Thursday, January 05, 2017

From the Art Docent: Focal Point

Third Grade Art Wall

Straight off of holiday break and into art mode. Today I taught the kids about focal point while exploring oil pastels (and some soft) as a medium. I referred to two resources for this assignment:
Five Ways to Create a Focal Point in Artwork by The Virtual Instructor
 smART Class: Drawing Steps for One Point Perspective

 The Virtual Instructor says, "Focal points refer to the areas of the artwork that demand the viewer's attention." How is this done? Here are four ways:
1.) Contrast with color, shape, form, texture, matter how, just make it different.
2.) Separate the object from the group...set it apart.
3.) Strategic placement is important. In the middle? Or will it get more attention off to the side?
4.) Point to it by using implied lines or with visible ones.

We studied one image called "Wheat Field with Crows" by the master, Vincent Van Gogh. I also showed pictures from Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" and asked the kids to share with the class what they thought the focal point was and why. Fun discussion!

Then we were off and running.
1.) Draw a border about 1" inside the paper, to frame the beautiful artwork and to ultimately keep the artists from coloring off the page onto the table. Then, super important: name on paper.
2.) Draw an 'x' from corner to corner with a pencil. No rulers, no erasing...we're going organic with this one.
3.) In one side triangle, fill with a row of trees, still using pencil. Big in the front, getting smaller to the point in the middle to show distance.
4.) On the opposite side, draw lines from top to bottom within the triangle space and add windows, doors, bricks to make it look like buildings...once again big toward the edge of the paper and getting smaller toward the middle.
5.) Front and center triangle is the road. Add a sidewalk and dotted line down the middle.
6.) Top triangle is the it dark? Need a moon with stars? Is it daytime with a sun?
7.) ...And BOOM! Stop talking and start coloring.

Focal Point Assignment
Oil Pastels

Some questions and comments the kids had:
Q.) Do I have to do it that way?
A.) No. I've told you the lesson and how you choose to interpret the assignment is up to you. Try a waterway with fish. Think of different it winter in your world? Summer? Day, night? What details do you want to add?

Q.) He's not doing it right. He's coloring his trees red.
A.) He's the master of his own artwork. If the master says the trees are red, so be it.

Q.) Do you get paid to do this, or are you a volunteer?
A.) I volunteer my time, so we can have fun exploring art together.
Whispers to his neighbor: This isn't her REAL job.

Lol, I'm making fun. The kids are great and we have a blast during the one-hour class. It goes by fast, and I love seeing what they come up with. I'm already looking forward to the next one.

"Gondola on the Venetian Lagoon"

"Sunset Highway"

"If we don't have a sense of humor, we lack a sense of perspective." ~ Wayne Thiebaud

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