Thursday, April 29, 2010

6th grade - Self portraits and the Durer grid

Albrecht Durer was an artist during the Northern Renaissance. He came up with a grid system for accurately re-creating an image. His grid was built out of wood and wire so that he could stand it up between himself and the object he intended to draw. He then created a grid on his canvas to match the grid on the table.

Here is what his grid looked like...

In class, we are using the grid system to transfer a photo of ourselves onto the drawing paper. The image has a grid labelled with numbers and letters. The drawing paper has a matching grid. We are also drawing the image UPSIDE DOWN! This allows the brain to focus on the lines and shapes instead of on the fact that it is an image of a person.

The example below demonstrates with a line drawing of a bunny.

This project will take 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to complete!  Next, we paint it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Famous artworks that use One Point Perspective

The Last Supper
(Convent of Sta. Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy (1498), by Leonardo da Vinci).

Can you find the vanishing point?  It is right behind Jesus' head.  Leonardo designed the painting so that every line in it leads your eye to the most important person in the picture.

Here is some art history 'gossip' for you!  Leonardo da Vinci as more than just a painter.  He was a scientist, a mathematician, a scholar, and an inventor!  He was always full of some new idea.  He decided to play around with inventing a new method of painting frescoes (paintings on a plaster wall).  He used this new idea to paint The Last Supper.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a good idea after all and the painting started to flake off the wall after only a few years!  The people who hired him were really mad!

The photo above is actually a cleaned up version of the painting.  Here is what it looked like before repairs were done.


The School of Athens
Artist Raphael
Year 1509–1510
Type Fresco
Dimensions 500 cm × 770 cm (200 in × 300 in)
Location Apostolic Palace, Rome, Vatican City

Here is some more Art History 'gossip'.  Raphael was very popular with the social crowd.  He always dressed very well and wore expensive colognes.  He went to all the parties!

Michelangelo (the painter and sculptor) lived at the same time and in the same place.  He was not popular with the social crowd.  He was invited to the parties, but he chose not to go.  Instead, he liked to stay up all night carving on marble sculptures.  He would strap a candle to his forhead (so the light wouldn't throw a shadow on his work), which would drip wax into his hair.  Then the marble dust would settle into the wax.  He would be all stinky, sweaty, and dirty in the morning wondering around town.

Raphael and Michelangelo DID NOT like each other!  Raphael painted Michelangelo into his painting, The School of Athens.  Can you find him?  Hint, he looks very grumpy.  Yes!  He is at the bottom, sitting on the steps.


A Woman Drinking with Two Men
by Pieter de Hooch
c . 1658
Oil on canvas, 73,7 x 64,6
National Gallery, London
Look at the tiles in the floor!  And the rafters in the ceiling.  And the window.  There are lots of things in this painting that use one point perspective!

Investigation has shown that de Hooch first drew the one-point perspective scheme and then added the figures. At an early stage, a man appeared to the left of the female servant. De Hooch later painted him out, but his outline has become visible as the upper paint layers have become more transparent over time.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Extra Credit!

I just had to share this great example of what you can do on your own with what you have learned in art class!

This picture was made by a 5th grade student on his own time. It was not an assignment from me! I was most impressed! He now gets to turn it in for extra credit and I would encourage all my students to follow his example.
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5th grade still life

The fifth grade took two days to draw and shade the same still life the 6th grade was assigned. This sort of practice in drawing is really critical in developing artistically! We will be doing the same lessons next year, plus a few extra lessons to help make the drawings even more accurate! Keep drawing! Keep practicing!
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6th grade still life

At the end of the drawing unit, I arranged a still life of simple forms for the students. We spent two days on drawing and shading it. I think they turned out really great!

I know that drawing and shading some rather boring objects in the art room is not necessarily exciting. But remember, if you can draw and shade these objects successfully, you can then take what you learned and use it to draw whatever you want!
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