Showing posts with label Rene Magritte. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rene Magritte. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In the Art Room: The Magritte Project, Three

Whatcha got here is the finale to the Mega-Magritte Project. This was seriously like the project that kept on giving. Aaaaaaand giving. Which I loved because I could tie in so much. But I do believe the 3rd grade and I are ready to move on.
Now if you are new to this blog, welcome! I've noticed a wee spike in my views thanks to The Art of Education's nomination of this here blog for Art Ed Blog of the Year (What?! I know, right? I'm just as surprised as you). If you've not checked out the blogs nominated, you should. So many of those art teachers work tirelessly on their blog. You can vote for multiple blogs so, if you feel so inclined, I'd love your vote! Okay...shameless self-promotion over.

Aaaaand, what was I saying?

Ah, yeah, if you're new, welcome, pull up a chair, introduce yourself, grab a snack, sit back and relax. But, please, try not to fall asleep. The snoring becomes a little off-putting and makes it hard for the rest of the readers to doze off.


Magritte! I began by introducing the dude with a coupla books, visuals and, of course, a costume...

Which was probably one of the worst artist costumes to date because I couldn't see anything; my annoying loud voice echoed off the back of the apple and hurt my ears; and, to top it all off, all I could smell was my own breath. Which smelled like coffee and the Altoids I consume to mask the smell. That I now know doesn't work.
We chatted a lot about this particular piece and just exactly what the meaning of Surrealism is. We decided that it was something that looked real but couldn't possibly be real. The book Dinner at Magritte's by Michael Garland had loads of examples of that.

I decided that the 3rd grade was going to create a Mega-Magritte Mural. You can see the full lesson and finished product here. To break it down for you, the kids painted a 12" X 18" piece of paper with a tint and shade of blue. Then they used oil pastels to add stars and clouds. On the backs of their paper, they were to trace two birds, one Day and one Night. Again, head here for clear details (I'm too tired to retype it all!).

For the mural, the kids were to donate one of their birds. Their spare bird was then used in a 9" X 12" tissue paper landscape collage. That lesson can be seen here.

We chatted bunches about analogous colors for the sky and how to decide upon a color palette that would best contrast their bird.
And then we were left with these amazing negative shaped papers after we cut our birds out. I couldn't bear just recycling them. So I turned it into a literary lesson which lead to the creation of something called The Compliment Game! Here's how it worked:
  • Each student was given a 6" X 10" piece of Rolyco's Color Diffusing paper. It has the look and feel (and does the exact same thing) as a coffee filter. The kids were to write their name and teacher code on the back. 
  • We chatted about what a compliment was. We also discussed character words. And similes. Then the kids were given one minute to fill their page with words that best described the person that they are. For this, they used warm colored water-based markers.
  • When the minute was up, they were to trade papers with their neighbors. Again, the timer was set and they were to write complimentary words that described their friend.
  • Once the timer went off, the kids swapped papers with the person across from them. They had to read the back of the paper to know who they were writing about.
  • Timer off. Swap with neighbor. One more round.
  • After the fourth and final round, the kids were given back their papers. And you should have seen them. They loved reading what their friends had written about them! It was so sweet. 
  • Then they were to chose the words that they felt best described them and make them permanent. For this, they traced the words in sharpie, still using the warm colors.
  • Lastly, the papers were placed on a styrofoam plate and painted with water. Below is the result.

Now, for the cool color paper, I tried a couple different things. We didn't play the game this time. Instead one class (the one you are seeing) wrote words that told the person they would like to become. What they dreamed they could be. Which was pretty cerebral for 'em. 

For another class, we wrote words that described what we are like on the outside since that was the opposite of the words that described our character. This seemed much easier for them. If they ran out of words, they could ask a friend. Although, you gotta be sure an emphasis compliment again as I do believe I read "stinky feet" on someone's paper. Thankfully, Senor Stinky Feet has a good sense of humor. The last paper was also traced in sharpie and painted.
For our final step, we added our wordy papers to our negative shaped birds. And, viola! We can finally close our Magritte-y Chapter. 

