In Southern France after the Second World War, Picasso worked with artisans at a ceramics factory. Picasso instructed workers how to shape, form and paint creative pieces. The pieces were considered "factory art" and sold as souvenirs. Today these ceramic pieces are valued as 'Picasso art' because of the direct influence and involvement of the artist with the factory workers. These ceramics are now called "Edition Ceramics" instead of souvenirs. Some pieces of the Edition Ceramics are valued from two thousand, to over a hundred thousand dollars.
In art we all were like factory workers creating pinch pots with direct instruction. We made a pinch pot or bowl with designs.
We discussed and illustrated the process and journey the clay would travel in the next three weeks.
The clay will go from being formed, drying, fired in the kiln, glazed and fired in the kiln again.
Because our studies this quarter will focus on Picasso and his friends, we started making a book to contain the facts we believe are the most interesting facts about Picasso we'd like to remember and share once class is over.
Article about Picasso's factory ceramics.
Did you know the newly renovated National Gallery of Art has a room dedicated to Calder? It's on the third floor and right next to the blue rooster. You have seen the blue rooster right? It's a must for 2017 if you haven't yet made the journey.
Link to the awesome Calder mobile at the National Gallery of Art
you will not be able to miss this 920 pound sculpture as you enter the East Wing.
Learning from an artist is as easy as learning to see the colors and shapes of their art. However, learning to copy a work of art requires lots of skills like determining size, shape and placement.
It may also require to really notice details and it might mean making decisions about what to edit or leave out.
These are very important skills in thinking to develop as young artists.
While we might describe ourselves as "black, brown or white" the truth is much richer than these simple statements.
Our warm and cool skin tones require mixing a little blue or green along with an orange and yellow to produce the glow and depth of color that we find in our true skin coloration.
Students took the time and patience to blend, mix and smooth out at least four mixed colors. While we might not be able to exactly replicate the tone with a limited oil pastel set, students came up with skin colors that were much more interesting and truthful than the already mixed "peach" or "brown" found in the box.
The very early work of Piet Mondrian shows us his love of trees. The Woods with beech trees is a great example of how trees appear closer to us or farther away based on their size and placement on a flat surface. It's called diminishing perspective.
At the bottom of this article are two worksheets to help with practice of this lesson. One is for working on the computer and one for drawing on paper.
Our task was to understand and demonstrate how art can create the illusion of depth on a flat surface. In order to achieve this we need to understand:
The following worksheet is designed to do on the computer on Word. Just open the word document and click on a tree. Drag the corner handle to enlarge or decrease the size of a tree. Place the larger trees on the bottom lines. Make sure the trees get progressively smaller as they go up the lines on the page. This is a great way to get children to engage in visual thinking interactions on the computer.
The following worksheet is for printing out and drawing tree trunks to practice the principles of diminishing perspective. Simply print out the worksheet. look at the example, follow the directions and draw.
Work in Progress
I was so inspired by this lesson and my own walks in the woods during this beautiful fall of ours, that I decided to make a painting of my own. The children really inspire me with their choice of colors. I'm not yet finished with this painting but I'm having a lot of fun playing. Wolf Kahn used brightly imaginative colors to paint trees. If you haven't already seen his work, it's very uplifting and he is popular in the calendar world, in case you need to brighten up a wall in your home.
This is a really fun and invigorating lesson anyone can do no matter your age.
Radiating warmth, energy and vitality can't be wrong and so to honor the colors of fall we venture on a journey of discovery with color mixing.
We created either a sun or a marigold flower shape using the same simple steps:
Interesting color facts:
Download the three files at the bottom of this blog to help your child learn to draw.
I remember my father teaching me to draw. He made one line and I copied it, then he made another and I copied it. I didn't see how these lines were going to become anything until they came together and the face of Fred Flintstone appeared, it was magical.
Drawing remains with me one of the most rewarding things in my life so I love helping children learn this skill.
Sketchbooks are for making mistakes
The sketchbook is for thinking with our markers as we draw. We use markers so we don't spend our time erasing in class. A sketch is a quick practice drawing. It helps to see what to do by looking at what what isn't being done.
If we are trying to make a large circle, as big as our hand, and we draw a small one, we draw over the small shape to make the one we really want: the bigger circle. We use the mistake as a gauge to help us do it correctly. It's easier not to repeat the same mistake if we look at the mistake as a guide and helper. Mistakes are not "wrong" nor are we wrong for trying to learn a new skill.
This is not easy for children. We all want to do it right the first time and we feel we should be able to do it well right away. Everyone feels this way, even adults. These are our personal feelings getting in the way again of our abilities to stay open to learning. Learning to like ourselves for not being perfect and accepting our mistakes as opportunities is big work.
Ways to help your child learn to draw:
The files below are examples I have used in class and you can use at home with your children.
Jean Frank Stark
Jean Stark teaches to young artists of all ages.