and line
You also understand some of the ways you can present your work: installation, collage, drawing, painting, out-door ephemeral art.
Today we are all going to explore a new element to add to your artist’s toolbox - texture

Artist Feature: Del Kathryn Barton
I’d like to share with you some art by a very interesting contemporary Australian artist called Del Kathryn Barton.
She has won a big art prize (twice!) called the Archibald Prize, which is a portrait prize. Do you remember what a portrait is? 
She likes to use a lot of texture in her work. 
This is one of her portraits. …. What can you see?
The Daughter, Del Kathryn Barton 2011-12 Acrylic, gouache, watercolour, ink
Detail from The Daughter ( not original orientation)

Let’s read Move! By Steven Jenkins and Robin Page
As well as noticing texture throughout this book, we can also notice lots of ‘doing words’ which are called verbs.
You are going to get to practice your describing words from last lesson – your adjectives to talk about the textures you see.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011

Investigation: An expedition to find texture
Let's head outdoors on an expedition to find different textures using a technique called ‘crayon rubbing’
You may have done this experiment with coins.

Try to highlight each rubbing with a different colour. 
Choose three different coloured crayons to take with you on your expedition.
We are going to be using the rubbings to create a composition when we get back.

There is a lot of fun and excitement as the children find surfaces that make interesting rubbings. 

Making: Collage Texture Creatures
Lets have another look at the book ‘Move!’ we read earlier.
Can you see how the artist has created the animals?

We are going to draw some body outlines with a dark crayon over our texture rubbings. Then we will cut out the body parts and stick them onto a scroll to make an animal frieze.
Lets look at your rubbings to see what sort of animal they would best suit? I’d like us to get as many different animals as possible, so try to think of unique animals for your work.  

New Vocabulary rubbings, verb, texture

Monday, November 4, 2013

#6 Ultimate Pet: Imagining and Inventing

Learning Areas: The Arts- creating and making, exploring and responding, History- historical knowledge, Design - investigating and designing,  Communication- listening, viewing and responding, English -language and literature
Materials:  visual diaries, felt-tipped pens, crayons, coloured pencils

We have talked and experimented with two of the elements of art: colour and lineToday I want to get back to the heart of what art is.
Can you think of some of the reasons why we make art?
* children's responses are in inverted commas

"To find colours?"  

That's right. Art can be a way to explore and find out. 
"Making it about..things you are interested in" 
Yes! Artists often use their art to communicate or make a statement about something important to them. 

Art can also be about: 
- Transforming a space and changing the ways we see things - like Yayoi Kusama (#3 Blending Colour, Transforming Spaces)
- Telling a story like Ronnie Tjanpitjimpa (#4 Big Lines, No End in Sight) 
 -Imagining how the world could be different or inventing things, like an artist we are going to learn about today. 

Artists can be innovators who change the world. 

Tuning in : The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan
Let's read a book by one of my favourite author/illustrators - Shaun Tan. Shaun uses a variety of media to make his pictures and often adds tiny details that each add meaning to the work. 

The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan, Lothian Books, 2000 

The children are now used to 'turning on their artist eyes' to notice details and creative choices the artist has made. They point out the warm colours Shaun has used, express surprise at how much detail there is and wonder at how Shaun has created the many layers in the work. 

Artist Profile: Leonardo Da Vinci 
Leonardo Da Vinci was an artist who lived over 500 years ago. He was a polymath – which meant he was interested in and very good at many things. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventer, botanist, anatomist and writer. 
Leonardo was curious about everything. He used his artist eyes all the time to observe the world. 
He lived during a time called The Renaissance.

Leonardo imagined many things which didn’t exist yet during his time. 

We take some time to look at images of Leonardo and his inventions. The children are fascinated by his detailed drawings. 

We are going to do some imagining and inventing today just like Shaun Tan and Leonardo Da Vinci. 
In your scrap books you are going to create the ultimate ‘lost thing’ pet:

I’d like you to do lots of imagining. How did you find your pet? Where does it live, what does it eat? Your pet can be funny, useful, scary, silly, beautiful or cuddly.
How many legs does your pet have? Does is even have legs?- maybe it has wheels or wings… Is your pet hairy or scaly or smooth? How does it see or sense the world? Why do you love your pet – what qualities does it have?

The children have been working in regular class on using adjectives and this is an opportunity to link with that learning to boost their confidence in using descriptive words. 

You can use any medium from your pencil case to create your pet -  crayon, coloured pencil or felt-tipped pen.

The children spend about half an hour working on their pets, which requires some effort to maintain attention and keep adding detail.   
Lets talk about our pets. Can you think of three adjectives to describe your pet?

New Vocabulary  adjective, Renaissance, Leonardo Da Vinci, innovation