Warhol: From Finger Paint to Computer Art

Article excerpt

Okay, I'll admit it ... I was art technophobic! I had no idea when the school year started that my fear would be challenged. My student teacher and I saw the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. As we walked through the show, we looked at each other and said simultaneously, "We have to do this as a lesson!"

We spent our entire trip home brainstorming. My student teacher suggested we use computer art. In my creative fervor, I said yes without even thinking. When I had time to reflect, I began to break out in a cold sweat. What about the cost, logistics, and preparation?

My artroom is located on the small stage in the school cafeteria where I teach 900 students every six days. These conditions make teaching art a unique challenge every day. How could I make a meaningful art lesson that would creatively incorporate computer art? How could I keep the spirit of elementary art alive in the process?

Integration and Planning

By using the technology resource teacher as a partner, my curriculum planning became far richer. We identified three main components for the lessons: color theory, the art of Andy Warhol, and the integration of social studies and technology from the grade level curriculum.

My original plan was to extend a fifth grade self-portrait lesson into a lesson on the computer, a natural connection to Andy Warhol. During the planning process, I realized that we could also incorporate third grade by using the social studies curriculum about Greek and Roman architecture.

With no budget for software, I discovered a free Web site, www. irfanview.com. The site allowed the options needed to complete the project and enhance student learning.

In the first part of the lesson, students compared the primary colors of paint with the primary colors of light (red, green, and blue). This provided background knowledge for the computer portion of the lesson. Projects using this color theory then focused on Andy Warhol and the Pop Art movement. …