I am super excited about these.
4th Grade started their color theory project with an introduction to Grant Wood. He is obviously a great choice because I teach in Iowa but more importantly, talking about him always allows a great conversation surrounding the importance of and appreciation of farming in Iowa. I am able to discuss with students why, after years of childhood wishing I was in the big city, that I always find myself loving Iowa and what it has to offer. I am also able to explain to them how sweet corn is delicious (they all love sweet corn) but that in all reality, most of Iowa’s corn is used to create the feed for animals which then feeds the mouths of America. This part of the discussion always gets a few wide eyes and I always love knowing that kids walk away with a hint of more appreciation for our farmers.
And for whatever reason, the discussion always helps them remember who we are learning about: Grand Wood.
So first, students draw a basic landscape – three hills and a sun. It is important to talk about layering and how to make the hills look both “rolling” and smaller as we draw. I do this the same day as our Grant Wood introduction and that leads into Day 2.
On Day 2 – I introduce the students to “monochromatic colors” and tints and tones. We dissect the word, much like I did with my 7th graders last year, and discuss how it’s important to see the different degrees of “dark” or “light” in a color. We look at examples and then we demo oil pastels. I always stress that it’s not about how hard you press but how many layers you put over one another – this helps keep the pastels from breaking. I also show them how to smear/smudge their pastels to make it look almost like paint. This is a great medium because Grant Wood was a painter but there is less clean up involved. (Note to reader: when talking to my mentor about this as a possible project, she was the one that encourage the connection to Grand Wood and I am so thankful, because it is a great foundation to work from.)
Then we break into the project by working hard on layering our oil pastels on the first hill. Because this takes some getting used to, it takes the remainder of Day 2.
On Day 3 we return to our projects and demonstrate how to show different values – it’s quite the discussion and it’s important to remind them that they need to see a difference between the first, second and third hill – that this is their expectation and part of the standard they are trying to complete (SRG). They work on the hills and in the same day we revisit the sun by talking about shading and how you can go from dark to light gradually by lifting the pressure of your pastel and then blending the color out.
Check out some of their work! Very excited!
Next time we talk about clouds and we bring a great contrast to the drawing by adding our details with an entirely different medium! Stay tuned!