Illuminate Your Life with Art-History Lampshades
Skophammer, Karen, Arts & Activities
A great way for students to learn about artists and remember what they have learned is to incorporate hands-on work into their art-history lesson. I wanted my middle-school stu- t dents to research painting styles of artists and then remember what they had learned. Out of that desire came this lesson.
I had my students bring lampshades to school. I had explained to the students a few weeks prior to this unit of study that we would each need a lampshade. I told them it could be an old one from home or they could get one from a thrift store or garage sale. It could be any size, any shape and any color. I didn't give them any more information than that because I wanted to raise their curiosity level. (A couple of students couldn't find a lampshade, so they improvised and made one from tag board.)
The day the lesson started, I showed the students several lampshades in several different shapes and sizes. I also showed them a few I found on a Web site that were painted and designed in a "funky" manner. Then, I explained that we would be doing research on famous artists and their styles in the library using computers, books and magazines.
Each student was to choose an artist whose style he/she liked, because each student was going to design and paint a lampshade in that artist's style.
Next, to give the students added incentive, I showed them a lampshade I had painted in the style of Henri Matisse. After showing the lampshade to the students, they were ready to get started. I had never seen them so anxious about art history!
When we returned to the art room with information and examples of the artists work in hand, I demonstrated priming the lampshades with gesso. We did this to seal the material so the paint would not seep through. This works in the same way you would prime a canvas before painting it. White latex wall paint can also be used.
When the gesso was dry, the students began to sketch their design onto the lampshades. This was a unique experience because while all of the students have drawn or painted on flat canvas, none of them had done dimensional Am painting in this manner before. …