Friday, May 12, 2017

Drawing and Painting like Degas

 We planted sunflower seeds in the garden.
 If we are lucky by summer we will have a field like Van Gogh's painting.
We have had classical music playing in the classroom.
Listening to the music made us think of the ballet, and inspired some of us to dance.
Morah Katie: Why have we been dancing in addition to painting this week?
Mason: The ballet.
Lochlan: The ballerinas. 
Sadie: The new artist.
Matan: Claude Monet.
Morah Katie: The artist of the week was good friends with Claude Monet. How are they different?
Olivia: Monet painted outside.
Lochlan: He paints ballerinas.
Morah Katie: Who remembers the name of the painter who painted ballerinas?
Lochlan/Sadie: Edgar Degas.
We learned Degas made sketches of his painting subjects before he painted.
We discovered we could draw and paint ballerinas like Degas.
Morah Katie: What shapes do we need to draw ballerinas?
Mason: The head is a circle.
Olivia: Or an oval.
Sadie: Rectangle for belly.
Lochlan: A modified triangle for the skirt.  NO point.
Matan: Lines for the legs.
Emily: Arms are lines.
We discovered that Degas said this about drawing:
One must repeat the same subject ten times, a hundred times.
It was good to learn that even Degas had to practice his drawing.
For each of the 3 painters we have studied, I have encouraged the children to choose a painting and to try to paint it.
We learned that Degas would often spend time in museums copying the painting he saw. 
Morah Katie: It is interesting that Degas practiced painting the same way I have been encouraging you all to practice: Copying your favorite paintings.
I asked the children what colors and shapes they saw in the paintings.
It required patient, careful attention. 
Trying to make a copy of a master painting can be intimidating, 
my hope was to entice the children to take a risk and experience their capabilities.  
Lochlan's copy of Degas' "Two Ballerinas (detail)" demonstrates the ultimate goal:
 "I just did my best. Those are the colors I saw. 
I saw a little green so I added the green.
It was dark up top.  I just did my best."

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