Tag: elements of art

Teaching Abstract Art: When the Simplest Concepts are Actually the Most Complex

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

Abstract art is one of my favorite types of art and it’s an art form that I always include in my high school art curriculum. It can be hit and miss, some years they get it and run with it, other years it’s like pulling teeth. Despite my mixed results I am committed to always including it in my lessons because it can be under-appreciated by those who don’t understand it. AKA, please don’t tell me “I could’ve done that.” Because guess what, you didn’t.

Abstract art may look simple, but it is in fact one of the most complex forms of art and reflects a much higher level of thinking (yes, there is a lot of thinking that goes on in art making). Because of this fact I was very wary of doing an abstract art project with my advanced class this year. They are a wonderful group of kids, but overall their technical ability and creativity level is lower than what I typically have in my advanced classes. My tried and true projects were very hit and miss this year, and I felt like a failure of a teacher. I just couldn’t figure out my “in” with them.

So of course, knowing all of this information I decided to develop a new abstract art project that was bigger than ever and more open ended than over. I was convinced it was going to fail miserably, but I continued down the path anyway.

I attribute the formation of this new lesson to watching cartoons with my two year old. We were deep into watching Inside Out for the 1000th time when the abstract thought scene came up. If you have never seen it, Google it, it’s an amazing explanation. The characters show the progression of abstract thought through verbal and visual explanations. The characters literally abstract before your eyes. The light bulb turned on.

I put together a PowerPoint including a link to the clip (plus a few other video clips) and three abstract artists to show examples of the three main elements in abstract art: Piet Mondrian for line, Wassily Kandinksy for shape, and Mark Rothko for color. The only guidelines I gave my students were it must emphasize either line, shape, or color (all three will be included, but one will be showcased) as well as balance, unity, and a focal point. The three elements are the building blocks and the three principles are what make it a successful work of art.

I was so worried. Typically with my abstract projects I have my students start with a concrete base, such as a photograph of a landscape or an object, and I help them simplify and abstract it before they start painting it. But this project took it to a new level, it was high level problem solving. I set them off to work and as always with a new project I worked on my example along with them.

Each student got a 36″x48″ canvas. This was the largest any of them had ever worked. I sent them off to sketch and I began to work on mine. I decided I wanted to focus on cool colors, with pops of warm, incorporate an acrylic pour somehow and emphasize line. In my head I wanted the organic shapes of the acrylic pour pattern juxtaposed with the geometric lines. First I painted the entire canvas using the cool colors I planned to incorporate into the stripes.

Next, I used a ruler to create a line pattern. I had a loose idea to focus on diagonal lines, but from there I started laying the lines out and made adjustments as I went.

Once I felt confident with my pattern I began filling it in.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

I wanted the bright orange to help create a focal point.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

Again, I had a loose idea of the colors I wanted and would scatter them around the canvas before starting another. I would periodically take a step back to make sure the colors looked balanced before adding more.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

I wanted the background to make up some of the stripes and as I began filling in the lines I decided I wanted to have more of a variety of shapes, rather than the same width lines covering the entire piece. To create that look I didn’t fill in large chunks of the lines and instead left the background showing through.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

I waited until closer to the end to add more orange stripes to make sure they remained the focal point. At this point I loved the piece. I began questioning whether or not to add the acrylic pour aspect. But, I decided to follow through with my plan. The organic look of the pour would either elevate it, or hurt it, but at least I had photographic evidence of this point in case I hated the final version. Plus, you can always paint over what you don’t like.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

I didn’t want the acrylic pour to look like a paint spill on top of my piece. I wanted it to look intentionally included. To achieve this I decided to let it fill in some of the strips, but have clean strips cutting through it. I carefully taped up specific sections and tried to visualize where the paint would fall.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

At this point I had never done an acrylic pour before. One of my students was familiar with the process, and she did some on her abstract acrylic. I read a few how tos, watched a few videos and carefully watched her technique before trying it on my own (once my class had dismissed just in case it was an epic fail). I put my acrylic paint colors in individual cups and mixed it with water, floetrol, and tested some rubbing alcohol on a few. I poured the smaller cups into a larger one, alternating the colors.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

Full discloser, the first pour was a HUGE failure! I didn’t thin the paint enough and it ended up being a huge glob of paint that would not spread. I quickly wiped all the paint off and had a moment of silence for the wasted supplies. Attempt two went much better. I still sweated a bit as I tried to spread the paint while maintaining the beautiful cells, it’s way harder than it looks.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

After layer one I decided I wanted a little more, so I did a final pour on the lower half.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

After letting it dry overnight the moment of truth came and I began peeling off the tape. I was slightly disappointed, the paint still seeped under the edges of the tape, which meant a lot of clean up, but I was excited about the potential. After a lot of cleaning up edges I decided I was very pleased with the end result.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

And the best part is the tape will make an amazing visual journal page in the near future.

