Category: 7th grade

7th Grade – Joseph Cornell’s Memory Boxes

7th Grade – Joseph Cornell’s Memory Boxes

Description of the Unit – Students will observe and discuss Joseph Cornell’s memory boxes, and, gathering their own personal objects, found objects and other materials, students will thoughtfully create their own memory boxes.

One of Joseph Cornell's found object assemblages, also known as memory boxes, titled Celestial Navigation and made in 1956.
Joseph Cornell – Untitled (Celestial Navigation) – 1956-58 © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
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7th grade – Cbabi Bayoc and Foreshortening

7th grade – Cbabi Bayoc and Foreshortening

Description of the Unit – When I introduce students to Cbabi Bayoc they often wonder about his “cool sounding” name. Where does it come from? His beautiful name comes from the artist himself. He changed his first name from Clifford to Cbabi, an acronym for Creative Black Artist Battling Ignorance, and, together with his wife, created a new last name for themselves, Bayoc, an acronym for Blessed African Youth of Creativity. Creative he is: Bayoc has worked his way from being a caricature artist at Six Flags in St. Louis to a renowned and sought-after artist commissioned by other notable institutions and artists, including the late musician Prince who commissioned Bayoc to create an album cover for him. Bayoc has also painted school and community murals, and in 2012 he took on one of his most ambitious projects, “365 Days with Dad.” Bayoc painted one painting a day that depicted a positive image of black fatherhood (all while raising his own kids) for the entire year. These uplifting, emotional paintings—such as one of a father swimming with his son, another of a dad reading to his child—has drawn praise from all around the nation, especially within the black community. Bayoc’s work is a testament to the positive influence an artist can have on a community and on the world, and he and his work should be studied and celebrated in our nation’s schools. Please visit his website at: https://cbabibayoc.com/

The artist Cbabi Bayoc with two of his paintings
My Life Matters: Cbabi Bayoc, ©Cbabi Bayoc: https://cbabibayoc.com/
Bayoc with painting 31 of his 365 Days with Dad series
Bayoc with painting 31 of his 365 Days with Dad series, ©Cbabi Bayoc: https://cbabibayoc.com/
The album cover Cbabi Bayoc painted for Prince
The album cover Bayoc painted for Prince, ©Cbabi Bayoc: https://cbabibayoc.com/

Activity statement – (Perspective and foreshortening)

One of the techniques that Cbabi Bayoc uses to great effect is foreshortening. I like to use three of his paintings of musicians to explore the mechanism and effect of foreshortening in two-dimensional art: Blues Man, Light Touch, and Serenading the Street. Observing the paintings, one notices how the use of foreshortening works to direct the movement of our eye, and to draw us towards a focal point.

Cbabi Bayoc's painting Blues Man
Blues Man, ©Cbabi Bayoc, https://cbabibayoc.com/
Cbabi Bayoc's painting Light Touch
Light Touch, ©Cbabi Bayoc, https://cbabibayoc.com/
Cbabi Bayoc's painting Serenading the Street
Serenading the Street, ©Cbabi Bayoc, https://cbabibayoc.com/

Foreshortening places the viewer nose-to nose with the subject, especially in Bayoc’s work. The size exaggeration in foreshortening brings a sense of immediacy to the moment; we can hear the music being played, sensing the passion and concentration behind the music. Foreshortening in this case makes the action of playing music the true subject of the painting. Bayoc is inviting us to pay attention to the instruments and hands, but more abstractedly, he is asking us to pay attention to the music. In essence, foreshortening is emphasizing the music.

Students also observe the way in which two elements play a key role in how we relate to these paintings. Those elements are color and shape. The colors Bayoc uses are earthy, vibrant and alive, without being overwhelming. Some students have mused that the colors are used perhaps to emphasize warmth, energy and passion.

The features of the body and face are rendered through basic shapes, abstracting the figure somewhat to give us a more animated representation of reality. There’s an immediacy and accessibility to these paintings that seems to be the result of this slight abstract of the humans depicted.

Student work: A Foreshortened Self-portrait – I ask my students: “how can you depict yourself in a situation that requires foreshortening, and make it truly come to life?” This is a challenging project for the students, for in order to express foreshortening you have to have the correct point-of-view. It is important to spend time looking at other images that express foreshortening as well, and I like to pull up images of swimmers, basketball players and martial artists that express foreshortening and non-foreshortened postures to discuss the differences in perspective, point-of-view and distance.

