I swear I really do have good intentions to try and make myself into a serious artist, or at least more respectable. I try pushing myself to learn and incorporate new artistic techniques I usually start off very “civilized,” with only my charcoal pencils and eraser on my desk, intent on sketching. But without fail, every time, I end up sprawled on the floor with every color and every paint bottle I own opened and mixed together on what will ultimately end up in the “unfinished artwork” pile. I don’t know how to do subtle and classy (in art and in life) and I am jealous of creative professionals such as artists, designers and architects, who create organic, sleek, and timeless designs that say more using a few simple lines then any loud, rainbow I poop out because “I like these colors.” Mostly I envy Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe brains work: , or at least my perceived idea of how one must fun must have functioned in order to create what they did
that is to say, works the completely opposite from the continual free for all going on in my head.
Off track again,
This abstract art project first started forming when I was teaching art to 2nd-4th graders after school at the elementary school I worked at. I was coming up with art lessons that incorporated the different concepts the students were learning in math, reading and science, specifically, learning the names of shapes and polygons. Instead of drawing out the shapes or numbering the sides of shapes on worksheets I had the kids take some of their leftover art scraps from a previous watercolor project and made it in to a game, because kids love games and so do I.
All you need is the following:
1) scissors and glue sticks
3) a ruler or straight edge
4) pencil to trace lines of shapes
5) heavy weight white colored paper
6) abstract painted scraps or colored construction paper works just as well if you don’t want to or don’t have time to make some watercolor painted art scraps.
okay, so there’s a super simple way you can do this or way that is more involved if you are using this in an organized classroom setting…
the simpler, less involved way for older students, and inspiring artists. I like to do this activity for myself when I am stuck in a rut and thinking about it to much.when I need to refresh and restart and try something that I might not otherwise do…
the kid friendly way:
1. Break students up into groups of two, (or students can also play the game without a partner just as easily.) Each student needs their own scissors, pencil and ruler to trace and cut out the different shapes. Each group will need a dice.
2. Depending on the age range of kids and their knowledge of shapes, have students trace and cut out at least 6 of each shape that they know (triangles, hexagons, squares, rectangles…circles even) You can also make a group of 6 or so random shapes to add for fun.
3) Have them take turns rolling the dice to see how many of each shape they individually get. For example one student may roll a 4 for Triangles, so chooses 4 triangles from his/her triangle pile and the other student may get 6 Triangles…ect…it adds to the spontaneity of the game and teaches an important lesson about making abstract art…that most anything goes 🙂 I make myself roll the dice when I do this activity for myself so I always end up with uniquely different art pieces each time.
The above picture is an example of what you could end up with..it’s my group from the last time i tried this..and you can always do this with whatever shapes you can come up with…I think the more different shapes you can come up with the more interesting things turn out.
4) For the kid’s game version, what I did in the past was simply explain that each student has to take turns putting a shape on the paper, and the only rule is that at least one side of each shape is touching another shape. Encourage students to work quickly, and to choose each shape and place it on the paper. Once the shape is down on the paper, they can’t pick it back up or hesitate..its all about going with your gut and learn to collaborate with peers to create something. Some of my personal favorite finished pieces are the ones where I went at lightening speed and didn’t spend time making sure each shape went perfectly with the other…this way you force yourself to try things you might not do otherwise!
5) After everyone has run out of shapes from their pile…tell them they get to roll the dice one more time and what ever number you roll is the amount of “adjustments” you can make to the finished product.