Until next time, kids, don't forget to go here and check out these amazing blogs and vote!
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In the Art Room: The Magritte Project, Two

I'm sure ya'll remember that Mammoth-Magritte-Mural I previously rambled about (I mean, you'd have to unless you suffer from short-term memory loss. Which sometimes I worry that I do. I mean, I know everyone says, "oh, I walked into this room and totally forgot what I came for," but I'll drive all the way to the grocery store, stock up on moisturizer and People magazines and totally forget food. Pretty sure if I try to serve hubs Pasta a la Aveeno one more time, he's gonna demand I start taking my meds...again.)

Speaking of short term memory...what was I just talking about?!
Ah, yes, Magritte. I do remember I told you that this particular project is like the gift that keeps on giving. Because after the kids cut out their day and night birds (go here if you are confused), it turns out I only needed one for their mural. Any more and it woulda looked like a scene outta Hitchcock's The Birds. This left them with either a cloud-filled or star-studded bird for the project you see here.
Magritte's The Return was the inspiration behind these small works of art. And, by small, I mean the paper was 9" X 12". We usually work twice as large in the art room despite our half an hour art class time constraints. But I had a sneaky suspicion that this whole tissue-paper collage thing just might take for-evah. Turns out, like sooo many things, I was right (hubs, are you reading this?! Say it with me: I. Was. Right. I know this has nothing to do with you, I just like to hear you say it!).
This spin-off project turned out to be a hit with the kids. They learned about analogous colors, creating contrast, making a collage landscape all while working with an art material they'd not used in a long time: tissue paper. Lemme tell they went about creating these works of art. 

Bonus: You'll hear the story about how a third grader taught me the correct name of my favorite art supply. Deep stuff, I know. Read on.
In my last post, I told you about how the kids were given 12" X 18" pieces of paper on which they were to paint a tint of blue and a shade of blue. These colors were premixed so that the colors in our mural would be consistent. I know, I'm a control freak. Once those were dried, the kids added clouds and stars in oil pastel. From there, they flipped their paintings over and traced the day and night bird templates on the back. This yielded two birds, one for the mural, one for this project, and an awesome negative paper to be used in the future.

ACK!! I must pause this post and tell you why this scene made my hands sweat and caused the following convo:

Kid: Um. My what?
Me: YOUR. MESSY. MAT. You're getting Modge Podge all over the table. 
Kid: Oh, sorry...(attempting a distraction technique) but don't you like my beautiful nighttime sky?

Yeah, I do. Le sigh. Those kids. They get me everytime. 

On the first day of this project, we looked at Magritte's The Return and had a long chat about two things: contract and analogous colors. We noticed how Magritte used a contrasting sky to make his bird stand out. Then we talked about ways we could do that in our sky without making just a blue daytime or black nighttime sky. This led to a chat about the different times of day and the colors you might see. Then I focused on the color wheel. I told the kids that they were to choose four pieces of tissue paper that were analogous in color. I placed a color wheel on each table to help them along. Once their four colors were chosen, they were to hold the tissue paper up in the air so the rest of us could see what they'd chosen and decide if there were indeed analogous. From there, they commenced tearing the paper into strips.
Now, just a note on that. I noticed that the paper has a grain. Meaning it will tear in nice long strips going one way, but the other direction it tears in short pieces. There is no way to know the grain, it's just a matter of tearing. Torn pieces of tissue were kept in labeled envelopes for the next class.

And a note on adhering the tissue paper. I asked that the paper go horizontally as clouds would move across the sky. I demonstrated how to apply a thin layer of varnish to the paper, place tissue on top and then apply another layer. When applying second layer, start in the middle of the tissue paper and brush outward. This prevents those annoying and unsightly crumpled pieces of tissue paper.
EEK.  Yet another cringe-worthy photo: scissors dangerously close to varnish brush...paper waaay off the messy of those rubber band bracelets that are going to be the end of meeee. Deep breath, focusing on lovely work of art. Whew. Okay. Better now. Back to whatever I was rambling about...

I had folded the paper so there was about 2-3" at the bottom for the horizon line. Once their sky was complete, the kids could dive into my massive box of sparkly fabric and create stars, a moon or a sun and clouds. This was applied in the same manner as the tissue paper. By the second art class, most skies were complete.