Examples of foreshortening: a girl doing a karate kick up high, another stepping onto the viewer, and a boy playing violin
Examples of foreshortening

Goals – Students should…

Understand:

  • What foreshortening is, and why an artist might employ it in an artwork

Know:

  • How to express foreshortening
  • Other ways of emphasizing certain aspects of an artwork and creating a focal point

Be able to:

  • Complete one self-portrait using foreshortening, as well as thoughtful use of positive/negative space and accurate expression of light and shadow

Objectives – Students will:

  • Use vocabulary (foreshortening, emphasis, negative/positive space, background, foreground, warm/cool color, composition, geometric and organic—these latter two to denote shape) to describe Bayoc’s paintings and their own work
  • Demonstrate an understanding of ways to employ foreshortening in a self-portrait
  • Use mixed media to express light and shadow (basic three-dimensional effects) in their self-portrait
  • Express their personal aesthetic style through a self-portrait
  • Express their thinking and choice-making as they work
  • Finish one self-portrait that includes use of foreshortening, thoughtful use of positive/negative space, and accurate representation of light and shadow

Resources and materials – (Though not exactly a mixed media piece, I invite students to use any and all media below as they wish)

  • Exemplars of Cbabi Bayoc’s paintings, especially those emphasizing foreshortening
  • Tagboard or Bristol paper (or any heavyweight paper) in large format (12” x 18” is a good size)
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Colored Pencils
  • Oil pastels
  • Chalk pastels
  • Paper towels (for blending)
  • Watercolor paint
  • Brushes
  • Cups

Questions –

•Topic questions (while observing Bayoc’s work):

  • What do you notice first?
  • What do you think the focal point of this painting is? Why?
  • What do you notice about the size ratio between foreground and background objects?
  • What kinds of colors are used here?
  • Do the shapes used feel more organic or geometric to you? Explain.
  • In what other ways does Bayoc draw our attention to the focal point?
  • Does this painting seem realistic? Why or why not?
  • How is light and shadow expressed? Describe.
  • How does this painting make you feel? Describe.
  • How does Bayoc use the space on the canvas?

•Association questions:

  • Why might an artist employ foreshortening?
  • In what other ways can you emphasize a focal point in a painting?

•Visualization questions:

  • What kinds of images or scenes can you imagine having a foreshortening element? Describe.
  • What are some perspectives in which you would not be able to express foreshortening?
  • What strategies might you use to create a focal point?
  • What strategies might you use to express light and shadow?

•Transition questions (observing completed work by other students):

  • What do you think the focal point is here?
  • What did the student do well? What might you suggest they could do to enhance their work?

Evaluation – Did students:

  • Properly express foreshortening (including correct use of perspective)?
  • Create a visible focal point?
  • Express realistic light and shadow?
  • Create a visually interesting composition?

Informal:

  • Group discussion
  • Oral responses to questions
  • Classroom observation

The following are student examples. I apologize for some of the shadows on these photos; we did this unit during the Covid pandemic, so students were at home, and responsible for sending me photos of their work, hence some of the shadows. What I enjoy so much about these pieces is how different they all are, from subject, to media to approach. It was such fun guiding the students through this unit and seeing the resulting artwork.

First, we have work-in-progress:

7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork: girl tying her shoe.
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork: man holding out a fish.
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork: girl with hair flying all around her, tear in her eye, holding out her hand
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork

7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork: boy holding a pencil in his foreshortened hand
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork: a female superhero generating lightning
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork: Spiderman in black swinging above a city
7th grade in-progress student foreshortening artwork

Next, these are completed artworks:

7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a girl holding out an instant camera
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a boy holding out a tablet
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: girl demonstrating a karate punch
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: boy doing a karate kick in front of a red sun
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a girl stomping on the viewer below her with her boot, while flashing the peace sign with both hands
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a boy playing darts, pointing a dart toward the viewer
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a girl swimming in a pool, viewed from under the water
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a girl holding out a red dahlia
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a girl frying an egg
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a girl cupping butterflies in her hands, while butterflies and rainbows surround her
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Student Artwork: a girl lying on her stomach reading a book
7th Grade Completed Foreshortening Art Lesson
7th Grade – Fashion Design

7th Grade – Fashion Design

Description of the Unit – Students will create their own fashion line, featuring at least three different looks that share a unifying theme, be it color, pattern, line or particular article of clothing or accessory.

Photo of a catwalk for men's fashion
Students will attempt to create a fashion line of at least three pieces unified by a theme of some kind
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7th Grade – Movement, Repetition and Balance with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

7th Grade – Movement, Repetition and Balance with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

Description of the Unit – Emphasizing movement, balance and repetition with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

This unit revisits a second-grade unit which also focused on the Hourloupe to practice line and pattern; here we go further to practice the above-mentioned principles of design.

