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3-D Paper Sculptures

21 Jun

We looked at two photos of sculptures. The first is a clay sculpture by a French artist named Fernand Leger (Fernan Layzhay). Our second sculpture is from an American artist named Alexander Calder.

I asked the students to raise their hands and explain what they are observing about the two sculptures. What shapes do they see? How are the sculptures alike and different?

Sculpture facts: The Walking Flower (1951) is a clay sculpture, 261/2” x 201/2”x15”, his sculpture is symbolic, what is it a symbol of? Calder’s sculpture, The Spinner (1966), is made of aluminum, steel and oil paint and it is very big in comparison to the Walking Flower, 19.5’ x 29.25’ Calder’s subject is a nonobjective (or abstract) sculpture. It is form but doesn’t represent a recognizable object. He created his form from what shapes?

Explain the difference between 2D versus 3D or ask first to see if they already know. (show a ball versus circle and cone versus triangle) Today we will create a 3 dimensional sculpture from a 2 dimensional piece of paper. Shapes and Forms are similar in that they can be geometric or free form. However, they are different in that shapes are flat and two-dimensional (2-D). Shapes are measured by height and width. Draw a circle and a triangle on your newsprint. Forms are not flat. They are three-dimensional (3-D) and can be measured in three ways: height, width, and depth. Now see look at a cone and a ball and see how they are three-Dimensional. Sculpture is art that is three-dimensional.

This lesson is from the Level 3 Art Connections book (pg. 88).

Art Activity:

Practice our own 3D form project first on 12 X 18 Newsprint. Tell them about the cuts they have to make to form “legs” and have them practice this type of cutting. As they practice the cutting the docent reads the steps for their final piece to them. Have them use the newsprint to protect the desks from the oil pastels.
Now we will make the 3-D paper sculpture

1. Cut out a large free-form shape (just cutting around the outside edges) from a piece of black construction paper. Decorate both sides using oil pastels. Decorate with filled in shapes, stripes, curly cues or random blocks of color. Use colors that appeal to you and press firmly to create intense color.

2. Next we cut the “legs”. Do this part slowly and carefully!! Make 8-12 cuts in the paper that go from the outside towards the center. Not ALL THE WAY THROUGH, KEEP THE Paper WHOLE! Demonstrate for them.

3. Make tabs on the “legs” of the sculpture by folding the paper a little bit to provide a surface for gluing. Again, demonstrate for them.

3. Next use your chipboard (8.5 x 11) as a base and start to glue the “legs” of the paper down in different places. Glue at least four legs down and some may stay up in the air. Use a generous amount of glue stick and hold for 15 seconds. It’s tricky when you are stretching and move the paper so be patient! If a piece is not holding raise your hand and one of the adults will use a spot of liquid white glue. (our kids didn’t need this, just an occasional adult hand to hold a leg or two down while drying).

4. As you are gluing make your own creative choices as an artist. How many legs/forms will you glue down? You can bend and fold and twist the paper to make some “legs” stand in the air. Do you want lots of space in the middle of your sculpture or lots of paper? Go slowly and try just placing a form/leg down before gluing and if you don’t like it take another and try it. Play with the form!
(If there is time the student can make another 3D sculpture without a base, gluing the legs to each other).

Summary: Room 13 artists created 3 dimensional sculptures by cutting and bending 2 dimensional paper. Shapes and Forms are similar in that they can be geometric or free form. However, they are different in that shapes are flat and two-dimensional (2-D). Shapes are measured by height and width. Forms are not flat. They are three-dimensional (3-D) and can be measured in three ways: height, width, and depth. Shape and form are two of the elements (the language) of art. The other elements are line, color, texture, value and space.
Lesson Title: Form lesson – 3 D Paper sculpture
Room#, Grade, Teacher: room 13, 3rd, Vontver
Docent/s: Jill Mount

Comment: Form is an element of Art and can be expressed through three-dimensional sculptures.
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: form, Fernand Leger & Alexander Calder
Closing Comments:


Continuous Contour Line – 3rd grade

16 Jan

Continuous Contour Line lesson with Room 13


Today we are going to create continuous contour line drawings. This is a technique where a whole image is created without picking up the pencil (or pen or brush, etc) from the paper surface. It’s tricky sometimes but a lot of fun to try!

