Aboriginal Dot Painting with the Lower Elementary. These students only used sticks and their fingers for painting.
Color theory, beyond the basics. Starting with an understanding of primary and secondary colors, we moved into the realm of tertiary and beyond! The use of student grade acrylics allowed us to delve into “warm” and “cool” secondary color mixing as well…Magenta vs. Fire Red!!!! Pthalo vs. Ultramine Blue!!!! Is that shade of Green a “warm” green or “cool” green? That all depends on what you used to make it!!!
More Styrofoam prints by my 1st and 2nd years. Amazing, simple and effective way to learn relief printmaking!
Upper Elementary students created Tessellations as part of our unit on Islamic Art. Tessellations use a singular shape which can be repeated endlessly, fitting together nicely to create a pattern. Squares, equilateral triangles, and octagons all tessellate well. To create their own unique tessellation shapes, students began with a base of a square or triangle, which was then cut, rearranged, and taped to make a new shape. If done correctly, this new shape will also tessellate
Students then chose a color harmony to paint their patterns with using acrylic paints. Examples of color harmonies are monochromatic, analogous, complimentary, and triadic. Color harmonies are special combinations of colors which tend to go together well and have a pleasing appearance when used together.
I have been teaching all grade levels at our school how to do relief printmaking. Here are my middle schoolers working furiously on their wood cuts. Beautiful work! This is the first time each of them has carved wood OR pulled a print. We did it all by hand! Even the printing was by hand — we rubbed the back of a wooden spoon across the back of the paper, pressing it firmly into the inked up wood block.
Art history connection is Ancient India and Ancient China, the beginnings of wood cuts. First step in the journey toward mass production and reproduction!
Photos of final prints forthcoming.
Aboriginal Dot Painting & X-Ray Style Painting
How our study of color and value paid off! Students used their choice of sticks, brushes, and fingers to create these acrylic-based dot paintings. As you can see, some students were more inspired by the Aboriginal X-ray style painting. I left the choice of which to emulate up to them. A lot of the kids had a hard time sticking to either style and ended up just painting with the brushes…hmmmm.
You can read more about traditional Aboriginal Art here.
Value study with Upper Elementary students
The past few weeks students have been studying art from Ancient India and Ancient China. Wood cuts are an early form of relief printmaking originating in these countries. Relief printmaking is any type of printmaking which uses a reductive approach to a solid matrix. The print is produced by inking up the carved surface, and pressing it onto paper. The area carved away will be white, and the remaining raised surface will be the color of the ink. Though early in its origins, this form of printmaking is still widely popular today.
The middle school students used wood carving tools to produce real wood cuts. After carving out their image, they printed their wood blocks by hand. Upper elementary students also used carving tools, but on a slightly softer linoleum surface. The lower elementary students produced their prints using an easily carved styrofoam block. Styrofoam images can be carved simply by using a dull pencil to push into the surface.
Part of the beauty of printmaking is that the image can be reproduced multiple times, using different colors if wanted. Look for our stunning prints in the hallways of our school.
Middle school wood cut prints
On to Ancient India. Our first project in the lower elementary was Palm Leaf Books. Traditionally made from leaves of a Palm tree, then strung together through a central hole, these early books featured handwritten words and images.
Ours are made from thick paper the children shaped and cut themselves. They then wrote 4 memories from their lives, along with illustrations, on the pages, and finally made 2 pages which are the covers. These are strong together with yarn, tied with beads on the ends.