Monday, September 13, 2010

Ancient Art Lesson

In our co-op Art History Lesson last week we talked about how ancient people made art and WHY. We had a great discussion, looking at lots of examples from historic art and cave paintings.

Then, we went outside to make some paint like ancient people might have used. We talked about papyrus, looked at some handmade paper, and talked about the tools that would've been available to use & how paper would've been made.

We crushed up rocks and chalk.
We crushed up berries with rocks. A couple students spotted some sunflowers in a field and picked them, crushed their petals and made some great yellow paint also. The rest of the flower made a great paintbrush.
We didn't take the time to mix in some thickeners like egg and Crisco (animal fat) like ancient people might have done. Actually, they would probably have cooked the paint too. We talked about making brushes out of animal hair, we used sticks (or fingers) to paint onto our paper.

Our creations weren't exactly things of beauty, but it was more about the discovery and the experience. It was kind of messy, too, but they came back into class talking about different vegetables they could crush up for other colors. I have fond memories of doing this as a kid when I lived in west Texas with the red dirt. Hopefully they'll think differently about paint! One of my main goals in this class is to get them thinking differently about art. When you see art you shouldn't just look at it on the surface, but look at it with "artist eyes" considering also the tools used to create it.

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