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Re: Painting - see Elizabeth Murray


Date: Tue Aug 10 2004 - 06:46:10 PDT

I had been thinking for a long time about doing a lesson on Elizabeth Murray,
when I saw Wendy Free's shaped paintings here. Using her students' work as
well as Murray's as inspiration, I came up with what had to be one of my best
lessons ever. My eighth graders LOVED it,,,it had to be the first time every
student came in excited to get to work and fully engaged in what they were
doing. Quite an accomplishment given I taught the lesson our last Related Arts
cycle when most students, eighth graders especially, have pretty much checked
out mentally for the school year!

To briefly outline the lesson, students thought about what could be
considered a container...we came up with a pretty broad definition of something that
holds something else. The result was everything from refrigerators to beach
bags to stomachs (one of my favorite, complete with butterflies and knots in it)
to bird cages as subject matter. Students then sketched ideas for their
chosen containers with the contents exploding and oozing out of them. They were
instructed to keep the drawings somewhat cartoonlike and abstract...exaggerating
some things, simplifying others, to use lots of overlapping and to include
negative spaces. The drawings were transferd to 19x22" pieces of newsboard and
cut out with craft knives. Extra pieces of newsboard were available to cut
out and attach on top of and around the main shaped board. After everything was
glued together, they were painted with tempera.

For those of you who may have missed Wendy's work when it was first posted
here, here is the site:

Lisa in NJ