Monday, June 16, 2014

Abstract Faces with 3rd Grade

My trip to the National Art Education Association convention last spring really taught me a lot of things in terms of pedagogy but I also learned some awesome new lessons. One that I could not possibly wait to try with my kiddos was presented by Lisa Casey called Picasso Portraits. Her tag line for the presentation was "Avoiding the split profile to create abstract art that makes kids think". One of her focuses was getting away from the Picasso Cubism portraits of just using exaggeration and misplacement and really taking it to the next level of abstraction. I was a volunteer that went up to try to project and fell in love with it immediately! This project ended up being a perfect fit for my 3rd graders with the portrait theme for K-6.

I Can statement for this project: I Can turn an abstract drawing into a face.

Day 1: I begin by telling students that the start of our next project is going to be a game. Each person will start with a piece of paper and when I say "start", with a sharpie, you start drawing a line and when I say "stop" you stop and pass it. When I say "find a point" you find either the starting or end point of the previous line and the process continues (ONE continuous line is formed). The final instruction is that lines should be open and spread out, not close together and scribbly. I draw something like this to explain....

Once we pass a few times and I see how full papers are I have them stop and put caps on sharpies and talk we about Abstract Art. I decided not to get into Picasso and Cubism and just talk about abstract. I show examples of paintings, drawings, sculpture and how we usually don't see images in abstract art but sometimes we do. My favorite example is Kandinsky. I always see things in his works that i'm sure are not with his intentions. Finally I reveal what our abstract works are going to turn into and show them my example. FACES! They either get immediately excited or stressed and start searching. Before they can start drawing, we go over how to use the shapes for features. I draw this up on the board. 

The rest of the time is spent finding their faces and penciling in the features and tracing in sharpie after they have been okayed. A few students did struggle but it was great to see their peers helping them naturally on this! Woohoo! Leadership!

Day 2: Refresher on abstract! Then we talk about painting and planning. I had them all use a skin color and our reasoning on this is so that there isn't a disconnect about what we are looking at. We want it to be clear that its a face. Then I have them label lightly in pencil what color they will be painting each section. This really makes them put thought into having things "make sense" and keeps them from rushing into painting. They are allowed to paint over lines especially if in a skin section as long as they can still see the lines. Rest of the time is spent painting!

Day 3: If done painting, they trace all of their lines and details in black sharpie, cut it out, and glue to a color construction paper that compliments their paint choices. I open the construction paper cabinet and we experiment with what colors looks best with their paintings. Those who are still painting do as much sharpie work as they can and quickly finish the next class while others start on a new project.  

I was SO impressed with the work my 3rd graders did on these!
Check them out. Don't laugh too hard ;)

More posts from/about my adventures at NAEA convention here!

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