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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Endless Landscape: City in the Night


Second and third grade artists followed up our short study of Henri Matisse, with a lesson in Transformation and collage. Our challenge was to transform geometric shapes ( rectangles, squares and trapezoids) into houses and buildings using the methods of drawing with scissors, that Matisse did. What that meant was we had to construct our houses just by cutting and pasting, not drawing them out first.   Our word of the day was TRANSFORMATION and I shared how artists are always transforming things that is what we do whether it be raw clay into a mug,  yarn into a weaving or paper and pencil into a drawing of something.

The results are charming and engaging. They are currently on view throughout the halls of the school. Because every collage shared the same two attributes of the same GROUND LINE and BACKGROUND, the pieces all work together to form an endless landscape.  The combinations of what pieces could go next to each other truly are endless. 

In the third grades I did share the math problem with the kids, showing how one would figure out how many possible combinations could be created by 3 cityscapes, then 4, then 5, etc. By the time we got to 13 different cityscapes the combination had increased exponentially
  and I frankly could not even say it.  The formula to figure out combos for 3 images is;  1 x 2 x 3 which equals 6.  For 4 images it is 1 x 2  x 3 x 4 which equals 24 and it goes from there. I got the concept of these endless landscapes from a small set of 24 cards that all had the same horizon line and were called a MYRIORAMA. Apparently, myriorama cards a were popular  curiousity in the 19th.  I hope to have photos of the endless cityscapes here by next week.  They are colorful and each very unique and reflective of their creators.

Sunday, January 10, 2016





I thought it would be nice to start the new year by learning about an artist who just had a birthday.  His name was Henri Matisse and he was born Dec. 31, 1869 in France; he would have been 149 years old this week if he were alive today.
I  read the book, Henri's Scissors on the big screen and we will learn how he liked to “ draw with scissors”, he loved colors and wanted his work to feel balanced and comfortable.
We reviewed what complementary colors are- colors that are opposite on the color wheel- and then did some fun eye exercises. I honestly don't understand the mechanics of it, but if you stare at a color, and then take it away your eye sees its complement. If you stare at a black square and take it away, you will see a white aura. This is something I encouraged kids to explore in greater depth. 
The science of color theory is rich and fascinating and this is just one small experiment they can try. 
We then practiced making our own, mini- balanced collages using complementary colors.

Next week we will explore the concept of
TRANSFORMATION in art, using simple collaged shapes that we will transform and make meaning with.