Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wayne Thiebaud Inspired Dessert Paintings

After exploring color mixing recently, 3rd grade artists looked at and discussed the work of American painter Wayne Thiebaud. Thiebaud (pronounced "tee-bow") is known for his paintings of everyday objects, like food.
Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes (1963)
Wayne Thiebaud, Four Cupcakes (1971)

We looked at his paintings of different kinds of desserts and noticed his use of bright colors -- even in some of the shadows. They are often painted on a white or plain background without a lot of detail, so the focus is really on the dessert. Looking at several examples made us hungry!
Wayne Thiebaud, Four Ice Cream Cones (1964)
To begin our own paintings of desserts, we looked at the geometric shapes and forms that make up a lot of our favorite desserts. They can be broken down into basic shapes to start, and then decorative elements and color can be added.
We brainstormed and drew a few sketches of our favorite desserts before selecting one to sketch out on larger paper. The following class, we used our recent experience with mixing colors to paint our favorite desserts!

We thought about how we could mix a variety of colors, thinking about the bright colors that Thiebaud uses in his painting, as well as use white to create tints of color. Students painted their desserts, incorporating tints, and also painted the background, considering the use of a complementary color.
The following week, students added additional details using oil pastels. Students thought about how they could make their cakes, ice cream cones, sundaes and doughnuts really stand out by adding creative details like frosting, sprinkles and hot fudge. 
Since Wayne Thiebaud's paintings are also characterized by their strong shadows, we looked at cast shadows and how the shape of the object changes the shape of the shadow. Using a flashlight and a marshmallow, we also noticed that the placement of the shadow depends on the direction of the light source. Students added a colorful shadow to their dessert using oil pastels.
On the last class, students added finishing touches and came up with a title for their artwork, which they wrote on index cards. Then we had a gallery walk to look at everyone's work and shared observations afterwards. 
Students noticed that their classmates had added a variety of different details, such as making a birthday cake or adding colorful details to an ice cream sundae. We also appreciated the titles that everyone came up with, as some were quite creative! Here are some mouthwatering examples of our Wayne Thiebaud inspired desserts:
Rosemary, 3rd Grade
Annie, 3rd Grade
Alec, 3rd Grade
Mason, 3rd Grade

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