Showing posts with label European art lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label European art lessons. Show all posts

Thursday, August 30, 2012

In the Art Room: Welcome to the Jungle

During their first week in art class, all of the artists were asked to create a monochromatic self-portrait on a 3" X 3" piece of paper. I love how their excitement about the Parisian theme in my classroom inspired their work.
 Well, I thought I'd do something a bit different in this In the Art Room blog post. I usually wait until the kids have finished a masterpiece to share it with you. However, I just don't see a completed project in the very near future. You see, we are neck deep in self-portraits, passports, suitcases and airplane sketches. And just when I thought I might have that madness managed, the teeny tiny kindergarten artists invaded the art room. On top of all that, I went nuts and decided I needed to do some redecorating. Long story short, that's just real life in the too-many-things-going-on-at-once art room. And we really wouldn't have it any other way.

That being said, I will share these projects with you again once completed. Until then, here's a peak into the art room jungle. Enjoy!
In preparation for our art adventures around Europe, we've been chatting about what we would pack in our suitcase. Best item packed to date: "I'm taking nail polish and beauty products. I want to look good in Paris!"
If you are an art teacher that has been on pinterest for more than 5 minutes, then you've seen the Rainbow Self-Portrait mural. It's a stunner. We created one last year and it was a hit. This year I had the genius idea that we'd use the same concept but for a map of the world. The only prob? Self-portraits that need to be half land and water. That's been a bit tricky, but we're getting there.

Seeing photos of our school mascot Jes in front of the Eiffel Tower have us dreaming we were there. By the way, don't you love the design of this shirt with the cut-out shoulders? I think we may have a future fashion designer on our hands.
Passport Control: Creating these passports with the kids gave me a new appreciation for the hard work that our classroom teachers do everyday. We did a lot of writing which was a task for some. However, I never heard one complaint. They loved creating these little books. Our next step will be to stamp a golden eagle on the cover and add our first stamp (France!) to our passport.
We've even begun speaking a little French in art. We can actually have a little conversation! We've learned "Bonjour! Ca va? Bien, merci. Je m'appelle..." It's really quite fun.
And then there was kindergarten...I love them. Their first day in the art room was just last week. Already these little geniuses have begun creating paper sculptures. This project is a great on in that everyone is successful and just knows they are the best artist ever.
When I teach this lesson, I tell the kinders that they must take their strip of paper and give it feet so that it can stand. Once they have folded the paper and created feet, they tickle the feet with a little bit of glue that they paint on with brushes. I stopped using glue bottles years ago. I just got too stinkin tired of unclogging the things. So we keep our glue in little cups with lids and spread it on with old paint brushes.
Once they've mastered creating a curved line, I introduce zigzags and spirals. Our last addition to these sculptures will come on the final day: lines becoming shapes.
I have been in my beautiful classroom for years. I always take time to decorate my windows but I've always been at a loss as to what to do with my cabinets. Because I have many, I have to label them. And last year, I created a world wall with them. This year, I decided to decorate the back of the shelves with the elements of art.
This was so simple I couldn't figure out why it took me so long to come up with the idea. I simply measured the back of the cabinet, cut bulletin board paper to size and painted away.
I don't have enough cabinets for all seven elements of art so some were combined. These two seemed to make sense.
So there you have it. A Plate-Too-Full, Too-Many-Things-Happening, Busy-All-The-Time art room. Nothing short of tres chic!

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

In the Art Room: Jes in Paris!

La Tour Eiffel: The Eiffel Tower has got to be the most iconic symbol for Paris and France. Named after the engineer who designed and built the tower, Gustave Eiffel, The Iron Lady was the tallest structure in the world until 1930. That's when our Chrysler Building overshadowed her. The tower was built in 1889 for the entrance of the World's Fair. Do we still have those?
Well, would you look at who is in Paris, France! That's right, our school mascot Jes. In case you aren't in the loop, I created this little stuffed dude to take on my trip to Europe this summer. I snapped photos of him in Germany and the Netherlands with the intent of sharing his adventures with my students in art class. You know, like the concept of Flat Stanley. Only cuter. 

My students are currently creating passports in art class and packing their suitcases (which entails the kids writing an item on a  Post-It and sticking in our paper suitcase. Best one so far? "My family")  Our first stop? Well, if you've seen my art room, you know it's the City of Love.

In preparation for our adventures, I've been doing my homework. So I thought I'd share a little history behind each Parisian monument. I also rediscovered the art of my Favorite-Artists-at-the-Moment: Brothers Jean and Raoul Dufy.

Special thanks to Sophie who traveled with Jes and snapped all of these marvelous photos. And to Sandy, the wonderful parent that put me in touch with Sophie. Merci beaucoup!
 Raoul Dufy was the older and more famous of the two artist brothers. Raoul said:“What I wish to show when I paint is the way I see things with my eyes and in my heart.”  La Tour Eiffel, 1935
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris or Sacré-Cœur Basilica. This Roman Catholic church sits high on hill of Montmartre, a popular artsy district. Because of it's height, it can often be found in the background of paintings of Paris. In fact, I included it in my own Parisian landscape
L’église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre et le Sacré-Coeur, 1953, Jean Dufy. Both brothers were considered Fauvist painters. The Fauves, which included artists like Henri Matisse, where given their name by an unflattering critic that found their colorful style akin to that of a Wild Beast. These painters loved the term and it is now associated with their bright works.
Notre Dame de Paris translates Our Lady of Paris. This Roman Catholic cathedral suffered some damage during the French Revolution (gah, I just spent entirely too much time reading about that revolution, fascinating!). Thankfully it has been restored and it's one of the best examples of Gothic architecture.
You know those people that take great ideas and totally claim it as their own? Well, you do now. Meet Pablo Picasso. What a guy. Did he ever have a single original thought? Here is he doing is best Dufy brothers impression. Notre Dame de Paris, 1954
Statue Equestre d'Henri IV, Pont Neuf, Paris. Henri IV was one of the most popular of the French kings whose reign lasted from 1589 to 1610. Equestrian statues are quite popular everywhere. I've heard that “when one of the horse’s hooves is raised it indicates that the rider was wounded in battle, when both of the horse’s hooves are up it indicates that the rider was killed in battle and when all four hooves are on the ground, none of the above.” I'll have to do some digging to find out if this is true of Henri IV.
Raoul Dufy's La Vert Galant, 1926
Jes at L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile. Designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, this monument honors those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
So it turns out Raoul Dufy was also a textile designer. I can see that. And I see a pin board on his textile designs in my future. I absolutely love this chair, L'Arc de Triomphe, 1933
I know there are some serious mixed reviews of I.M. Pei's pyramid outside the Louvre, but I love it. I.M. Pei also designed the art museum at Indiana University (the best college on the planet...not that I'm biased or anything), so I have a soft spot.
Spring in Paris poster by Raoul Dufy. I was really hoping I'd come upon one of these on my garage and thrifting adventures. No dice.
Don't you just love this sweet photo Sophie captured? She did such an amazing job taking Jes around...I can't thank her enough! Not to mention how excited the kids are to see the photos and hear about his adventuring.
So while Jes is off galavanting around Paris, I'll just sit here and dream. About the sights, the sounds and what I'd wear. This adorable Dufy-inspired number outta do the trick. You can see it and more vintage goodness here, you like.
I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson. Putting this post together helped me learn so much more about Paris. Jes will next be traveling to sweet Katie over at The Little Red Squirrel in the UK! How exciting, thank you, Katie! From there, I'd love for him to travel to Italy...but I have no connections. If you happen to have a contact, I'd love to send Jes that way. Thank you!

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