Thursday, April 25, 2013

Art Auction Project: Mrs. Z's Folk Art Fish Drawing Lesson

4th Grade Art Auction Project: Mrs. Z's Fish Drawing Lesson

This year, R has a fantastically enthusiastic 4th grade teacher - Mrs. Z. Among the amazing projects that Mrs. Z tried to stuff into an already crowded school year has been a months long study of natural resources via local fish studies. Through the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, she has managed to get her class involved in a special program that includes teaching the kids about local fishing regulations, types of local fish, fish dissection, hatchery tour, fishing with mentors, hatching fish eggs and much, much more. It is a pretty impressive program ODFW puts on. I was very happy to be able to go on the field trips and watch the kids learn some hands- on natural science. So when we were thinking about a "theme" for this class' art auction thoughts naturally turned to..... "something with fish in it". To me that was a very unique aspect of their classroom that I thought they would like to share with the school.

4th Grade Art Auction Project: Mrs. Z's Fish Drawing Lesson

 So we started out with the size canvas we needed. I think it was 24x36. Then I sketched on the canvas the number of fish that we needed for all the kids in the class and for Mrs. Z. It was fun and a little tricky fitting in a bunch of different fish so that everything made it onto the canvas.

Fish Scan for Art Auction Project

 I then sketched a small version of the fish on the canvas onto a paper so that we could have a copy the kids could work from. We numbered each fish (to prevent the kids from complaining that they wanted a particular fish) and then had the students pick a number from a hat. Thankfully we did not have one student complain that they did not like their fish. Of course I would have loved if each student could have sketched their own fish design onto the canvas, but that just was not possible with the time constraints for this project.

 4th Grade Art Auction Project: Mrs. Z's Fish Drawing Lesson

We projected the "fish map" onto the overhead and had the kids find their fish and try to do a reasonable contour line drawing of their own fish on a sheet of copy paper. Some kids asked for their own copy of the "fish map" so they could get their detail more accurate. The basic shape of the fish was already sketched on the canvas but I told the kids they could add their own colors, patterns and any small shape changes that they thought they could fit in on the canvas to make their fish more their own.

 4th Grade Art Auction Project: Mrs. Z's Fish Drawing Lesson

The students could use marker or colored pencil to finish their fish. This worked out wonderfully later on when each student went to paint on the canvas, as they brought along their completed fish and it helped them get down to business right away rather than hem and haw about what they wanted to do or be intimidated by a large canvas with open space. And Mrs. Z later used the fish drawings in a thank you to the folks at ODFW - a win-win definitely - from this project we got an art lesson, a thank you card and an art auction project! Right on! Here is a sampling of some of the fish:

Z Fish Collage

 Oh yikes, I almost forgot about the lesson....I made a powerpoint slide show about Folk Art in general and then narrowed it down to folk art fish. Here were my talking points about folk art:

-Folk art is characterized by a simplified style, in which traditional art rules about perspective are not employed -Folk art can also be called “na├»ve art”, “tribal art”, “pop/popular art”, “primitive art”, “outsider art”, “self-taught” art
 -Folk art represents traditional art forms of diverse community groups (ethnic, tribal, geographical, religious, occupational, gender-based)
-Some of the most visually stunning examples of folk art use symbols and patterns and colors to represent personal thoughts and beliefs of the artist
-Folk art can be made from any media and can utilize many different art techniques

 And here were my project steps:
1. Pick a number to determine which fish you will get to paint on the mural
2. Using COUNTOUR LINE DRAWING and your knowledge of ORGANIC SHAPES, draw your fish onto your paper (DON’T overuse that pencil eraser!!!)
3. Add a few extra details to your fish (But DON’T go overboard so we can’t tell it’s still a fish!) Think…patterns, colors, shapes, personal symbols, simple designs.
4. Now color your fish using colored pencils or markers. DO NOT use more than 5 colors. And REMEMBER – you will have to duplicate this in paint next week!
5. Have fun! Make your fish unique and YOU!

Now wait until you see the in-process amazing-ness still to come....

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