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

In case you are wondering this project ended up being the most successful project of the year. All of my students excelled and these large scale abstract acrylics made beautiful and impressive additions to our annual art show. I don’t know if I can attribute the success to my enthusiasm for it, working along with them, breaking it down into basics, or my Inside Out clip, but whatever it was I will take a win at the end of the school year.

If you are interested in learning more about this project check out my Teachers Pay Teachers lesson plan here. It is designed for advanced or AP art level high school art students, but I believe the basics can be kept and it be sized down for earlier high school or middle school students.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Check out more visual journal pages here and more of my TPT products here. Help spread the word by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!

How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.
How to create an abstract work of plus how to teach it to high schoolers.

Teachers Pay Teachers Valentine’s Day Sale + My Top 5 Wish Listed Products

I hate to admit it, but I can be a bit of a Valentine’s Day grinch. I have nothing against love, chocolate (or any candy for that matter), or cards, but I just don’t feel the need to go all out for Valentine’s day every year. I didn’t actually have a valentine until the first year I dated my now husband, when I was just 19 years old. As the big day approached, I was excited. I had waited 19 years to actually have a boyfriend over the holiday that celebrates being in a relationship. When the day finally arrived, we exchanged gifts, ate a delicious meal, and although I had fun, I thought what is the big deal? We can do this anytime.

So, sorry Valentine’s day lovers, it’s just not for me. Every year my husband and I make sure we spend time together and make an extra delicious dinner at home. But we opt to save our babysitting and eating out money for a day that doesn’t include cost premiums.

This year for Valentines day I will give my hub an extra hug and I will also be celebrating by participating in the Teachers Pay Teachers site wide sale. Everything in my store will be 25% off. If you like any of my bundle packs, that can equal a decent amount of savings.

While prepping for my sale, I decided to check out what my top wish listed products are. Read about the top five below:

Seven back and front worksheets that cover the elements of art.

This is on oldie, but a goodie. It has held top spot for sales, traffic, and wishlists for some time now. This was my very first bundled item, and I am so happy other art teachers love it as much as I do. It is a staple in my high school Intro to Art course. The bundle pack includes seven back and front worksheets that cover the elements of art. Each worksheet has visual examples and information about the elements: color, line, value, form, shape, texture, and space. The back of the worksheets have activities to complete to show their understanding of what was covered on the front. This worksheet pack is great to have on hand for substitute days, early finishers, or to test your students’ understanding of the elements of art.

This bundle is listed for $10.00, you save $4.00 by purchasing the bundle rather than the worksheets individually. You can purchase it for just $7.50 on 2/14/18 and 2/15/18. Check out this product here.

A pack of eight worksheets that cover the principles of design.

With my elements of art worksheet pack as #1, it’s no surprise that my hand drawn principles of design worksheet pack is my second most wish listed item. I began working on this worksheet set as soon as I completed my elements of art pack. Like the elements of art worksheets, this has visual examples and information on the front and an activity on the back. I also use these in my Introduction to Art course. They are great for late elementary schoolers, middle school, and high school art students. There are eight back and front worksheets in total. Check out the pack here.

This bundle is listed for $10.00, you save $6.00 by purchasing the bundle rather than the worksheets individually. You can purchase it fur just $7.50 on 2/14/18 and 2/15/18. Check out this product here.

My third most wish listed item is also my most expensive. It’s my year long Introduction to Art curriculum. It’s priced at $100.00 for the pack, but you save $86.00 by purchasing the bundle rather than the lessons individually. This is a great product to purchase during sale days because it costs more than my average item. It will be marked down to just $75.00 on 2/14 and 2/15.

You won’t need to plan a single day for an entire year in your Intro to Art course. There is also a timeline included if your class is only a semester long. All in all this file includes: yearlong timeline, semester long timeline, first day items (syllabus bathroom passes, tell me about you sheet, art survey, letter to parents, artist to know table, and behavior contract), art notebook set up (table of contents and worksheets), 20 lesson plans  (includes big idea, essential questions, goals, objectives, supplies, vocabulary, step-by-step instructions, national standards), 17 rubrics, 6 critique worksheets, 16 PowerPoints, 42 worksheets (includes elements of art, principles of design, visual journal, drawing, color theory, perspective, contour line, and many more).

Check out the lesson plan and PowerPoint I use to introduce visual journals to my students every year.

