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I'm back....Johns/Flag lesson


Date: Sat Sep 29 2001 - 17:46:31 PDT

Hi, all...I've missed my artsednet family. Logged off for a while, as I
spent the month of August- one glorious month- in Florence, Italy with other
artists/art teachers. I painted every day from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Little did
I know that this would be, as I put it, "my last hurrah"- the carefree and
worrisome life, the calm before the storm. Living 30 minutes from NYC
brought with it the agony of losing friends, neighbors, and family of some of
my elementary school students who worked at the WTC. I am just able now to
begin to pick up where life left off on Sept. 11th.

Today we went into NYC for the first time since the disaster and it just
doesn't feel (or smell) the same. It's weird to see the skyline now and
sickening to see thousands of pictures of the "missing" victims posted on
buildings. Security is tight and the streets still tension-filled. With a
"life must go on" attitude, we helped our daughter look for an apartment in
the city. I have very mixed emotions about her living there, but I keep
telling myself that we can't live in fear. Sigh....
I don't know if anyone has come up with a lesson like this, since I just
rejoined the group, but here's my idea....

Jasper Johns American Flag Lesson
I showed Jasper Johns' flag series to my 4th graders. Last year they saw a
"real" one at the MoMA on a class trip. We discussed why they thought he
painted it in the many ways that he did. I got a donation of paper American
flags for every student from a local newspaper. The goal is to use the flag
in a creative 20"x24" painting. We are using tempera paint and (if the kids
choose) wax- encaustic painting, just like Johns. Some are printing a
background, others are carefully cutting out images from magazines and
newspapers to combine with paint. Many are painting the events of Sept. 11th
in combination with the flag. In one painting the flag became a big gift,
complete with big red bow and ribbon, in another it took the shape of the
USA, for examples. One boy, whose father is a firefighter on the scene of
the massive clean-up, has his own personal take on the situation. Some
paintings are full of emotion, some are simply interesting designs of that
everyday object we used to just glance at without much thought as we recited
the Pledge of Allegiance!
Hope someone out there can use this approach or expound on it. Additional
spins on this Jasper Johns lesson will be greatly appreciated...
Susan on Long Island