Monday, November 30, 2015

Personal Still Life Drawings

5th grade artists have been studying the concept of value, the lightness and darkness of color. After drawing a value scale to explore lighter and darker values using Ebony pencils, students drew a still life of white styrofoam cups. 
Even though the cups are the same color white throughout, once they were set on the table and looked at in natural light, we noticed a range of values. Some areas were dark like the space inside the cup and where it rested on the table, while one side was lighter due to the light coming in from the window. 
We also discussed the art of still life. Still life is the art of drawing or painting inanimate objects such as fruit, flowers and household items which are usually arranged on a table or shelf. Traditionally, still life painting was a way for artists to show off their technical skills. We looked at two examples of still life painting, one by Matisse and one by Heda (below), and discussed which one looked more realistic and what the artist did that made those objects appear three-dimensional. 
Willem Claesz Heda, Still Life (17th Century)
Students noticed that Heda emphasized the lights and darks in his painting, using shading on the tablecloth and adding highlights on things like the glass cup. We also noticed that the objects had shadows underneath that made them look like they were resting on the table, and that the metal objects were shiny and really showed their texture. For the next class, students brought in a personal object from home to do a still life drawing.

Students shared the object they had chosen to bring in with their class before we began our drawings. Some students brought in a stuffed animal or figurine that they have had for a long time, or received for a birthday or special occasion in their lives. Other students brought in sports memorabilia from a game they attended or a sport that they like. Some students brought a family heirloom or cultural object that has been in their family for a long time. There was a wide variety of still life objects. 
After sharing, students set up their objects in front of them and began by drawing the shape or shapes in their object. They added details, like the eyes of their doll or the design on their necklace. They considered where it was darker or lighter on their object, which depended on where they were sitting in the room in relation to the windows. 
The following class, students added color using colored pencils. They focused on matching the colors of their object and showing the texture. Below are some examples of our still life drawings.
Ava, 5th Grade (Psychoghios)
Kira, 5th Grade (Bellis)
Bianca, 5th Grade (Twomey)
Zuhi, 5th Grade (Twomey)
Arsen, 5th Grade (Domermuth Fantasia)
Bo, 5th Grade (Domermuth Fantasia)
Sandra, 5th Grade (Bellis)
Lara, 5th Grade (Psychoghios)
Marcos, 5th Grade (Bellis)

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