Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Their Home, Too!

From time to time, I like to focus the students’ artistic expressions on certain topics. A little while ago I came up with a really neat idea and I’m going to share it with you now…

“Their Home, Too!”

The Beginning….

This is the blueprint for the art project. It is an illustration depicting the Earth and the Sun. You can see that this image is drawn on a grid. There are 63 rectangular boxes in this grid.

The idea is that the students will create drawings to fill in the grid. It is my job to create each grid box for the students. These boxes will have one or sometimes two wiggley lines in them and the students have to use a specific colour in each of the shapes created by the wiggley lines to fill in their drawing.

By doing this, the students are learning about ‘monochromatic’ colour schemes. As you continue reading, I’m sure that you’ll see that the students are learning about quite a number of wonderful other things too!!!!

I wanted this project to focus on a specific theme. Each artwork created will be an image of an animal, bird, reptile or insect. This art project is designed to inspire the students and people who will see it, to realize that the Earth is not the property of just humans. Animals live here, too. The Earth is “Their Home, Too!”

I started the project off by creating the first three drawings – to make it easier for the students to understand what we are trying to accomplish.

Only a few days had passed until one of my students had completed her first artwork for this project. Olivia told me how she had studied a photo of a monkey in order to get all the proper details for her drawing.

A few days later, another student’s artwork was ready for me to add to this colourful mosaic. Angela has embraced this project with a fierce ambition. By the end of this blog you will have seen three of her art creations!!!!

Every time an artwork is handed into me, I shrink it down to add it to the original blueprint. This makes it easier to visualize what the finished project will look like.

Now that I had the first five artworks completed, I was ready to begin putting them in place on the roof of The Peacebus. All the students were full of wonderful comments when they saw these artworks on the roof of the bus. This also inspired them want to see their artwork in this mosaic and over the next week or so, many more drawings were created.

I love Yousir’s love for textures… and I told her so. When she had handed in this artwork she asked if she could do another. Of course, I said, “Yes!”

Slava is a student in grade 2. He is a very creative young man and a very intelligent one, too! A future leader of the world! I’m very honoured to know him.

Patrick loves turtles! He told me all sorts of things about how turtles hatch in eggs, buried in the sand and how they have to travel to the oceans in order to survive.

This is Angela’s second artwork for this project! She is a most creative young lady. Just look at all the different styles of shading and texture creating that she used in this portrait of a mom and baby penguin!!!

Michaela always brings her smile and lovely voice to the bus, each morning! She wanted to create a drawing for this project but she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. I challenged her to be different than everybody else. “Instead of drawing an animal or bird, I want you to think of a very small creature that most people would think is unimportant,” I suggested. “What small creature, moves underground to help plants grow?” Our conversation led to the creation of this drawing about Peaceflowers and Worms!!!

As you can see, our mosaic image is starting to take shape.

The orange ring around the sun is beginning to come together. The first hint of one of the Earth’s land masses can be seen bordering the ocean.

Day by day, artworks are handed in to me. Day by day, another student asks if they can create a drawing for this project. “Yes!” is always the answer.

Most of the grid boxes I hand out are very simple – with just one wiggley line dividing the box into two different colours.

There are a few very challenging boxes that will have to be filled in… like this one. You can see that this box is divided into 5 separate colours. I’m asking the more experienced students to handle the complicated ones. I was getting the itch to create another drawing so I drew this image of a butterfly.

I’m not sure why, but this simple drawing of a giraffe really speaks to me. I love the colour combinations and ‘flowiness’ of this space. Ana has created several previous drawing for The Peacebus and they have all been very inspirational.

Kailey’s chameleon is a pure delight! I love the detailing in the tail and the textures used on the chameleon’s back are perfect!!

Connor really wanted to draw a lion… but he was having a hard time. I think he was trying too hard… and I told him so! I helped him out by drawing this simple happy lion and he was able to fill in most of the image. I showed him how easy it was to draw grass by using small wiggley lines and I showed him how much fun a sky can be with soft flowing lines. It’s always very important to encourage children by working with them.

Since I have been sharing these artworks on Facebook, I have received many positive comments. This gave me an idea! I started asking my Facebook friends to help out with this project. Many said, “Yes!”

This absolutely inspiring image of spiders was created by another London artist, Shane Wilcox! Not only is Shane a great artistic talent, he is also a concerned environmentalist. Shane and I, and many other people, recently attended a City Council meeting to discuss options for a unique and precious ecosystem found here in London, Ontario – The Meadowlily Woods. Errr – that’s an upcoming blog story, so that’s all I’m going to say for now.

Dyhana and I have been Facebook friends for a couple of years now. We like to share inspiring photos and art. Dyhana has involved herself in several of my Facebook ‘art attacks’ and she was very delighted to participate in this event! She lives is the USA and managed to incorporate her state flag into her design.

By the looks of this, I’d say that this project is about ¼ the way done! It’s really starting to blow my mind – all the colours, all the animals, all the textures, all the feelings and all the love!!!!! It moves me.

Oh yeah! I’ve forgotten to tell you one very important thing… What are we going to do with the completed artwork????

One thing that I always like to tell my students is how art allows us to discover talents within us that maybe we didn’t know existed. Art allows us to discover our gifts for expression. I tell them that life is all about gift giving, sharing our talents, sharing our thoughts and sharing our expressions with others.

When I first introduced this project to the students I asked them if they thought it would be a good thing to share this artwork with the community. They said, “Yes… but who?” I asked them if it would be a good thing to donate the completed art to the London Sick Kids Hospital. They all agreed that this would be a great thing!!!!

As you can imagine, there will be a few more blog stories about this project. I hope that you are excited to continue to witness the evolution of “Their Home, Too!”

Mr. Jim

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