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7th Grade – Colored Pencil Techniques and Still Life

7th Grade – Colored Pencil Techniques and Still Life

Description of the Unit –

Students will learn and practice essential colored pencil techniques involving mark-making and shading to create a still life.

Activity statement –

Coloring with colored pencils can be a deeply rich and satisfying experience. Something about the feel of the medium as it is spread across paper, and then combined with other colors to slowly come to life, can be both thrilling and meditative. Given some basic techniques students can achieve highly rewarding results.

7th grade colored pencil still life in progress of persimmons in a bowl on a table
7th grade colored pencil still life in progress
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7th Grade – The Art of Assemblage with Louise Nevelson

7th Grade – The Art of Assemblage with Louise Nevelson

Description of the Unit –  

Students will explore the monochromatic, rhythmic and balanced found-art assemblages of Louise Nevelson, and create their own assemblages both individually and in small groups.

Continue reading “7th Grade – The Art of Assemblage with Louise Nevelson”
7th Grade – Mark-making and Pen Drawing

7th Grade – Mark-making and Pen Drawing

Description of the Unit –

Students will first practice a variety of line drawing, or mark-making, techniques, and then use those techniques to render a landscape or still life in pen.

Activity statement –

Using photographs as a starting point, the objective of this lesson was for students to express changes in perspective, texture and value (light and dark) in a realistic drawing using a variety of lines, such as stippling, hatching, and cross-hatching, as well as varying the lines’ density. In this way they can transform a pen drawing into a realistic representation of a scene in nature. To help in this objective, students first created a mark-making chart expressing different types of lines, and discussed how the different types of lines could be used to represent texture, perspective and value.

7th grade – mark-making chart
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7th grade – Silhouette Collage

7th grade – Silhouette Collage

Description of the Unit –

Students will carefully choose imagery that symbolizes or represents aspects of themselves to arrange in collage form within a silhouette of their own profile.

7th grade silhouette collage

Activity statement –

If images and symbols from the everyday world could be used to represent who you are, what images and symbols would you choose? Students will explore this idea, in the process discussing the ways in which we sometimes consciously and unconsciously choose to align ourselves with certain images and symbols through the clothes we wear, the way we might decorate our rooms, how we select products to consume, etc.

This unit was one my students already explored in second grade, when I first introduce them to the concept of symbolism. https://anitasagastegui.com/2020/04/29/2nd-grade-symbolism-through-a-personal-collage/. I like to re-introduce this unit in seventh grade now that they are adolescents and perhaps would choose completely different kinds of images to represent them in their collage. If possible, I like to have them compare their two collages, so I try to keep the second grade pieces to share with them in seventh grade. Students will carefully look through and choose images and symbols that in some way represent them. They will then consider size and placement of these images in order to create a compelling composition within a real-life silhouette of their profiles, making sure to leave no empty spaces between images. They will share and discuss their choices with the rest of the class.

7th grade silhouette collage

Goals –

Students should…

Understand:

  • The concept of symbolism
  • Ways in which to use imagery to communicate aspects of one’s self
  • How the arrangement of the images affects composition and focal point

Know:

  • The terms: symbolism, composition, focal point

Be able to:

  • Articulate their choices to their peers
7th grade silhouette collage

Objectives –

Students will:

  • Create a collage with images of personal importance
  • Make deliberate choices about the arrangement of these images within the collage
  • Describe their choices and process to their peers
7th grade silhouette collage

Resources and materials –

  • Exemplars of previous silhouette collages demonstrating strong and weak compositions
  • As many, and varied sources for collage material including books and magazines for students to select images and text from
  • White Bristol paper, about 14 x 26
  • Black Bristol paper, also about 14 x 26
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • A lamp that can be used to project a student’s silhouette (as a shadow) onto a blank wall that a classmate can then trace onto the white Bristol paper
  • Tape to affix the white paper to a wall while a classmate traces one’s silhouette
7th grade silhouette collage

Questions –

  • What is a symbol?
  • What does it mean for one thing to symbolize another?
  • What kinds of images would you choose to represent you? Why?
  • What is the focal point of your collage?
  • How will you arrange the remaining images around the focal point?
  • Tell us about the choices you made in selecting these images.
  • Tell us about why you decided to arrange these images this way.

Evaluation –

Did students:

Understand how to choose appropriate symbols to represent themselves?

Did students use their understanding of composition and focal point to create a compelling arrangement of images?

Did students clearly articulate their choices?

Informal:

  • Group discussions
  • Oral and written responses to essential questions
  • Peer collaboration
7th grade silhouette collage
7th grade silhouette collage