This semester is off to a great start. We have already studied two artists and the kids have been exposed to multiple mediums. We started the semester with the artist Gustav Klimt.
There are a few reasons why I chose this artist as our first to study. I wanted to start off the semester by introducing line as one of the basic elements of art. Gustav Klimt used various types of line in his work. He was an essential artist during the Art Noveau Movement during the 19th Century, which literally meant "New".
Later, Klimt became a founding father and president of “the Vienna Secession”, which was a group of artists who wanted to break away from traditional art exhibitions. They were intent on creating an environment for the unconventional young artist. They created no manifesto and did not encourage any particular style. The Vienna Secessionists wanted their art to represent something beyond the canvas and therefore used bright colors, swirling lines, curves, patterns, repetitive shapes, and had mosaic appearances.
You can see in The Kiss to the right how the garments of the lovers are adorned with simple shapes. We talked about the elements of shape in class. These are straight lines, curvy lines, circles, dots, and angled lines and when put together can form a shape. In these portraits you can see how Klimt used simple shapes as decoration which, due to their size and quantity, brought together to form an ornate pattern. For me, this is the emphasis of his artwork. Then you see a portrait of a beautiful woman's face, which makes the art even more fascinating.
The Tree of Life (1909) positioned below was the inspiration peice for our second and third graders. I love this piece. There is a lot going on in this story and the art offers so much in the form of line for the kids to get creative. I demoed a drawing of the tree in class and then asked them to draw it on their paper. Then I asked that they used gold paint to color the tree because Klimt used gold leaf during his Golden Phase which was marked by positive acclaim. Then I asked that they decorate their tree using white oil pastel using line, simple shapes and patterns. The K-1 class had a similar project execpt I had them draw a SUPER simple cat. Klimt loved cats and it was said that a cat could be found in the studio. After we drew our kitties we painted them gold and decorated them using the simple line patterns, shapes, googlie eyes, and sparkles.
As for our older kids I gave them a demo on
how to draw and upclose view of a cats face. We painted their eyes different colors, some were gold others were green, red and orange. I had some students use the elements of shape to define the cats facial features and other used long sweeping lines to build the cats fur. The projects overall came out beatutiful and I am super proud of this lesson.