Friday, October 13, 2017

Ton Schulten Landscapes in Acrylic

We looked at the stunning work of Dutch painter Ton Schulten. We noted how he used horizontal and vertical lines to break up his landscapes into squares of color. Schulten paints his landscapes using tints, tones and shades of colors, starting darker at the outer edge and moving into a vibrant tunnel of light at the center. The kids were tasked with the difficult job of approaching each square with careful color choices, so as to achieve similar results. This required color mixing, and thinking of a balanced placement of color. This was a tough project, but I'd say we had success!
These were done by 6-11 year olds.

Paul Klee Cat and Bird in Oil Pastel

These adorable Paul Klee cats were done by kids aged 4-11. We were inspired by Klee's painting 'Cat with Bird' and noted Klee's bright colors, simple interconnected lines, and simplified bird. 

1. We drew our birds on large cardboard, since Klee himself loved to paint on cardboard and other non-traditional grounds. I drew the cat on the whiteboard and 'thought out loud' as I drew, describing the shapes and lines as I went. The kids followed along step by step using black oil pastel. 
2. We then used creamy oil pastels to color our cats in vibrant warm colors with a touch of green for that complementary color scheme. Klee never painted without a color scheme in mind.
3. The best part: we went over all our colors with baby oil and a brush to make them even creamier, bolder and more painterly. It's amazing what baby oil can do to oil pastel! Look at those bold black lines!

Paul Klee Abstracted Landscapes with Color Scheme

I LOVE the German-Swiss painter and Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee. His has such a broad body of work, with more than 9000 works to his name. Most of his work is small format watercolors. He loved this beautiful medium and explored it at great length. Klee was first and foremost a colorist, and analyzed this component of art to near esoteric levels.

This landscape project is one of many I did with my students based on Paul Klee. 

1. We looked at Klee's use of line, his curvy hills fractured into sections, and the use of symbols in his work, and considered how he simplified his drawings, such as trees and houses. 
2. Drawing on small format watercolor paper (A5 size) with pencil, we began with a foreground wavy line, and a middle ground wavy line. We left room for the sky and a moon/sun, since we see this is much of Klee's work. 
3. We added our choice of Klee-esque symbols and reduced imagery. 
4. We traced our lined in permanent marker. 
5. We looked at a color wheel and chose a split complementary color scheme, plus black and white. We pained our landscape, mindful of moving our colors around for good balance, and mixed our cool with black and white to achieve this darker, more neutral values. 
These are so beautiful and undeniably Klee.

These were done by kids 6-11

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Keith Haring Figures in Motion

Keith Haring (1958-1990) was a New York street artist and social activist who began his career doing graffiti on the NY streets and subways. He quickly found his personal style and became known for his happy, dancing figures. His art often tells important, serious social messages, while still appearing happy, bright and energetic. He died of AIDS at only 32. Today we spent the first half of class thinking about proportions of the human body. Legs and arms are always twice as long as we think! Then we worked on putting these bodies into active positions. Our goal was to create a composition with 2-4 proportional figures in motion (+ or - the Haring barking dog) who share a common scene (dance party, crime scene, etc). Motion lines were added to indicate movement and feeling. 
These were drawn on marker paper in pencil and outlined in permanent marker, and then colored in marker.

These kinda make me want to dance!

7-13 year olds
6-7 year olds
7-9 year olds