Exploring Charcoal: Paper Bags

A few weeks ago the teen class drew paper lunch bags using charcoal to practice value. We really wanted them to be able to look at their bags, find where the darkest areas and lightest areas were and use charcoal to express these values.

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Many of the students had never used charcoal before and we were so impressed with how well they did! They were a little uneasy at first but quickly gained confidence in their drawing and they all turned out so well. Proud of our teen artists!

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Value Paintings and Polar Bears

We had fun creating winter value landscape paintings and drawing polar bears in the Tuesday Elementary Class this week.

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In the process, we learned about value. Value creates depth in a picture making the object look 3 D.   We looked at photos of the moon at night and saw how the circle around the moon is lighter and how the sky gets darker as you move away. We then created value circles around the moons on our project moving from pure white to dark, dark blue.

We also learned about horizon lines, foreground and backgrounds while we had fun painting our backgrounds.

We then very patently drew polar bears, cut them out, glued them on and added a few trees as we talked about shadow and perspective.  For the last step, we added snow to finish off our pieces.

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I am so impressed by their work.

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Observational Value Drawings

It was so nice to be back in class this week and working with the Teens on creating Observational Value Drawings.

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We practiced observational still life drawing – drawing from real life set ups using measuring techniques. I started by letting the students pick the objects they wanted to draw and setting up their own still life’s.  The only requirement was that half of the object be in the light and half in the shadow.

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Working on tinted paper, we used charcoal and followed these steps to create a value drawing:

  1. Use tinted paper and draw big rough shapes.   Check accuracy with:
    1. Negative Space
    2. Horizontal Lines
    3. Symmetry
    4. Diagonals
    5. Verticals
  2. Lightly apply vine charcoal to entire drawing – holding the vine charcoal on its side color over entire drawing.
  3. Create a 2-value drawing – squint and erase all large light areas.
  4. Squint and color in darkest darks.
  5. Adjust middle values drawing into image using your kneaded eraser. Readjust the lights and darks as you work on the middle values.
  6. Pick your focal point and emphasize with higher contrast, sharper edges and more detail.
  7. Lastly apply the highlights, (lightest lights) with white Conte crayon. Note that highlights will follow the form of the object.

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It was the first time that many of the students had drawn from “real life” and worked with charcoal. They did a great job! Here is a look at their work.

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Animal Value Drawings

The Elementary Art Students really impressed me with their Animal Value Drawings this week. For some students, it was the first time they had ever drawn.

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We started by talking about value and looking at the different kinds of light on a round object. We quickly practiced drawing a round object to make it look dimensional.

I then passed out black and white photos of animals and some vine charcoal. Some students brought in their own photos. The students started by lightly drawing an outline of the animal’s basic shapes.

We then toned the entire animal medium gray with vine charcoal.

After that, we squinted at the photos to see the dark and light areas. We added the dark areas focusing on the shapes of the areas and not the lines.

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We then talked about where the light was coming from and we erased the lighter areas.

Finally, we sparingly added white highlights.

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We had a lot of fun and created some great art work:

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Value Portraits with Tessellations

The Wednesday Elementary Art Class completed value portraits with tessellations. This project was inspired by the current exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum which features artist Kehinde Wiley.

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Kehinde Wiley is one of the leading American artists to emerge in the last decade and he has been ingeniously reworking the grand portraiture traditions of Western culture.

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Since ancient times the portrait has been tied to the representation of power, and in European courts and churches, artists and their patrons developed a complex repository of postures and poses and refined a symbolic language. This language, woven into all aspects of a portrait, described the sitter’s influence and power, virtue and character, or profession.

In his consideration of portrait traditions, Wiley has been especially drawn to the grand aristocratic portraits of the 18th century.

The artist began his first series of portraits in the early 2000s during a residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem. He set out to photograph and recast assertive and self-empowered young men from the neighborhood in the style and manner of traditional history painting. Since then he has also painted rap and sports stars but for the most part his attention has focused on ordinary men of color in their everyday clothes. Trained at Yale in the 1990s, Wiley was steeped in the discussions concerning identity politics during this decade and he brings his personal insights and theoretical studies to his practice.

Wiley’s portraits are highly stylized and staged, and draw attention to the dialectic between a history of aristocratic representation and the portrait as a statement of power and the individual’s sense of empowerment. Source

Tessellations

We created our backgrounds out of tessellations – covering a surface with a single repeating pattern without gaps or overlaps. In tessellation designs, congruent polygons fit together like jigsaw puzzle pieces that repeat again and again.

