Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Primary Color Tiki Tiki Masks

The longer I teach the more interested I become in the process of mask making. Each group of students has a different view of what the purpose of a mask can be. Halloween is always a really good reason for masks, but by the time they reach 5th grade they can give me some more well thought out answers for example "Expressing one's emotions" or "Hiding identities". 
African masks are a very popular subject matter, but I wanted to try to vary up the style a bit. This project studied Polynesian/Hawaiian style Tiki Masks. 
Rage Tiki.
Primary Tiki Tiki Masks - 3 forty minute sessions
In our study, we viewed visuals of tiki sculptures and discussed a variety of Tiki gods. We identified the way the artists would exaggerate certain features of faces. (Be aware when cruising online images, there are some inappropriate ones)
I posted some visuals with a variety of facial features on the board for inspiration and from there the students started.
Day 1: I gave each student a sheet of 11 x 14" posterboard (although you can use any other material you prefer) and a pencil. Students were first asked to shape the top, bottom, and sides of their mask. They could round it or keep the edges straight.  Then cut out the shape you have drawn.
tiki2 tiki3 tiki1
Then students had the task of designing eyes, nose, mouth, and design details. Having visual examples to look at were very helpful. We noted that many of the tiki featured large open mouths with teeth.
Face details
Face details
This was a stopping point for us. After design was complete with pencil, we saved for the next session. 
Day 2:  I set out liquid tempera paint for the second session. Students were given the three primary colors RED, YELLOW, and BLUE.  They were also given white and black. I emphasized with students the importance of painting the lightest colors first then ending with the darkest as to keep the colors as pure as possible. Black was for fine detail and outlining work. 
When these were dry, I got out my crafty Xacto knife and cut out the numerous eye holes that called for removal. If students left a gap between the teeth of the jaw lines I removed that too. 
Day 3: This day is optional if you feel like the second day gave the masks a level of completeness. I decided to give students one more day to collage scrap paper elements for a more refined work. I gave them paper left over from matisse collages. I emphasized the importance of SYMMETRY at this point and requested they keep that in mind when adding their paper elements. 
I created this art work by cutting out cardboard and painting.
'Lil Tiki.
37994798If students finished early, I let them create a Tiki Sculpture using a toilet paper tube and a 4 x 6" piece of white paper. Some of them turned out quite funny! Keep an eye out for a post on t.p. tube sculptures. 
37995102 38022254
A few pointers on this project: 
1. I'm not sure what it is about black paint, but they will go OVERBOARD with it. I give them specific instructions that it is a detail color and give them an especially tiny brush for painting with. Paint black last... it will alter all the other colors otherwise.
2. I don't think the white paint was necessary for us. Our poster board was already white so I think the paint really gave them more grief than helped. 
3. I wanted to emphasize primary colors on this project, however this could be much more colorful. This could be a value study with shades and tints of browns much like the carved tiki sculptures. Lots of options here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Irrational Fears: Chalk Pastels

I have experienced an irrational fear of chalk pastels. They are dusty. Children end up with all sorts of odd colors in their noses, mouths, ears, etc. Messy messy messy. Plus, I never used them before myself in my many years of art classes in public school or college. It was a foreign object to me.
However, I put on some big girl undies this school year and gave them a try. Chalk pastels won a student of mine a first place award in a system-wide competition and I was converted.
My students created an Native American Sunset Silhouette this year. This project was done by first graders, but could definitely work for any age upwards. 
We first watched the story The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tommie DePaola. [embed][/embed]
I asked my students questions that centered around colors they saw in the sky from the story. Then we went to work on our own sunset compositions.
Native American Sunset Silhouettes - 2 forty minute classes
Day 1: I placed a selection of chalk pastels (broken in half) into a dish in the middle of the table. I chose yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, and blues. Each student was to select 1 yellow, 1 orange, then choose either pink or red, then choose blue or purple as their darkest color. (You don't have to give them a choice, but my students like to have one)
I then showed students the steps to create a gradient.
I found this demo on the The Art of Education site and this is what inspired this project. 
Then I sprayed them with hair spray after students left for the day.

Day 2: We talked about silhouettes this day. We viewed silhouette visuals... showing both people and landscapes. We also talked about shadows and how we can see them easier when the sun is positioned just right.
I gave students a black piece of paper the length of the gradient paper. They could keep it straight or change it depending on how they wanted the ground to look. This was their horizon line.
Then we reflected on the story we heard the week before. What kinds of objects would you find in the setting of that story?
Students drew with pencil onto black paper, then cut out and glued to their objects of choice onto their horizon line. 
Many trees, bushes, and tee pees made their way into our landscapes. There were even a few horses and dogs. With the tiny students,  I found giving them a horizon line to work off of was easiest. Older students could probably create a silhouette where the black paper is all one piece. 
In all, the chalk pastels were still kind of messy. I experienced a rainbow every time I blew my nose. There was a chalk trail exiting my classroom door. However, I found that the brief mess was worth the results. I love chalk pastels now! Yahoo!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Class Up that Trashcan!

Our schools have a surplus of boring storage. Green is great and all... but blah!
A co-worker of mine had the brilliant idea of making our rather boring wheeled fellows look a bit more exciting. I was given free reign and no money. So my solution was to buy up some cheep acrylic paints at Hobby Lobby and round up some capable 4th and 5th graders.

The goal was to cover as much of the can as possible and emphasizing that this was a RECYCLE bin. Not for trash, please!
trashcan4 trashcan3
Our first set of cans was inspired by Keith Haring. It began as a light spray paint base. Then we painted body figures in a variety of poses around the can. Our goal was graffiti. I think this fit the bill.

trashcan6 trashcan5
Our second can was Van Gogh Starry Night inspired. This was all cheap acrylic paint you can get from any craft store. The key to this can was making sure it consisted of many lines much like the style of Van Gogh. 

Our last can was my favorite. We were inspired by Wassily Kandinsky. I think this can turned out most successfully because we were able to completely cover ALL of the original can color. The wheels even got a color treatment. 
Each of these cans has been placed in a hallway for our white paper recycling program. Wouldn't it be fun to see one out on your curb on pick up day?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Color-full Bird Masks

I've found Artsonia to be my new favorite go-to site when at work. It has a plethora of ideas right at your finger tips. I started using it for inspiration then eventually began our own school gallery. It has been a real treat to utilize a more worldly venue that allows family from any corner of the globe to view a child's art work. This particular project was inspired from a mask I saw on Artsonia.