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The following instructable will walk you through an art project you can do with your students to help them learn or reaffirm a variety of visual art related theories and techniques. The instructable will walk you through the project itself; for information on how to present the lesson view the lesson plan file attached.
• Learn about abstract art, the differences between abstract and representational art, terms such as geometric and organic shapes, and a selection of art history on the artist Kandinsky.
• Learn and apply a variety of watercolor painting techniques.
• Apply their knowledge of colour to a new independent assignment while learning about abstract art.
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Step 1: What You Will Need...
- Paint brushes
- Watercolor paints
- Containers for painting water
- Paper towel
- Newsprint to cover tables
- Blank paper
- Saran wrap
- Black yarn
- White glue
- Glue sticks
- Lesson plan
- Power point file on Kandinsky
- Assignment handout
Step 2: Paint the 5 Techniques
Start by setting up your work area with everything you will need including paint, containers with water, a paintbrush, paper towel, and newsprint to keep your work area clean.
Once you are all set up and ready to paint get 5 pieces of paper (I use 8.5x11 paper cut in half width wise), each piece of paper is to be painted in one of the colour schemes as follows (view lesson plan for instructions on teaching each technique and what each color term means):
a) Monochromatic scheme in a graduated wash
b) Analogous scheme in wet on wet technique
c) Warm colours using dry brush cross hatching
d) Cool colours using saran wrap technique
e) And two complementary colours in a linear pattern
You should have one piece of paper for each theme.
(For younger grades you may simplify by having students paint each of the 5 papers however they like to simply get across the concept of abstract art)
Step 3: Prepare Your Techniques
When all your techniques are done and dry, get a large sheet of paper to create your composition (12x18 or so).
Tear the edges off each technique sheet and tear each of your painted papers into three abstract organic shapes that have torn edges on all sides.
Step 4: Glue Down Your Techniques
Place all 15 pieces of torn paper on your larger sheet and move them around to decide where you would like to glue them down.
Once you are happy with your selection of pieces glue them down, using a glue stick, on your large sheet of paper in a way that you think makes sense and looks pleasing (keep in mind the elements and principles of design such as balance).
Step 5: Add Elements of Line
Finally, once you have used up all of your painted pieces of paper and are happy with your overall composition, it is time to add elements of line.
Cut several piece of black yarn. These pieces are to be glued down on top of your painting in an abstract design. You are welcome to cut the yarn into pieces of varying length before you glue them down and you don’t have to use all of the pieces but they should fill your composition (again don’t forget to think about what makes a good design). The best way to approach gluing the yarn down is by using an old paint brush and white glue. The glue will dry clear so it will not take away from the painted pieces.
Make sure all your pieces of paper and yarn are firmly fixed to your piece of abstract art and allow it to dry fully.
Step 6: Reflect
When you are making your artwork think about what emotion or mood you are trying to convey, just like Kandinsky used his work to portray emotions.
When you artwork is complete write a one to two paragraph reflection on what abstract art is and how it makes you feel.
*Note for teachers: If you like, I've included the rubric I use to mark this assignment (Lesson and Rubric are based on the Ontario Curriculum).
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