My #4 wish listed item is my visual journal lesson plan and PowerPoint pack. This is what I use to introduce visual journals to my students every year. This is a project I do in every single class, and it lasts the entire semester or year depending on the length of the course. It’s always one of my students’ favorite assignments because they have so much freedom in the assignment. They get to choose the materials and topics, they just have to have a certain number of pages complete by the end of the course.

I obviously have a passion for visual journaling, it’s the entire reason I started this blog. I love sharing my inspiration and methods; it’s no different in my classroom. I encourage every art teacher to give this project a try. I love seeing my students take it and run with it. Also check out my visual journal bundle pack, which includes all of my visual journal how to handouts as well.

My #5 most wish listed item is also one of my cheapest, my general shading handout for just $2.00. I use this handout in both my Introduction to Art class and my Drawing class. It’s a great refresher or introduction to basic shading techniques. It covers shading using hatching, crosshatching, stippling, scribbling, and blending techniques. The front shows examples and the back is full of activities for the students to complete that tests their knowledge of the information covered on the front.

Check out the rest of my top 10 wish listed TPT items below:

#6: Zentangle handout

#7: Elements of art worksheet pack #2

#8: Shading using hatched lines worksheet

#9: Elements of art poster pack

#10: Yearlong visual journal bundle pack (lesson plan, PowerPoint, and handouts)

Don’t miss the Valentine’s Day sale, this will be the last one until the end of the school year. There are so many amazing products available on TPT to help make our lives easier and further enrich our students, I hope you give the website a try if you haven’t yet.

Thanks taking for taking the time to check out my blog! Help spread the word by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!

 

A shading handout with information on hatching, crosshatching, stippling, scribbling, and blending. It's perfect to introduce drawing basics or refresh them with your art students.
Visual journals are easily one of my students' favorite projects of the year. Check out the lesson plan and PowerPoint I use to introduce it every year.
Eight back and front worksheets that cover the principles of design. Visual examples and information on the front, activities for the students to complete on the back.
Seven back and front worksheets that cover the elements of art. Visual examples and information on the front, activities for the students to complete on the back.
You won't have to worry about a single day of the year in your Introduction to Art class with this yearlong curriculum. It includes 20 lessons, 42 worksheets, 16 PowerPoints, and 14 take home projects.

Teachers Pay Teachers: Principles of Design Worksheet Pack

So far this summer I have enjoyed a break from my normal teaching schedule, a trip to South Africa, Hilton Head Island, Smith Lake, and I’ve been getting extra snuggles from my little man Cooper. In addition to traveling and snuggling, I have also been working hard to get new items posted on Teachers Pay Teachers. Last year my August and September earnings from the website funded a trip to Europe for my husband and I. This year, and for the foreseeable future, I hope to save my earnings for a home renovation. It’s a big goal I have set for myself, but I am confident with a lot of hard work I can get there.

My last post, over two months ago {whoops} focused on one of my newest Teacher Pay Teacher products, a revamp of my hand drawn elements of art worksheets. Today, I finally got my final worksheet of my principles of design pack added to the website. Check it out here.

This pack includes eight worksheets. Each worksheet focuses on a different principle of design. I created worksheets for balance, emphasis, movement, proportion, repetition and pattern, rhythm, unity, and variety. On the front of each handout there is information on different ways you can incorporate that principle into your artwork.The back of each worksheet has an activity for the students to complete to test their understanding of the information on the front. I use these in my Introduction to Art classes, which are added to their art notebooks and checked for daily grades at the end of the semester. Now that I have two versions of the elements and principles worksheets, I plan to use one set in my Intro class and one set used as a reminder for an upper level course.

These sheets were created for grades 4th-12th grade. Some have more complex ideas, and may not be suitable for younger than 4th. I would encourage use of these in levels as high as AP art, when the elements and principles are one of the bases for grading the portfolios.

I loved making each of these. Each were inspired by a piece of my life or a simple occurrence at the time I was designing them. My emphasis worksheet is an obvious reflection of my love for chickens. My repetition and pattern worksheet was created on a very rainy day while I was vacationing at Smith Lake in Alabama, which inspired the cloud and water design.

If you haven’t checked out products on Teachers Pay Teachers yet, I strongly encourage it. There are some amazing, creative teachers out there and you are helping to support another person directly involved in education. It has also helped me become a better teacher because I find myself cleaning up my lesson plans and PowerPoints to make them better sellers, and better teaching tools in my classroom.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! I recently did a major design overhaul, I hope you enjoy the cleaner look. Help me spread the word about my Teachers Pay Teachers products, and in turn help me expand my house to fit my expanding family, by sharing this post with others. Thanks for stopping by!

