First Grade Artwork Project #1: (Projects #2, 3, 4 & 5 Below)
Abstract Instruction Return to main artwork page
In art class, our 1st graders were introduced to this mixed-media
project by first reading the book Matthew’s Dream by Leo Lionni, a
book about a mouse who lives in a dreary corner of a dusty attic. A
trip to the museum helps Matthew look at his surroundings in a new way
and he sets out to paint “the shapes and colors of joy.” Our class
looked at the artwork of Wassily Kandinsky and found the hidden
shapes, lines and colors in his artwork. After learning about
different shapes and lines, Miss Bernabei gave the students simple
instructions to follow, such as “Draw a triangle,” or “Draw a zigzag
line.” Some students chose to make little triangles; some chose to
make them big. Some students chose to make a zigzag line that only
traveled half-way across their paper; some chose to make it really
long. The 1st graders used these prompts to create their own abstract picture. To make their artwork even more exciting, each student chose a color scheme to use throughout their artwork by using either “warm colors” or “cool colors.” When our artists were finished working, we looked at all the pictures together. We were surprised to see that even though they were given the same instructions, all of the artwork looked unique and different… and that was okay!
Our 1st grade artists were introduced to the Spanish artist Joan Miro,
who is best known for his colorful and whimsical abstract paintings.
We looked at different paintings that Miro made and noticed that many
of them resembled silly people or animals, without looking exactly
like the story he was trying to tell. He made these wonderful images
by combining lines, shapes and color. In our last project, we learned
all about different lines and bending those lines to make shapes, so
we were ready to use what we learned and apply it to our next project.
Each artist created their own silly creature, using different lines
and shapes. It didn't matter if their creature resembled a specific
person or animal, as long as it told their own story. After Miss
Bernabei helped us outline our designs in black marker, we then added
lots of bright colors to our artwork, just like Miro did in his. We
had a lot of fun with this project and really got to express our
Our 1st grade artists looked at the work of Wassily Kandinsky,
specifically his concentric circle paintings. We talked about how his
circles were really colorful, and not necessarily "perfect" shapes.
Miss Bernabei helped us make a grid on our paper to divide it into six
equal sections. In each section, we made our own circle designs using
colorful oil pastels. We made sure to start at the center of each
section with a little circle, and then “work our way out” all the way
to the edge of the section.
Each artist tried their best to color in slowly and carefully, so that the drawings looked bright and neat. We practiced fine motor skills by drawing our circles freehand, just like Kandinsky did. It was a little tricky not using stencils to make circles, but our artists took on the challenge and did a great job!
Project 4: Winter Landscape
We were so excited from the big snow storm this winter, that it was
only appropriate to create our own winter landscapes! Our 1st grade
artists looked at different paintings of landscapes, noticing that all
of them had something in common. There was a clear separation between
the ground, and the sky. We learned that in all paintings, especially
landscapes, there are three parts: foreground, middle ground, and
background. We discussed different techniques to show these different
perspectives. When we draw something really big toward the bottom of
our paper, the object appears closer (foreground). When something is
drawn small toward the top of our paper, the object appears farther
away (background). Objects that have a lighter color appear closer,
and darker colors appear farther. We created three layers in our
winter landscapes, using the different art techniques we learned about
size, positioning, and color.
Project #5 - Picasso Portrait Collages
Our 1st grade artists were introduced to this project by watching a short video, which was a read aloud of the book When Pigasso Met Mootise by Nina Laden. “Pigasso” is a made up character, but is based off of the famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (and “Mootise” is portraying another famous artist, Henri Matisse). When looking at the illustrations (as well as some of Picasso’s real artwork), we noticed how Picasso’s art was all
“all mixed up” and the facial features he drew were not always where they should be. In Picasso’s portraits, he sometimes painted a mouth on top of the head, or a nose on the side of the face. Using a collage technique, each of our artists drew their own facial features with oil pastels on colorful pieces of paper, then cut and pasted them together to make a unique Picasso-inspired portrait of their own.
Grade Mural Project: Field of Sunflowers
Georgia O’Keeffe was the inspiration for this 1st grade mural. Our 1st grade artists looked at a beautiful slideshow on the Smartboard of a culmination of O’Keeffe’s beautiful flower paintings. We noticed how her artwork was simple and calming. We looked closely at her sunflower painting, paying particular attention to the center of the sunflower. One would think that the center of a sunflower is just brown, but when you look closely, there are actually many different colors, like greens,
yellows, and oranges. We used a pointillism technique to create the center of our flowers, then cut out petals and attached them. We discussed the meaning of texture and used different painting techniques and materials to create fluffy clouds and sharp blades of grass for our background landscape. When compiled together, our 1st graders created a beautiful field of sunflowers!