Art 1 started a new unit this past week. They are learning about informal balance and ways that artists can created a balanced image that is not symmetrical. We likened it to being on a see-saw as a child with your much bigger older brother and how much better it would be if both sides weighed the same. How could you balance out the see-saw if you were stuck with your bigger older brother and not someone your size? We learned that warm colors are heavier than cool colors, dark values weigh more than light, rough textures over smooth textures, and many others.
From there I introduced the project. Each student was to be given a cardboard egg carton that I had been saving over the past 2 years. Then they were to form a group of 2 or 3 students. Their problem to solve in their group artwork was to create something that was balanced, but not symmetrical. They needed to use any and/or all of the different techniques that we talked about.
A student asked me, “Is this 2-D or 3-D?” I turned to him and said, “I don’t know, you tell me.” I could see the the wheels and gears in their heads start to turn. I see that some of them were excited. I could see that some were scared. I was both. What would the end products look like? Would I be able to pull off a choice-based project? Would the kids be receptive to this? (I am sure that perhaps you are asking what is choice-based? You can find out more here and here. The second link is to the first part in a 5 part series about choice-based art in the high school classroom. I invite you to read all 5 parts.)
Today was a crazy day in the art room during my first session of art 1. I had kids cutting and painting (both traditionally and with spray paint) and gluing and planning. It was chaos and it was awesome. Everyone was working (with the exception of one student.) Their artworks were all different. They were exploring different things. They were collaborating. They were behaving like artists. I am tired, but I loved it. Tomorrow I do need to start to walk around and talk with the groups about their plans to make sure they are keeping the problem of informal balance in mind with their artworks. But until then, I will have a smile on my face as I think about the awesomeness that occurred during period 2 today. I hope periods 6 and 7 are the same.