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Elements of Art Worksheet Pack + TPT Sale

For the last three years, my best seller on my Teachers Pay Teachers website has been my hand drawn elements of art worksheet pack. I spent the summer of 2014 drawing out my elements of art, principles of design, and visual journal how to worksheets. I carefully drew them in pencil, spell checked, had my husband spell check, and finally traced over everything in sharpie. Next, everything was scanned in, edited, and uploaded to my store. Hours went into that product, but it has certainly paid off.

I have gotten a lot of great feedback and constructive criticism on my product. The biggest issue that has come up over the years is the legibility of my sheets. For the most part, they are fairly clear, but there are a few spots where text is squeezed in. In addition, students these days are more used to reading text off a screen than handwriting on a sheet of paper.

While I enjoy the handmade aspect of these products, I decided it was time to bring them up to the modern era. Over Christmas break I began digitally redesigning all of my element of art worksheets. This task proved more difficult than I expected. I not only wanted to give it a more legible look, but I also wanted to maintain a modern feel, and provide new information. For example, if my customers wanted to review the elements of art in their painting class, they could get an entire new set of worksheets to use in their classroom. I thought this would be fairly easy, but there is only so many ways you can explain value.

Once again hours were spent creating these new products, and finally, last night I uploaded the compilation pack of the seven worksheets. I love the new look and I am proud of the fact that the information was presented in a new way. A lot of the same things are covered, but with different explanations, examples, and applications. 

Like my original set, this pack includes the elements of art: color, line, shape, form, texture, value, and space. Each worksheet includes a color and black and white version of the front, and a back that tests the students’ understanding of the information on the front. These are great activities to get the students thinking about the elements and putting information to practice before final projects.

In addition to finally finished my updated elements of art worksheets, I am participating in the Teachers Pay Teachers end of school year sale. My entire store will be 20% off tomorrow (5/9/17) through Wednesday (5/10/17). That puts this pack at just $8.00.

If you haven’t checked out Teachers Pay Teachers yet, give it a try. There is nothing better than finding great resources for your classroom and supporting your fellow educators at the same time. The majority of my profits from my store go straight to my pocket, TPT only takes a small percentage, making all my time and effort well worth it.

We are almost there, summer is just around the corner.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about art education, teachers pay teachers, visual journaling, and crafting in general by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by.

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Teachers Pay Teachers Site Wide Sale: 20% off

Teachers Pay Teachers has become a more amazing opportunity than I ever thought possible. In less than 6 weeks hub and I will be on our way to Europe. We are headed to Munich, Berlin, and Amsterdam for a nine day tour, paid for in full by my fall Teachers Pay Teachers earnings. Not only am I proud of myself for this accomplishment, but I am incredibly grateful to all of my fellow teachers who have purchased my products. It’s the easiest thing to start doing. I simply take the lesson plans, PowerPoints, and worksheets I already spend time making for my classes, and upload them to TPT. You literally set it and forget it. Jumping on this bandwagon three years ago has created some amazing opportunities for me.

Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting a site wide sale starting tomorrow, 2/7/17, running through Wednesday, 2/8/17. I will be running 20% off all my products, which is huge if you have recently checked out my most expensive product, a year long. everything you need for every single day, Intro to Art pack for $75.00, marked down to $60.00.

I have also been busy posting some new items the last few weeks. Check out my shop here and details below!

My most recent product is one of my favorites, a “Save the Brushes” poster reminding students how to properly clean brushes. The photograph in the background are actual brushes my students have killed in the last year. Check out the poster and more details here.

I finally compiled all of my visual journal teaching tools into one bundle pack. This makes it cheaper and easier to get everything you need to introduce and maintain this project through multiple classes and levels of art courses. Check it out here.

Right now my team of Literary Magazine students are working on compiling all of our art and writing submissions into our annual magazine. I decided after putting together my multiple how to handouts, that this could be a good resource for teachers new to the Literary Magazine world. Check it out here.

After the success of my hand drawn Elements of Art and Principles of Design worksheets, I decided to make digital versions of them. This gives another version for teachers who have already tried my product to use in their classes, and a cleaner version for those who like this look better. I have already uploaded color, shape, line, and form, and am working on the remaining elements. Once they are all done I will bundle them for $10.00 for all seven worksheets, the same price as my hand drawn set. The Principles of Design will be next, be on the lookout in the coming months.

I have been working hard at my second job, adding to my TPT store. Although lately I have been spending most evenings creating and uploading products, once they are uploaded they can be continuously downloaded by shoppers without you needing to do anything. I am highly motivated at this point, I need spending money for my European vacation!

Thanks for all the support and for checking out my blog! Help me spread the word about art projects, Teachers Pay Teachers, visual journals, and art in general by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by![subscribe2]