Sunday, September 14, 2014

From the archives.... Yianna and Helios in Russia


Back in the winter (?) of last year,  our traveling friends, Yianna and Helios sent us a message from the snowy streets, Russia.  The message was sent at the most perfect time, because the Olympics had just started.  Russia has an incredibly rich history of art, dance, theatre and music, coupled with cultural traditions.  From historical monuments and buildings, to the artists that influenced Russian history, my students, inquisitively, followed Yianna and Helios through art, history and just a little mystery.

Thinking back, as a warm up we looked at the amazing artistry of the hand painted eggs through the experience of children's author Patricia Polacco and her story of Rechenka's Eggs.  Amazingly enough, I found the story on Vimeo through Reading Rainbow!  

Love it.

Although in art class, this portion of the art unit as delivered and executed a bit differently, I created a quick resource for my classroom teachers: Russian Eggs.  This allowed not only my students to learn and connect but all students (hopefully).  

Our exploration of art, artist and art-making lead to Wassily Kandinsky and his abstract expressionist paintings, created from lines, shapes and colors.  Considering, Kandinsky is a very popular artists among elementary art teachers (and in general), there are a lot of resources out there (see below).  For my students' purposes, I wanted my students to independently choose the Kandinsky style that worked best for them.  
We started by comparing two of his paintings, observing, describing and discussing the differences and similarities. 

Before starting our art works, we watched a truly vintage recording from 1926, in which Kandinsky is seen using a brush and ink to sketch an idea or start a drawing.

Well, that sparked our beginning process as we created our own, very unique drawings.

By looking at the photographs, you can probably tell that we used all sorts of materials that suited our needs.  Students made choices, they initiated their explorations and they took ownership of their work.
In the end, from just little "Kandinsky" drawings, they really made self-portraits.  Each students personality and character just came screaming out!


See you back in the 

xoxo, SMocK you.