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We talked about Escher who is the ‘Father’ of modern tessellations.During his life, he became obsessed with filling surfaces with pictures that did not overlap or leave spaces. Aged 68, he stated, “Filling two-dimensional planes has become a real mania to which I have become addicted and from which I sometimes find it hard to tear myself away.”

In 1925 he produced what was really his first tessellation. It was a block print of ‘lions’ in which the subject interlocked and covered the plane! He block printed it on silk in gold and silver. He was disappointed that people were not impressed.

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Escher died in a home for old artists on 27th March, 1972. He had produced 448 woodcuts, linocuts and lithos and over 2000 drawings. Source

This is how we made our tessellations pattern:

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Value Faces

For the faces, we talked about value and used what we had previously learned to paint a value face. I helped them in this process by using the Cut Out filter in Photoshop.

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They stayed with one color, which was the opposite in temperature to the background, to paint value faces. This project was a little challenging for this age group but they worked really hard on their faces and hopefully learned something too.

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Don’t miss the Kehinde Wiley exhibit at the SAM! It is well worth a drive downtown.

Can’t wait to see you-all again!

Jamie

 

 

 

Elementary Art Class – Mixed Media Winter Scenes

It may be raining outside, but it has been snowing in The Studio.

Winter Scenes

After working so hard on the Sunflower Paintings, I wanted to start the year with a fun project that introduced some new art concepts. Last week, the elementary art students finished their mixed media winter scenes.

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The students enjoyed the creativity involved with the project and, as always, I took every opportunity to introduce art concepts. So while the pieces of work look like a winter, glittery scene we also learned the following:

Value: We talked about value and shading. Value is the amount of light reflected from the surface. Value creates depth in a picture making the object look 3 D.   We looked at photos of the moon at night and saw how the circle around the moon is lighter and how the sky gets darker as you move away. We then created value circles around the moons on our project.

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Color: We also talked about the way different colors convey different emotions and feelings. Cool colors (blues and greens) can make you feel calm, tranquil or at peace. Reds and yellows can invoke feelings of happiness, excitement and optimism. A sudden spot of bright color can provide a strong focal point.  We looked at some examples of color photos and the mood created.

Silhouette, Shadows and Perspective: We also talked about how a silhouette is the dark shape of someone or something visible against a lighter background. Cast Shadow is the shadow made by an object. The moon will cause a cast shadow of the trees on the ground. We can predict where the cast shadow will fall based on the positioning of the moon. We used the position of the light source (here the moon) to position highlights and shadows more accurately.

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Mixed Media: Lastly we let our creativity flow by adding ourselves and some glitter to the images.

 

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Hope these brightened up your homes.

See you next week!

Torn Paper Portraits – Teens Class

In our teen class this week, we assembled our ceramics projects. Sorry images of these are under wraps until after Christmas.

Now that the big ceramic project is done, we returned to our Torn Paper Portraits.  This project is an exercise to learn value. Value is the amount of light reflected from the surface. Value creates depth in a picture making the object look 3 D.

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A picture was taken of each student and it was abstracted in Photoshop using the cutout filter. This filter breaks the image down into specific values. The student mixed black and white acrylic paint to create similar values on pieces of paper.

The photo was attached to foam board. The students are in the process of tearing value-toned paper into small pieces and gluing the pieces directly onto the photo.

Here are two of the finished pieces:

The students will be bringing these home as they finish them.

Wednesday Night Teen Class – Value

This week we learned about value in the Teen Class as we began working on Torn Paper Portraits and got a brief taste of using acrylic paint.

Value: Value is the amount of light reflected from the surface. Value creates depth in a picture making the object look 3 D.  We started by painting the classic sphere in our sketch books and labeling the values as follows:

Highlight: Brightest spot where the direct light hits the object.

Light: As the surface curves it gets less light and thus becomes darker.

Shadow: The side away from the light source that does not receive any direct light. It is not completely black because it does receive light from the surroundings.

Reflected light: The light that bounces off the surface the object is sitting on.

Cast Shadow: Darkest dark that gets lighter as it moves away from the object.

Portraits:

A picture was taken of each student and it was abstracted in Photoshop using the cutout filter. This filter breaks the image down into specific values. The student mixed black and white acrylic paint to create similar values on pieces of paper.

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The photo was attached to foam board. The students are in the process of tearing value-toned paper into small pieces and gluing the pieces directly onto the photo. We will finish by adding some multi-media collaging to personalize the portraits.

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Thank you for sharing your student with me.