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Anne C-H in Illinois
1. I did a portrait lesson, comparing and contrasting Rembrandt and Close.
Rembrandt is in our curriculum and I was dying to introduce Close. We
compared their techniques and the time periods that produced their styles.
The children did two portraits one in each of the artists methods. These
were displayed side by side.
The children wrote about their success or difficulties with their pieces
and compared what they liked about or didin't like about each method. I
did this with 4th grade. They enjoyed the dialogue and I think felt pretty
successful with their work. Formal things like proper placement was worked
in, as well as shading. Some tried Chuck Closes method of using a finger
print as a stoke of paint. This was time consuming, but a good comparison.
It livened up Rembrandt!
2. I just did a great self portrait with Gr.4 - very successful. We first did
a lot of practice portraits and then did our final portrait in a Chuck
Close kind of style. We took our pencil drawings and made small (but not
too small) grids out of them. Then we chose say three different colors (of
skinny markers) for skin tones, another three for hair, etc... We filled in
the grid so that each box in the grid contained a pattern. For the face,
for example, we would create the same pattern in each box using three
colors. To show shadows and highlights we vary how we used the three colors
in our patterns so that the nose stood out from the ckeek, etc..
Does any of this make sense? It is so hard to expalin without visuals.
Chuck Close is really great...saw his show in NYC last
fall....anyway...here's what I would do at that level (I teach hs). We did
this with the beginning art 9th graders, and I know it would work at your
level. We took 2 large posters of famous people, one was Leonardo DiCaprio
(and since I am slowly losin' it, I can't for the life of me remember who
the other one was). We talk kids about gridding, and gave each kid a
rectangle piece of the poster (they DIDN'T know who or what the image was
when they were given the piece) Each piece must be the same ratio as the
piece of paper you give them, so we gave them 12X18 sheets of paper, and the
little "chunk" was appropriately sized (you'll have to do the math)...they
gridded the little piece of paper and the appropriate big piece of paper (You
DO know that Close is about gridding, right?)....and then they replicated
their little piece onto the big piece. (We used pastels, but you could use
anything...again refer to Chuck Close's work--he used finger prints, paper
pieces, acrylics, pastels, watercolors). The only difference was that we
didn't keep the gridding marks in the individual kid's work, but when the
whole class but their pieces together, we had a wonderful HUGE gridded piece
of Leonardo DiCaprio....
We hung these two huge pictures in the library as an introduction to the art
show at the end of the year.