Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Paul Klee and Egypt

The purpose of this lesson is to give children a chance to think critically about two of Paul Klee's grid paintings, Red and White Domes and Legend of the Nile, and to produce a project using his techniques that evokes a feeling of Egypt. This ties a little bit into Egypt units in that it is an art project that focuses on capturing either the heat of the Egyptian desert or the cool of the Nile river.

Using the Paul Klee slideshow, skip through the color wheel slides and focus on the 2 paintings shown above. Give the kids a bit of background info about Paul Klee (1879-1940)- he was Swiss, and never thought he was a very good painter - although now he is considered one of the most important artists of his time. He admired the art of children for its directness and loved using color as his primary language. Also he used symbols that he made up as a way of communicating what he wanted his pictures to say to viewers. Fun fact: during WW1, he had a job painting camouflage on german war planes. Guide a discussion using the VTS technique and talk a bit about each painting: what's going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can you find? 

bowls, brushes, water, watercolor paper, liquid watercolor

-Have the kids make a grid with pencil. Not too many squares or else they will never finish - maybe 5 lines going down and 6 lines across. They don't have to be straight at all. Give them like 15 seconds to do this.

-Then have them think about what they'd like to paint. Do they want to make a picture that is hot/land - using warm colors to evoke the dry desert climate of Egypt? or cool/water - using cool colors to evoke the Nile river? Brainstorm together some symbols related to either: fish, pyramids, hieroglyphics, snakes, boats, etc.

-On top of their grid, with pencil, have them draw some symbols that are meaningful to them related to their choice of water/land.

-Then, if they are land, have them use warm colors alternately to fill in the squares of their grids. if they are water, have them use cool colors. then - at the very end, have them use opposite colors to fill in their symbols.

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