For the land, the kids were to choose two different colors of green (a couple even opted for green fabric), tear into large pieces and adhere to the bottom. This took them no time at all.
Once their landscape was complete, the kids were to glue their birds. I had them play around with the placement of the bird until they settled on a composition they liked. For a little pop, I used my paper cutter to slice a million little pieces of foam core. The kids glued about 5 pieces of foam core to the back of their bird and then glued that to their piece. I love the subtle 3-D element and it also introduced the concept of relief sculpture to the kids.
Now I know some of ya'll are stick-sun haters but how you gonna hate on this?
And now for a moment of art teacher humiliation. As if that doesn't happen about a dozen-twenty times in a day...

Kid: Mrs. Stephens, why do you call that stuff "Modge Podge"?
Me: (holding up the jug of stuff so the kid could see the label) Because that's what it's called, see?
Kid: Then why does it say MOD Podge?!

Wait, WHAT?! 
And that's when my teeny-tiny brain was blown. I looked at the label and, sure enough, the stuff that I'd been calling Modge Podge for years is indeed called MOD Podge. Wah-hut?! How in the world did I not catch that? It's toootally got that rad 1960's mod-style label.  

Please, puh-lease tell me I'm not the only one that's been calling it that. And please tell me why none of yous never corrected me on my ignorance? Have all ya'll been laughin at me (more than normal) behind my illiterate back?! JUST as I suspected, humph!
Whatevers. This Thanksgiving, I'm placing MOD Podge on the long list of things I'm thankful lack of reading skillz, not so much.

Speaking of, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friends! And, if you don't celebrate such, just pat your bottle of Mod Podge fondly on the head and think of me. I'll be back soonish with an embroidery project I'm just Thankful to be finished with. 

Until then, have a great one!
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

In the Art Room: The Magritte Project, One

Ya'll might recall that we are experiencing a bit of Magritte-madness in the art room. It started when I settled upon him as our Artist of the Month, got all surreal and wore this Magritte-inspired get-up to school and decided the third grade could/should create a mural as epic as this one by our fourth grade.
And, standing at 9' X 12', weighing in at 10 lbs, I'd say this thing went beyond epic and hit Mammoth Magritte-dom. Which is perfect for my third grade as this thing is as big (and surreal) as their personality.
The whole thing started when I hung up this piece by Magritte for the kids to chat about during our "What do you SEE? THINK? WONDER?" time. When I overhead the Deep Thoughts (not by Jack Handey) of the third graders, I knew I had to create a project that turned this spark of interest into a big fat hairy fire. You know, because the Fire Marshall isn't going to lose his sh** enough when he sees that mural.
I used these couple of books to help introduce Magritte. I began by reading the fictional Dinner at Magritte's which was awesome because there is something surreal taking place in each illustration. After reading each page, we'd attempt to find just what that was. This really helped the kids understand the concept of surrealism: objects that are real but combined in such a way that they couldn't possibly be real. This was followed up with by surreal-themed art homework. Of course we had to read Mike Venezia's book on the artist. The kids love his books.
During our study of Magritte, I had the kids look at another painting of his and list all of the nouns they saw. As they said things such as bird, sky, water, ocean, sunset, clouds, etc, I wrote them down on small pieces of paper and threw them in a little box marked nouns. Then they had to come up with adjectives that described the painting and I proceeded to do the same thing. I then drew two nouns from the box and one adjective such as Clouds, Sunset, Stormy. The kids were given a small piece of paper and two minutes to create their own surreal drawing. This proved to be a short and fun assessment tool.
After that, I told the kids that we'd be creating a Mega-Magritte Mural. Now, I'm all about stressing individuality in my room, as I'm sure you are too. But we had to chat about working collaboratively on this mural. I explained to them that it was like a big ole puzzle and that we all had to work together to make the pieces fit. With that in mind, the kids were given a piece of 12" X 18" piece of paper folded in half vertically. At the top, they were to use horizontal brush strokes and paint a tint of blue while at the bottom they were to paint a shade. Once these dried, we added clouds and stars with oil pastels.
The following art class, I placed a couple different bird templates on the tables. I thought the mural would make more sense visually if all the "daytime" birds were flying in one direction and the night in the opposite. I knew that this concept might be difficult for the kids if I didn't make my directions very clear. My solution was to write Day and Night on the birds. They were to use the Day birds on their daytime sky (tracing on the back to hide those unsightly pencil lines) and the Night birds on the nighttime sky.
Now it just so turns out that this art project is going to be like a gift that keeps on giving. I love how their negative space papers look! I'm dreaming up another Magritte-inspired project for these pieces. Any thoughts on what they could collage/paint/write/draw in those negative spaces?

