Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Elements of Art: Space 4/5

Posted on: October 27, 2009

Creative Reuse Lesson Plan   Week  7   Grade   4/5

1st Trimester Whitman ES 2009-2010  written by Keri Piehl for SCRAP

Elements of Art: Space

Cost per student: $ .15

Materials: watercolor paints (1 set per pair of students), brushes, water cups, water, newspapers to keep table clean, white paper, oval stencils (I made 24 sets with a 4” oval and a 6” oval out of old hanging folders), pencils

Students will be able to recognize the use of space in a work of art, and create a piece of art work focused on space as an attribute.

Vocabulary: space, positive, negative, depth, dimension

1. Discuss the concept of dimensions with the class. Mention the abbreviations 2-D and 3-D; many kids will have seen a 3-D movie as many have been released lately.

Show artworks that demonstrate a 2-D perspective; many aboriginal works are good examples of this, vs. artwork that uses depth to indicate a 3-D space (realistic oil landscapes, for example).

2. Present the class with a copy of the painting Cakes by Wayne Thiebaud .  Point out how he uses depth to show the rows of cake, and also how he uses positive space to show off the cakes, and the negative space is the pale background. Hand out paper, newspaper, and a 4” and 6” oval to all students. Have them use their pencils to trace two 6” ovals, shifted about 1 cm apart, as the plate near the bottom of the page. Demonstrate how to then trace the two 4” ovals, one sitting on the “plate” and one floating about 4 inches above it, to make the cake. Connect the sides with straight lines, as in classic perspective drawing. Erase any lines that interrupt the continuity of the cake illusion. Discuss how students might add detail to the cakes by lightly penciling in frosting, garnishes, etc.

3. Create negative space by drawing a horizon line in the background to delineate the “counter” from the “wall”. Explain how using color to accentuate the different spaces might highlight the illusion of space in their artwork.

4. Have students watercolor their pencil drawings of cake. Reiterate the use of the brush to make pushing and puling motions but not a grinding motion, so you preserve the bristles. Also mention that wetting the paint and brush extensively will make for a sloppy outcome; some kids need reminders that wetter isn’t always better.

5. Display in the cafeteria, of course! I might approach a diner or bakery to see if they might be interested in displaying some of the cake pictures, as a natural extension of this project.

Reflections and feedback: The Cakes painting is widely available for viewing on the internet, just print off a copy, but it’s apparently a pretty well known artwork and a quick search of library books turned up some good reproductions. My non-artist roots are showing.

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