Tag: visual arts

5th Grade – Dot Painting inspired by Australian Aborigines

5th Grade – Dot Painting inspired by Australian Aborigines

Description of the Unit – Students will observe and discuss examples of aboriginal dot painting, from very early examples to the art produced by the culture in present day. Students will use what they learned about color, pattern and symbol in their observations to create their own dot paintings, expressing scenes from nature. 

5th grade student dot painting of a shark.
5th grade student dot painting
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8th Grade – Wayang Kulit Puppets

8th Grade – Wayang Kulit Puppets

Description of the Unit – Students explore the fascinating shadow puppet art form from Indonesia known as Wayang Kulit. Students then create their own shadow puppets, taking particular care to carve patterns on the puppets’ costumes using negative space.

A photographic example of Wayang Kulit, the fascinating shadow puppet theater of Indonesia
Wayang Kulit, the fascinating shadow puppet theater of Indonesia
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3rd Grade – Mexican Amate Paintings

3rd Grade – Mexican Amate Paintings

Description of the Unit – Students will explore the fascinating Mexican folk art known as Amate bark painting. Using their observations of the art form, students will crumple brown kraft paper (a part of this project they love) to give it a bark-like texture, and paint their own painting onto it in the same bold and bright colors as used by Mexican artisans of Amate.

A Mexican artisan working on an Amate painting, depicting traditional subjects, such as birds and flowers, in vibrant colors on Amate bark paper.
Amate: Mexican Bark Painting
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4th Grade – The Mola of Panama

4th Grade – The Mola of Panama

Description of the Unit – The Mola, a traditional cloth worn by the Kuna (from the tiny San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama), are quite brightly colored, in contrasting patterns of various shapes, and in the center depicting what is typically an animal, plant or person of special interest to the Kuna. Students will explore the tradition of Molas, noting the use of contrasting colors, abstract patterns as well as noting the contrasting organic shapes of the main subject to the mostly geometric shapes of the background patterns. Students will use their understanding of these elements to create their own interpretation of the Mola in colored construction paper.

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5th Grade –  Nighttime one-point perspective

5th Grade – Nighttime one-point perspective

Description of the Unit –

Students create a basic nighttime one-point perspective drawing that includes a vanishing point and a horizon line.

5th grade 1-point perspective drawing

Problem/Activity statement –

As objects recede in space, they become smaller to our eye, and eventually meet at a point. A horizon line meets at a vanishing point to separate sky and ground. Students will observe different examples of cities one-point perspective to begin to get a sense for how we perceive things up close and at a distance, as well as to learn to identify whether the perspective is high (“bird’s eye view”) at eye-level, or low (Cat’s eye view”). Additionally, students are challenged with expressing the qualities of color and light at night.

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4th Grade – Japanese Notan Designs

4th Grade – Japanese Notan Designs

Description of the Unit –

In this unit students will explore the relationship between positive and negative space via the elaboration of a Notan design using both geometric and organic shapes.

4th grade Japanese Notan Designs

Activity statement –

Notan is a design concept of Japanese origin that plays with the relationship (what I like to call “the dance”*) between dark and light, or rather positive and negative space, and how the existence of one naturally engenders the other. Using both organic and geometric shapes cut out of a rectangle and then flipped over, students will experiment with the way shapes contribute to a dynamic relationship between positive and negative space. This unit also satisfies requirements within the California Visual Arts Standards for fourth grade, including 1.2 under Artistic Perception, “describe how negative shapes/forms and positive shapes/forms are used in a chosen work of art”; and 2.6 under Creative Expression “use the interaction between positive and negative space expressively in a work of art.”

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2nd Grade – Emphasizing Line and Pattern with Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

2nd Grade – Emphasizing Line and Pattern with Dubuffet’s Hourloupe

Description of the Unit – Emphasizing line and pattern with Jean Dubuffet’s Hourloupe style

According to one of my favorite modern art history sites, the Art Story,Dubuffet’s L’Hourloupe series began in 1962 and would preoccupy the artist for many decades. The inspiration came from a doodle he created while on the telephone, in which the fluid movement of line combines with limited fields of color to create movement. He believed the style evoked the manner in which objects appear in the mind,” (https://www.theartstory.org/artist/dubuffet-jean/artworks/#pnt_5).

Jean Dubuffet, Banque des équivoques, 1964

Students love to learn about the origin of the Hourloupe series, being surprised at how much can be done with a seemingly simple doodle. They like the notion of trying to find hidden images within the doodle as well.

As students are shown ways to embellish a doodle with a variety of lines and patterns, we are given the opportunity to reinforce their understanding of repetition and pattern (having been introduced in kindergarten and practiced in 1st grade). To be able to identify and practice repetition and pattern is prescribed in most states’ standards for second grade visual arts.

2nd grade Jean Dubuffet-inspired design
2nd grade Jean Dubuffet-inspired design

As we observe Dubuffet’s Hourloupes, I call students’ attention to his minimal use of color, and have them comment on whether the colors are primary or secondary, and whether they are complementary. Later when making their own designs I have them also choose only a few colors, and have them think about whether they want the colors to be mostly warm or cool.

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