By the way, the trick to getting the kids to cut so that they end up with that great negative paper was to tell them that they could only cut with one point of entry. Usually I'm all about cutting off the excess paper as I cut because it gets in the way. However, after I showed them how cool the negative paper would look, they were careful to cut slowly and only have one entry and exit point cut. This initial cut was taped back together after the bird was cut out.
Now I have five 3rd grade classes with about 17 students each. At first I thought we'd need both of their birds for the mural but it turns out, they only needed to donate one. I allowed the kids to choose which one they'd like to give to the mural and which to keep for a future project (to be shared with you next week, I can't wait!).Which is why this post it titled The Magritte Project as I think we'll end up with three pieces as a result.
When finished with their cutting, I laid out huge pieces of blue paper for the kids to begin painting the clouds. We painted a lot of cloud papers. Some got used in the mural...some will be used for our display of the other Magritte-inspired masterpieces.

I used black bulletin board paper and hack-cut a horizon line. Once everything was complete, we started to day it out on the floor in the art room.

I'm fortunate that I have the floor space for such big endeavors. The other kids (and adults) were super curious about what the 3rd grade was up to, so I created this sign to help explain our work. Because, honestly, if I had to answer the question "What's that?!" one more time, I was a-gonna scream
Now most of my little friends know not to walk on artwork on the floor because in my art room, artwork is always all over the floor (I have a love-hate with my slightly-angled/can-cause-drips-and-paint-runs drying rack). So I also created some make-shift construction cones with orange paper and my gallon paint bottles. And I STILL had at least two kindergarteners walk right through the mural? Really?! Sigh.

By the way, do you see that huge roll of orange paper my mural is on? We just happen to have a ton of this stuff and it's what we've used to glue both the Warhol mural and this one two. It works great as a base to our murals. I use a combo of spray and hot glue to adhere it to the paper. It makes my room smell magical and I see stars for up to a half hour after the fact.
Magritte's Dominion of Light was also used as inspiration in the mural. A couple of my students painted that while others used circle sponges to create the dots.
I am fortunate to have some great volunteers in the art room. They worked on hot gluing the birds in place and adhering the bulletin board paper to the large roll of orange paper. With the help of one sweet volunteer, I was able to get the mammoth mural up right outside my art room door. It so fun to see whenever I leave the art room. Of course, the kids were thrilled with their hard work...even if they were under the impression that their mural should "cover up" the fourth grade one. 

Stay tuned for more Magritte-madness. Until then, enjoy your weekend and we'll chat soon!
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Sunday, November 3, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #81

It-Always-Feels-Like-Somebody's-Watching-Me Monday: Not sure what freaked the kids out more, the fact that I was wearing pants or that my pants watched their every move. Best be behavin', ya'll. sweater: Anthro label, bought at Buffalo Exchange; necklace: vintage, gift; pants: originally purchased at Target, DIY-eyes by me; shoes: Miss L Fire
Greetings, ya'll! I do believe when the clock struck 3:30pm on Friday, a collective art teacher sigh rang out through The Universe. Was this The World's Most Wacky Week or what?! In my neck of the woods, not only did this week involve Halloween but I had my first evaluation and it was Spirit Week and our school-wide Fun Run (or, in our case, being the tigers, the Tiger Run. Which I tried to convince the kids that it was called such because tigers would be chasing them...but no one was buying it. Except for kindergarten. And they ran super fast). Needless to say, I've spent this weekend attempting to recover.

