Category Archives: Elements of Art

Simulated Texture & Unity Printmaking-Middle School

The high school students were working on printmaking projects and it seemed like a lot of middle school students were very impressed with the work they were doing.  We had enough materials for the middle school students to do a project, so I came up with a printmaking project that incorporated both simulated texture and unity.

I thought it would be interesting to try and teach students about diptychs and also incorporate an artist for the students to learn about.  After taking a look at a variety of modern printmaking artists, I found one artist who looked particularly interesting: Lisa Brawn.

For the project I introduced the concept of unity and the artist Lisa Brawn.  We refreshed our memories about texture.  During the unity powerpoint I included a variety of diptychs, and we talked about how you  need to use unity in order for diptychs to work.

The students were required to create a diptych using 2, 5×3 print blocks.  They needed to use one of the techniques discussed to create unity between the 2 blocks, and were required to also create a work in the style of Lisa Brawn.  To create a work in the style of Lisa Brawn they used the same visual techniques as her in their backgrounds-repeating patterns and textures around their main image(s).

Besides the requirements of the project, we talked about safety using the block cutters, and cleanliness while printing.  I emphasized using newspapers when they printed, because many of them would forget to put some down before beginning the printing process.  ASome other (minor) issues I ran into were reminding the students that the cutters should not be used to cut anything except for their blocks, making sure that they cut deep enough,being aware of the amount of ink they poured out for printing, and the amount of pressure they used when rubbing the block onto their final paper.

All in all the project was a success.  Most of the students  made gorgeous prints.  Several of the students (the usual suspects) did not do the best job, but I think that they understand the concepts pretty well.  There were 4 projects that stood out more then the others, and I was able to put them into a school art show at a local bakery.  I was very impressed with their work, and they were extremely pleased to not only be in the show, but to have their art included in the poster (I made it, what can I say?  I love my students!).

Simulated Texture-Middle School

While I was rummaging around the internet I found a lesson that seemed like it would be really fun.  We were about to start a unit on texture, so I was looking around for ideas and found this lesson.  I decided to give it a shot, because the finished projects looked really interesting.

After giving the students a presentation on what texture was, I showed them an example of the artwork.  I told them that they could use any medium they wanted to create 20 different types of simulated texture total for the circles.  After several students were finished I demonstrated how to put the pieces together and gave handouts with written and visual directions for assemblage.

This project was okay.  I don’t know that I would do it again.  While several of the end projects were really great, most of them were just so-so, and I feel like we could have done a more exciting project that demonstrated simulated texture.  In the end, the majority felt like there wasn’t a point to the project, and didn’t learn as much as I had hoped.  As a result we did another project that incorporated simulated texture that they could actually get behind.

Color and Value Self Portraits-Middle School

To wrap up the color unit I had the middle schoolers make self portraits.  We used pointillism, a technique used to create value, to create the self-portrait pictures.  The portraits they created of themselves were made using a monochromatic color scheme.  The mixed media portion of the self-portrait needed to contain a variety of elements (pictures, found objects, beads, etc) that represented the student.  All of the elements (unless the students asked for another method and there was no other way to attach the element) were sewn on using a needle and thread/yarn.

The sewing aspect of the project was to teach them both a new technique in creating art, as well as patience and taking care with their work.  Sewing is a difficult task that requires the students to pay attention to their work-or else the work will fall apart.

I would say that this project was both successful and unsuccessful.  The students did a great job on their projects for the most part.  They looked good, and the students who spent time on their piece were proud of their work.  The students seemed to understand monochromatic color schemes better, and it forced many students who rush through work to slow down.  I would say that the most unsuccessful part of this project was the general feeling about it.  The students at this age hate sewing.  They hate having so many stipulations on their work.  They just want to get things done.

As a result I’m not sure if I would do the project again.  I think in the future I might still assign a variation of this project, but plan it better to make it more enjoyable.  I might have them make something that is more pillow or quilt-like, sewing together squares to paint afterwards.  Who knows though… I will have to continue to reflect on more color themed projects for next year.

Color Mixing-Middle School

After students have made a color wheel its helpful to design a project that has them actually mix primary colors to make their secondary colors.  I used watercolor for this assignment, as watercolor is not only easy to mix, but requires a degree of patience and skill to use.

I am very glad that I did this assignment.  Some of the students still had a hard time grasping mixing colors, even though we went over time and time again which primary colors made secondary colors.  It seems that the pressure of actually producing the new colors made of a lot of them forget the discussions we’d had while making their color wheels.

The lesson is to give students the three primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and have them mix three secondary colors (green, purple, orange).  They then use the colors they made to paint on small sheet of watercolor paper.  Their painting is to include 6 repeating images from their imagination-all pre-approved by me to make sure that the images are not cliche.  The repeating images can vary on the page, as long as they are still recognizable as the same subject.

Students really enjoyed this project.  Many of them had fun during the brainstorming phase, where I approved their drawings.  Some of the students had difficulty with the watercolor, and we talked about not “loading” their brushes.  I think that next time I will do more preparation with the students on water-color technique before starting their project.

I adapted my lesson from one of the other teachers in the department.

Color Wheel 1-Middle School

I think that making color wheels arevery important.  They can be used as a very helpful took for students to use throughout the semester as they are playing with color.  It also helps with the visual learners to be able to SEE how colors changewhen they are placed next to each other.

For this color wheel students will make their color wheel using old magazines and markers.  Their color wheel will have two wheels, whichwill be secured but a pin in the middle.  This will allow the wheel to spin.  After students make the color wheel and there are many (many, many) discussions about how primary colors make secondary colors, and what complimentary colorsare, students will use their color wheels to help them mix colors and create a painting of their own.

Here is a PDF of the Lesson Plan: Color Wheel 1-Middle School