Sunday, October 23, 2016

Art History: Ancient Egypt

In Art History, once we finished up with prehistoric art, we moved on to Mesopotamia and then Ancient Egypt.  So far, even though we only meet every other day, we are keeping on track extremely well with my planned out timeline for the school year.  We have three more weeks left for the first quarter and my goal is to cover Ancient Greece by the 10 week marking period.  We just finished with the Minoans and Mycenaean, and will be starting Greece on Tuesday this week.

Here is my student's diorama for Egypt, as well as her essay.  At this point, I will start going through her essays to point out areas that she could elaborate on her ideas, and I plan on teaching her the Chicago style of citations (footnotes and end notes).  For her next essay, I'm going to require her to use citations as well as cite the textbook we are using in her essay.  We will build slowly from there!

         Ancient Egypt is, by far, one of the most impressive cultures in history.  From the sky-high pyramids, to the mummification of their dead, tot he solar religion system, Egypt has obviously amazed archaeologists, historians and even artists for centuries.  The ancient Egyptian style of art is shown through paintings and carvings on the inside of pyramid walls, sculptures created to honor gods and the dead, and the actual structure of their buildings, such as pyramids.  Throughout this unit, I learned all about the culture of Egypt, which helped to further my understanding of the artwork from this time period.  The ancient Egyptians used techniques that differentiate their art from other cultures around this time, such as the canon of proportions--a twisted perspective of the human body, showing a front view of the shoulders and torso, a side view of the head, hips and legs, and identical hands.  Gods and goddesses are shown with human bodies and animal heads in all Egyptian artwork.  What truly amazed me about the Egyptians is their idea of permanence.  Temples and artwork alike were created very strategically and with much thought in order to assure that they would last forever.  This idea is also shown through the mummification of the dead, as a way to prepare their people for a permanent afterlife.  Ancient Egypt has had a great impact on the world of history, religion, and art.

          For my Ancient Egypt project, I I decided to decorate a diorama to look like the inside of a pyramid.  To achieve the ancient pyramid feel, I used spray paint in yellow and red to create a golden look to the pyramid walls on both the inside and outside of my diorama.  Inside, I painted a large depiction of Egyptian artwork on the back wall, with two men and a god shown in a line.  To make this look extremely realistic, I used the cannon of proportions to paint the figures.  Their heads are shown from a side view, although their bodies appear to be from the front view.  The god I painted has a bird mask for a head, as Ancient Egyptian art depicted gods and goddesses with animal heads.  On the two side walls of my pyramid, I painted hieroglyphics as a writing form, but the writing style they sued includes shapes of objects rather than letters.  Symbols I used include the eye, hands, and a turtle. I also created an Egyptian pharaoh in a sarcophagus out of modeling clay, dusted with gold and blue pigments to give it a shiny appearance.  Surrounding the Egyptian sarcophagus are four jars, also made out of clay, which would have been used to hold the mummy's stomach, liver, intestines, and lungs.  These jars are decorated to represent the head of the mummy.  Ancient Egyptian culture has had a major impact on cultures throughout history, and the world.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Visual Journals 5 Weeks: Mind Map

The final visual journal assignment that was due at the five week marking period was called Mind Map.  I asked students to take this right brain / left brain quiz and then illustrate their results. (There is also an app for the iPad for this particular quiz.)  This, of course, required them to do a little research to understand what the right and left parts of the brain did.  This project really stressed a lot of them out.  If they didn't know what it meant to be right brained, they would ask me, and I would tell them, "Go look it up on the iPad." Which would result in a lot of whining. Some days, I literally had to tell them not to ask me any questions, consult the document in Google Classroom, or ask their friends, at least with the 7th graders.  (My 7th graders this year is a pretty needy group...perfectionists...almost feels like they've been hand-fed and they aren't used to doing things on their own anymore...we are slowly breaking down that barrier in the art room!)
Now, I know that there are some arguments out there that the right brain / left brain theory is an old one and doesn't apply anymore, but I think there is value to this.  First, I wanted students to have an unbiased idea of how they think.  Most thought they would be left brained, but when they took the quiz THE FIRST TIME, it showed they were more right brained.  (Obviously, they would then take the quiz again and skew their if you do this with your students, only allow them to take the quiz ONCE.)  Many were surprised that they were 50/50.  Some weren't surprised at all that they were mostly left brained.  Once they took the quiz, we were able to talk a bit about what that meant for them in art class.  If they are more left brained and mathematical, I would expect that they may like to draw using grids and rulers...perfectly ok!  I had hoped that by doing this assignment, it would put them more in tune with how they think and what comes more naturally to them so that they could then apply that thinking to their assignments.

Here is my finished Mind Map assignment.  :)

One of the few students who didn't want to use a brain in their image.

Absolutely loved this one!!!  Though I think she may have skewed her results because she definitely has more right brain in her than she thinks she does!

One of my Drawing & Painting students.  Absolutely love her take on this assignment!  She's the only one who actually used a head!

Drawing & Painting student with an AMAZING line drawing!

7th grader...the same with the fabulous graffiti name from the previous post.

Now, again, many of these weren't horribly interesting with design, using mixed media, or brimming with creativity, but they were a great place for us to start having a conversation as a class and to work on critiquing ourselves and others.  Later this week, it's my goal to have students upload these to Artsonia using classroom mode and answer a few questions to write their artist statements, and then look at what the students created from the other classes.  Round one of visual journal assignments is OVER!

Visual Journals 5 Weeks: Name Design (Picture HEAVY Post)

Here is assignment #2 from the first batch of visual journals assignments due at the five week marking period.  The second assignment was a name design on the inside front cover and first page (that two-page spread requirement).  Like the cover, it was supposed to be mixed media, and the only other requirement was that the student had to somehow show themselves in the design (like a self-portrait...but it didn't have to be an actual picture or drawing of themselves).  Here is a variety of the student designs!

On many of these, I did blur out names so that first and last names weren't showing.  If you come across an image that looks weird and blurred in unexpected places, that is why. ;)

The student's last name, which is blurred out, really balanced this out well...blurring his name doesn't do it justice!

Collaged background with acrylic name.

An amazing 7th grader I have!  He has always admired the graffiti art when we do it as an elementary student...needless to say he is really excited to get to the graffiti unit!

This student used the acrylic spray paint I have, oil pastel, and then used some really cool fabric tape to make his name!

Acrylic paint...not mixed media, but this girl has amazing craftsmanship with paint!

Again, many students missed the boat with the mixed media aspect of this, but I know they are going to improve.  We have some pretty solid designs in terms of composition, we just need to work on experimenting and being opening to making mistakes and learning how to fix them.  You can see my name design (and cover design) on the first informational post I did about these assignments, with my rubric, here.