Monday, September 23, 2013

The Artist's Eye

Fall is here and that means Art is back in session!  Every year, I give the students an introductory project, usually a prompted drawing, designed to encourage them to think creatively and explore their own artistry.  In fourth grade, I begin the introductory project with a question: How do you think artists see the world differently from other people?  They always have great answers, including these spot-on ideas from this year's discussion:

  • Artists notice more colors than other people
  • Artists look at something and think of how to draw, sculpt, or paint it
  • Artists are always thinking of creating something
  • Artists always want to be original and unique 

Then, I give them the drawing prompt: create your Artist's Eye- a drawing that expresses how you see the world when you are making art and being creative. Further prompts included asking them to think about how they feel when they are making art, and what inspires them to make their art. This project encourages the students to engage in metacognition, as they think about who they are as creative individuals and how they function as artists.

More than any other project in the curriculum, I see in the Artist's Eye projects an incredible variety of interpretations and final projects.  I also find that the students really put a lot of themselves into their work and they create something that really expresses their artistic voice. Having known most of these students since they were in kindergarten, I think that if you showed me the work without a name, I could often guess who made it!

Here are some of this year's examples:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We're Zany for Zentangles!

Zentangles are an amazing new style of art. By creating a variety of repetitive patterns with pen and ink, you can create dimensional, fascinating, and rhythmic compositions.

Here is a FAQ site for Zentangles, including where, when, and why they were created.

You can create and combine your own patterns with official Zentangle patterns by Certified Zentangle Teachers. Get free Zentangle patterns from their Zentangle Newsletter. They're also all over Pinterest and YouTube, which features step-by-step demonstrations.  I've also included some at the bottom of this post.

So, why Zentangle? For one, it's fun, relaxing, and anyone can do it.  But if that doesn't convince you, let's allow the art speak for itself.

I searched online for some particularly innovative ways that people have used Zentangles. Here are some of my favorites!

Here's someone who created their tangle over text using Sharpie and watercolor. This could be a great altered book project, although newspaper and magazines would be great, too.

Wow! Zentangles come together to create a figurative work, in this case an eye.

These Zentangle outfits (on the left) remind me of the work of Gustav Klimt (on the right)

Amazing! Here someone used masking tape to create an area of resist.

I am so jealous that I don't have this to wear to the Zentangle class I'm teaching today. Skirt: Get in my closet, now!

Now that's a good hair day!

What an interesting way of dividing up the paper using overlapping circles. Look at the rhythm and movement this creates!

An even more complex division of the page, leading to more visual interest and complexity

This one absolutely amazes me. Why didn't I think of that?  This must cast the most amazing shadows.

So, those are some of the many ways that Zentangles have blown my mind today. Which is your favorite?