Thursday, October 2, 2014

In the Art Room: Reversible Dot Paintings

Okay, I know what you're thinking: Holy crap, Stephens, Dot Day ended, like, a month ago! 

Y'all. I know. But I never did tell ya the whys and hows and who's-its of these here Reversible Dot Paintings. So don't gimme none of that "holy crap" biznatch, ya hear?
Way back when I started dreaming up ideas for Dot Day, I knew I wanted to use some cardboard pizza rounds. I dunno why. You know how it is when you get an idea stuck in your head for no reasonable reason and you just can't get rid of it. Kinda like herpes. Well that was me with this cardboard pizza round thing. So I ordered a hundred of 'em from School Specialty and got the notion that we'd make some reversible abstract paintings out of 'em. 
What gave me that thought was the movie Six Degrees of Separation (if you've heard me tell this tale before, sorry for the repeat. I'm a repeat-asaurus, it's what I do). I knew I wanted the kids to learn about Kandinsky because he's got a big fat showing at our local art museum. And then I recalled this movie clip and was all: YES! REVERSIBLE KANDINSKY PAINTINGS. I'M. A. GENIUS.

That is until I found out that Kandinsky never actually did paint any reversible painting. Which could only lead me to one conclusion: The Prince of Bel Air is a LIAR (okay, so it was Donald Sutherland in the clip, whateves).
I still thought the idea was a good one and a fun way to start the school year so I went with it any ole way. Whatcha see above is one child's reversible painting. I love how different one side is from the other. Lemme tell you how we did it. It all started on the first day of school...
Yeah, I know. You've prolly seen this thing too. Told ya I'm a repeat-asaurus. Just ask my students. 


On our first days of art class, after our chats about Kandinsky and his painting to music, we tackled our own abstract paintings. We listened to music and musical instruments to inspire a variety of lines. Our first Word of the Week was "artist" which we all decided we most definitely are.
The following classes were spent painting and our word of the week was "unique". I really wanted to emphasize that our paintings are all going to be different, no one better than the other. We also talked about how color could evoke mood and that was the focus behind our color choices. This wasn't a color mixing lesson, per se (gah, I've always wanted to say "per se" on this blog. Today's my lucky day, I dare per se!). If the kids created new colors, HURRAY!, we celebrated that. But our focus was on using colors to show emotion.

And by the looks of things we were all pretty happy. By the way, the paint we were using was whatever-was-left-over-from-last-school-year. My art supply order hadn't arrived yet (because, um, I forgot to place it. Der.) so we may have been scraping the bottom of some bottles. I do have to tell you that upon YOUR recommendations, I ordered VersaTemp from Sax and, y'all. I LOVE IT. Best paint I've used with the kids yet. I can't wait for you to see their new paintings! But, um, back to this.
I think a kid's personality really shines in an abstract painting. This dude is very meticulous, organized and precise. 
And this little girl is very free and comfortable with her sense of expression. She's already decided she's an artist now and when she grows up (gotta love that!).
I see a landscape painter every time I look at this painting.
Because I thought the boards should be the opposite on the back, I did go ahead and paint them all black. Which really didn't take as long as it sounds...but I didn't want the kids to use one of their precious art classes painting something black. We looked at a couple of Kandinsky's circle paintings and I gave the kids a "creative challenge" ("creative" being our Word of the Week): Create a painting using only circles. 
Because the surface was black, the kids did have to paint the circles white first and then add color. Which was great because then we could learn all about tints and value.
I see a budding Edvard Munch, don't you?
So clever, I love it!
The week of Dot Day, our word was "inspire". This was because our beautiful reversible paintings were to inspire the school just as Peter H. Reynolds had inspired our dot theme. To hang, I simply punched a super small hole in the top and bottom of each painting and paper clipped them together. 
And the serve as this super colorful reminder of the unique and creative artists that made them. They're so happy, I think I'll leave 'em up for a while. 

By the way, I now have a thing for cardboard pizza rounds. I gotta know, what have y'all ever used 'em for? 

Until next time!
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16 comments:

  1. Another great post, Cassie. Where did you find that cool drum? Gotta get me one!

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    1. Hey Pat! It's called a Spring Drum and it's by a company called REMO. You can find their products at music instrument shops like Guitar Center or Sam Ash. Amazon sells them too, just type in "remo spring drum". They are pretty awesome!

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    2. pat! how the heck are you?! glad to see/hear you still here in the blogosphere:)

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  2. love this lesson. I can't find it on the School Specialty site, which is our approved vendor. Do you remember the item number?

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    1. I just now had the hardest time finding them too! But I did. Here are the item numbers (there are 2 different sizes) #216714 and #216713 and they are called "Paper Pizza Round Design Circle". What a mouthful! Have fun!

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  3. they look superb, lady! love that install:)

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  4. Kandinsky did do "reverse painting on glass" which followed a traditional method of painting on the inside of the glass to view from the other side, through the glass. My Art Club kids did those last year with great success. I love yours, regardless of the movie's misinformation. :D

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    1. Oh, I love the idea of reverse painting on glass! I'm gonna have to look into that, thanks!

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  5. Thank you. I'm thinking about having our Big Art Night theme Circle Art this year. These would look great.

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  6. Hey you! Loving the new layout! It works really well. And the videos are brilliant, it really gives you a sense of what you get up to in that crazy room of yours! :) The reversible paintings are a lovely idea, I may have to adopt that one for my team building class!! :)

    Jerra x

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    1. Hey friend! Thank you, the new layout is a work in progress but I'm much happier with is. And have fun with the paintings, the kids really did!

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  7. These Reversible Dot Paintings are so lovely. The little kids have done amazing Aboriginal Art in their art room. I just loved it. These kids are definitely going to become very talented people in future.

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  8. Love the project. Beautiful colours! Did you have to wait for the black lines to dry before painting the colours?

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    1. Hi Megan! Yes, we waited. I have short art classes with the younger set, so we read The Dot, talked about Kandinsky and then painted lines. That took our entire 30 minutes! The following class, we added color and the one after that, we painted the back!

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  9. Hi Cassie!! I love your posts. Being a music/art teacher I love that you used music and drums for this project... what music did you play for the kids. I see a lot of happy colors... just curious what music you used to evoke those responses. Thanks!! Cherie

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    1. I really like listening to 1950's cocktail music in the art room, no lie. I will often open Pandora and play the Martin Denny channel :) It's light, happy and hypnotic.

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)