Wednesday, November 3, 2010

4th grade still life paintings a la Matisse


Yes, the 4th grade paintings are FINALLY getting done! I've previously posted how we drew from a still life setup, using viewfinders, squinting like pirates.
Then we began to paint. The paintings are big - 18"x24" paper with an interior frame to make them easier to handle (in other words, a border of about an inch was kept white). Students were instructed to paint big areas first, including negative space, and then the patterns would be added later.
Students were responsible for mixing their own colors. I set out a tray of some basics: red, yellow, blue, and white (of course), and I also included in the tray some bottled green and orange just for more choices. Each color had a pop stick in it. Each student got his own little "palette" (actually a microwave dinner dish). We talked about the color wheel, and that we didn't want to mix mud puddle or swamp water, as they weren't "Matisse-like" colors. We reviewed how colors close to each other on the color were good mixes, and why you might use a color across the wheel. For example, the green wasn't used "straight" - they might change it by mixing with yellow, or blue, or white, or maybe with a dab of red for an olive or darker green, since there was NO BLACK.
The students were finally allowed to use black for outlining if they wanted, when all other painting was done. Most did, and some didn't.
I explained that the still life offered a starting point for colors and patterns, but that they were free to make their own decisions as to what worked best for their art. They got so into color mixing that I thought these paintings would NEVER be done. I did offer some "premixed" colors to a few students who were stuggling to make progress.
Some paintings are decidedly more abstract than others.

As for cleanup: with lots of dirty brushes, and lots of dirty palettes, how do we do it? At the beginning of each class, certain students were designated as brush washers and palette washers. The other kids all put paintings in the drying rack, washed tables, dumped water bowls, covered paints, etc. Of course some days went better than others!

16 comments:

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE these! They are so vibrant and full of life! I really like that they did these on 18x24 paper- how were you able to fit those on your tables? I'm going to have to do some measuring tomorrow as I HAVE to do this project! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  2. These are really fabulous! I want some to hang on my walls.

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  3. These are absolutely stunning! If I were a parent I'd frame any one of them!!

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  4. I've been waiting to see these Phyl. They are FANTASTIC!I love the fact that they could choose their own composition and that they were encouraged to mix their own colors. They are all so completely unique. I am inspired!

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  5. As for fitting them on tables - a lot of the drawing was done on the floor, but I wouldn't let them paint down there. So the key was, of course cooperation. Turning papers sideways when needed and somehow we all fit. I have a thing for big paintings - I think it loosens everyone up. The first painting at the top of a post was by a boy, who could barely contain himself - "This is the BEST painting I EVER did!!!" I have to agree :-)

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  6. As for framing - we have a permanent student "gallery" in a barren school hallway. I've worked out a deal with the PTSA, and they donate some $$ toward the cost of framing art for the halls each year. I have a framer who donates me some scrap mat board and old frames, so that helps, and last year I was able to add I think 7 pieces to the wall. The big ones are obviously the most costly to frame, but I plan to save one of these and probably one of the 2nd grade fishbowls as well. If you have an opinion as to which one I should pick, please weigh in! My only rules are that the same kid doesn't get chosen more than once, and that if I have a tough choice to make, I pick the art of the kid who never gets chosen for anything. I'll have to post a photo of the "gallery".

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  7. Your Matisse series that you are doing with several grades is wonderful! They are coming up with such joyful paintings.

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  8. I love so many of your lessons, but this one is my absolute favorite. I really think that some of these paintings could be sold for lots of money. I mean, who wouldn't want one of those beauties on their wall? Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Phyl - Choosing just 2 would be REALLY hard for me!!!!! Would it be cheating to take a big photo of all kids holding their art and frame that??

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  10. WOW!!!!! I am with Patty you could sell these! Bravo Just love them!

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  11. Wonderful! What brand of paints are you using? So vibrant!

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  12. Thanks, everyone. So glad you like them. Next week when the rest are done I'll post a few more and you can see the good and the not-so-good.
    Bellarella, the tempera paint we've used is Sax Versatemp, available from School Specialty.

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  13. These fish bowls are so lovely. I truly think Kids make the most true, real, exciting Art!

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  14. These are SOO gorgeous!! I found your blog via Marymaking and I'm literally swooning. Wonderful work.

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  15. Outstanding work from the students...wish you had been my art teacher Phyl :-)

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