Each of the 5th graders has now completed — or nearly so — a personal kind of Impressionist painting by studying the work of the Impressionists (Monet, Sisley, Morisot, Pissarro), copying one of their paintings, and then altering the image to include a personal item which reflects something about each student’s own interests or passions.
After making a basic sketch of the landscape earlier in the first semester, the students started by painting variations of the dominant color (mixed by hand on each student’s own palette) and then developed the painting using the Impressionist technique, using many tints and complementary colors, and creating dark areas and shadows without using the color black and by creating their own browns. One major emphasis was for the students to become independent studio artists: to be able to manage their materials and decision-making, all while continually reflecting on their artwork, taking risks with media and techniques, and being open-minded as they attempted new processes and ideas.
The 5th graders have been working to develop a personal kind of Impressionist painting by studying the work of the Impressionists (Monet, Sisley, Morisot, Pissarro), copying one of their paintings, and then altering the image to include a personal item which reflects something about their own interests or passions. After making a basic sketch of the landscape, the students started by painting variations of the dominant color (mixed by hand on each student’s own palette) and then developing the painting using the Impressionist technique, using many tints, and creating dark areas and shadows without using the color black.
Along with painting and discussing the contributions of the Impressionists to the art world, the 5th graders took time to reflect on themselves as well. After considering the PYP learner profile (CARING, COMMUNICATOR, RISK-TAKER, PRINCIPLED, KNOWLEDGEABLE, THINKER, INQUIRER, REFLECTIVE, OPEN-MINDED, BALANCED), each student selected which two words best describes him/herself in art class and then wrote a brief explanation of this self-reflection.
The 5th graders have been looking at the Impressionist painters and their very different way of looking at the world. Just as these 19th century artists chose to incorporate their own world into their artwork (rather than focus on traditional subject matter), so the 5th graders are creating a way of inserting a bit of lives and their interests into their paintings. Having worked for several weeks to learn to mix colors on their color wheels and charts (primary colors, secondary colors, tints, shades, and complementary colors), each student has now chosen a particular Impressionist painting to copy – in the style and palette of the Impressionists – and also to alter so as to personalize the artwork.
In order to understand how the Impressionists’ painting technique differed from others, the fifth graders watched this short instructional video. It emphasizes the use of small, short brushstrokes, dots, and dabs, in many variations of a single color over the application of large areas of a single color.
The 5th graders — following along the lines of their current unit (the central idea that scientific discoveries have evolved over time and shape the future) — have learned about the significant events and technological inventions of the late 19th century which had many consequences for the art world. Art was never the same after the Impressionist painters responded to the scientific and cultural changes of their day, and the 5th graders shared these circumstances with one another verbally before then beginning to create their own (soon-to-be-personalized) Impressionist landscapes. The following clip is what the students watched and worked from in art class as they began to understand how artists look at a scene and transcribe it onto paper or canvas.
Here the 5th graders are working on two introductory assignments:
Students may use this instructional video at home as a method of practicing the skills they are learning during art class.
The 5th graders are now designing and drawing small double-sided cards which are autobiographical in nature — communicating not only some basic information about each student but also revealing (in unique images) some of their personal needs and desires. The students are challenged to select the 3 things they would bring with them to a deserted island and to invent/create/depict a machine or device with an important function of their own choosing.