Remember that line is an element of art that helps us to show shape and movement through straight, angular or curvy markings on paper.

What is a continuous line?

A continuous line keeps going and doesn’t end until the drawing is finished. It can show the outside and inside shape of an object. For third graders, it is the same idea as the cursive writing where the line creating the letters moves along and doesn’t end until the last letter of the word.

What is contour? A contour is the line that defines a form or edge – an outline. Contour drawings follow the visible edges of a shape. There are also inside lines which show contour by outline the most dramatic shapes showing on the inside.

Blind contour drawing is studying a subject with your eyes and not looking at your hand that is drawing on the paper. This allows you to look carefully and see the contours and is a good warm up drawing.

Artist: We showed pictures of the art created by the Canadian artist, Emmanuel Claudais. He works in Montreal as an illustrator and has been a painter for 30 years along with working in stained glass. He is an art teacher of about sixty students and director of his own Art Gallery. He has made 52 animated capsules for the Discovery channel’s TV series, “How it’s Made”. We also showed a few of these animated capsules to the kids which are a fascinating example of his art and this technique.

Art Activity: Creating 4 drawings using the continuous contour technique
As we make our drawings remember:

-Keep your pencil or pen always touching the paper as you draw, making one continuous line. If you accidentally pick the pencil up then put it down in the place where you picked it up and keep going. There are no mistakes and you can go back over lines again to get your pencil to a new location.

-Look at the object on your desk and see the outer edge and any bigger inner shapes. Start at one side of the object with your eyes and using your pencil draw that side and the rest of the object making a continuous line describing WHAT YOUR EYES ARE SEEING in front of you.

-The picture will have a loose and flowing style. Funny lines are OK and don’t need to be fixed.

-Go slow and steady. Carefully look at the object with your eyes as you draw.

-After a few practice pictures with pencil on newsprint we’ll do a final piece that will be an ink drawing on white paper. If we have time we will finish with colored pencils inside the black lines to add another element of design to our art. Color.

Have fun with this! This is one way to use line to describe an object through your picture which is a your art work.

Drawings for students to try:
1. Draw a five pointed star with the lines crossing in the middle as first example for newsprint drawings. This is an easy and familiar example to let them practice keeping their pencils on the paper.

2. Water Bottle from their desk is the second pencil drawing on newsprint

3. Next try a Blind Contour of a vegetable(s) or water bottle with pencil on newsprint.

4. Final drawing on White paper with black marker of a water bottle, vegetables or you can try the flower and vase, or for a bigger challenge you can try and draw your shoe. Finish the drawing with colored pencils only inside the ink lines.

Closing Comments: Conclusion: After clean up we held an art walk in the room to admire each other’s work. We remembered that our comments are descriptive and positive. The students enjoyed seeing the drawings. The final ink drawing was harder for them as it felt more permanent and so they wanted it to be careful rather then loose and flowing. I might use pencil next time. They loved adding color to them. *Thanks to Jen Clark, a parent in room 2 who inspired this lesson with her own! Jen saw Emmanuel Claudais’s work on a Discovery/Science Channel show called “How It’s Made” where he’s done a number of real-time contour pieces as an intro to the final segment of the show. You can find it streaming on Netflix if it’s not still running on the Science Channel. I found artist information and photos of some of his paintings on the Fine Art America Website where they are for sale.

Room 13, 3rd grade, Ms. Vontver
Docent/s: Jill Mount


Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Emmanuel Claudais, Line

Color Contrast Lesson

11 Oct


Begin this lesson with a  review of the color wheel, (it’s a good lesson in the beginning of the year to remind students about color relationships)– Tape up the poster and have a short discussion with kids on the rug

-Artists mix 3 primary colors to create many other colors. Color can express different feelings or moods in art.

-What is it? The color spectrum that artists use is called a color wheel. Artists use it to get information and ideas about colors and how they will relate to each other. It includes six spectral colors and six intermediate colors. These colors are always in the same order no matter which way you turn the wheel. Color is an element of art. The wheel is made up of the following colors.

-Primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) which make -secondary colors (orange, violet and green) which make – intermediate colors – red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue violet, and red violet.

-Warm and Cool colors – Docent marks ½ way on the color wheel poster with tape for easy visual reminder for the students.

Cool colors= Green, yellow-green, blue-green, blue, violet, and blue-violet. They remind us of cool things such as water, grass, or ice.

Warm colors= Red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, and yellow. They remind us of warm things such as sunshine and are opposite cool colors on the color wheel.
Look for examples in the room: flower & class rug. Can you find more?

Discuss Art – The art is found in the Level 3 Art Connections book (green), p. 66. Show pages on document reader and pass a few books around.

Introduce each piece – Pistia Kew, 1989, Idelle Weber, American, Oil on Linen 58 X 59” Covered Jar, 1522-1566, artist unknown, China, pg. 66 of the Art Connections book, level 3. If there is time I will also show the large print, Undersea Scene, 1990’s, Wyland, American

??’s for the students -Find all the cool colors. Are they placed near each other? Locate all the warm colors. Where are they placed? Which work has more warm colors? Find the colors that first catch your attention. Which colors are they? Which colors blend and which colors contrast? How does the artist use the color contrast in their work?

More artist information: Idelle Weber was born in Chicago and studied art in CA. She realistically paints everyday objects seen in the environment. Her paintings force the viewer to pay attention to areas that often go unnoticed and to perceive the world in a new and different way.

The Covered Jar was created during a time when Europeans, like Marco Polo, made the journey to China.


Today for our project we will use warm and cool colors to show Color contrast–(Lesson from Art Connections, level 3 , pg. 68). Artists use contrast in order to show differences between two things. Warm colors come forward and attract your attention first and cool colors seem to move away from you.

Tell the students they will be making an underwater scene with cool colors for the background & plants and warm colors for their sea creatures.

1. Begin by painting a COOL colored background on a piece of watercolor paper using the watercolors. Use a wash technique to apply using large broad strokes back and forth to cover the paper. Don’t get too wet..Do you remember what the cool colors are? Blue, Green and Violet Again, only cool colors and mostly blue for the water and green for the plants. If you want to make a different blue by mixing the colors do so ON A SEPARATE plastic palette, not the set itself. Violet can be used as desired. Leave this to dry. (took about 10 minutes to dry)

2. Next think of at least 5 underwater creatures you want to draw, fish, octopus, seals, jellyfish. You can also make plants but use cool colors for the plants as they are background. On a separate piece of white drawing paper using oil pastels, draw these creatures in WARM colors only. It will contrast best with the background if you fill in the color. Do you remember what warm colors are? Red, Orange, yellow and their related colors. Some students will resist and want to use “real” colors but remind them in art an object can be any color you want and we are trying warm colored creatures today. Cut the finished creatures and plants out. When your painted background is dry, paste the creatures in different places on your background with the glue stick to make a contrast picture.

Supplies needed: watercolor paper, drawing paper, watercolor sets, lg. watercolor brushes; sets of oil pastels, water cups, mixing palettes, big water pitcher filled, 18 brayers. From home: bucket for washing brushes, paper napkins for blotting, brown paper bags/newspaper to cover desks, Green Art Connections book to show art.

You can have an “art walk” with the students at the end of the project by laying down the art in the middle of the room with an aisle way between the art. As the students walk through ask for positive comments and descriptive comments. Remind students to notice when warm colors are placed next to cool colors, a contrast is created and that makes the sea creatures stand out. The kids really enjoyed making the backgrounds and they were all different combinations of cool colors. Some resisted using only warm colors for the sea creatures but were able to adjust as I reminded them they could do it just how they wanted at home but we were thinking about warm and cool colors today. They enjoyed the final result.

Color Wheel Game: If there is extra time you can play a color wheel game. Kid’s form the color wheel in a big circle in the center of the room according to an item of clothing they are wearing. They have to be in the same order as the color wheel. Or you can do this in the beginning for your color review.

Room#, Grade, Teacher: Room 13, 3rd grade, Ms. Vontver
Docent/s: Name: Jill Mount