These past couple of weeks, I've been a wee bit of a slacker when it came to my weekly outfit posts. This wasn't totally intentional...but something happened recently that turned me off to posting my outfits. Unbeknownst to me, an outfit of mine (go here and see Thursday) was the cause of some debate on pinterest. I admit, that outfit was a stinker, but the couple of negative comments really caught me by surprise (I've noticed that one commenter who called the outfit a "disaster" [it truly is, ya'll] has since removed her remark). However, the kind words of complete strangers (one being an art teacher herself) really made me feel good. So, to those like-minded, crazily-dressed artsy folk, let's ignore the not-so-nice and focus on the positive! Because, really, life is entirely too short not to wear faux-tiger-fur shoes with pocket-watch tights and be a delightful disaster, doncha think?!

Whew! With that mess off my chest, here's what I wore...and some artist love to Rene Magritte...
Rene Magritte was born in Belgium in 1898 and died in 1967. The kids have been absolutely fascinated by his work and have had many great debates on his surreal images. We've chatted about how Magritte liked to take objects that are real but combine them in such a way that they couldn't possibly be real. For their art homework, my third grade students were to combine two real things and make them into something surreal. One girl came back with a drawing of me. I know I'm weird, I didn't know I was surreal. Sur realz, ya'll?
The Human Condition, 1933  You know, in case you weren't confused by his paintings enough, ole Magritte liked to mess with you via his titles as well. After our grand debates, when the kids learn the title, they're all...Mind. Blown.
Monster Mash Tuesday: I only had the chance to wear this outfit twice before packing it up until next fall. And both of those times I was visiting the same doc's office...which means they must think I wear this get-up everyday. In fact, one nurse said, "oh! I remember you from the other were wearing that same dress!" Embarrassing. dress, sweater: DIY, go here; tights: Target; shoes: Crocs, thrifted; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing
Not to be Reproduced, 1937 I have to share this quote by Magritte describing his paintings:
"visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, 'What does that mean?'. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable."

Magritte Wednesday: This here is my fourth Artist of the Month outfit and it was completed just in the nick of time! Official DIY post to come. hat: DIY by me; jacket: Anthro, gift from a friend; blouse: gift from a friend; tie: made by me; tie tack: my 15 years of teaching pin!; dress: thrifted, DIY by me; cloud tights: ebay, just search "cloud tights"; boots: Lucky Brand, Marshalls
The Son of Man, 1964 Perhaps one of Magritte's most recognizable works, this was part of the inspiration behind my outfit. The kids noticed that Magritte repeats certain images in his paintings. The "balcony" appears in several of his paintings, often with a nest resting on it.
The Great Family, 1963 I was inspired my the repeating image of birds filled with clouds for the skirt portion of my dress. That image is also the inspiration for a mural project the third grade is currently working on. I cannot wait to share with you the end piece.
Eye of the Tiger Thursday: As I mentioned, it was Spirit Week and I'd failed to participate...I just couldn't wear my pajamas to work for PJ Day (holey t-shirt and stinky sweats? I think not) and don't have any sports gear for Football Team Day (like, ew) but for Dress Like a Tiger Day, I was set! dress: thrifted vintage; sweater: felted by me, DIY here; tiger tights and tiger ears: Amazon

Tiger Run Friday: Not long ago, we spent a week in the art room tie-dying our Tiger Run t-shirts our school colors. It's always exciting to see how they turn out (looks like my dying skillz are lacking) and fun to see all 400 plus students, teachers and faculty wearing their shirts. For the occasion, I decided to go all out with my tights...just don't ask me how. That'd be a TMI of epic proportions. shirt: tie-dyed and altered by me; skirt: Anthro, gift from a friend; shoes: Puma; tights: Target

Kissing Magritte, Joe Webb, 2012 So in my search for all things Magritte, I stumbled upon this amazing image, as well as many others, by the contemporary collage artist Joe Webb. This dude used real vintage magazines (no computer/photoshop images) to create his surreal collages. I'm in love. Go here and check out more of his beautiful vintage-y surreal-tastic work.
...AND another annoying plug for my Facebook page. "When will it end?!" you ask? Probs never. Sorry.
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