K – 5G, February 6-10
We began our time together with stories about the artists Earl Cunningham and Roy Lichtenstein. The stories helped bring back memories for the 4th graders of their field-trip to the Mennello Museum where these artists were being showcased. For the rest of the students, the stories led to a basic understanding of folk art and pop art.
Earl Cunningham (1893-1977) is a Florida folk artist who tells personal stories through his paintings of memories growing up by the sea in Maine, his travels down the eastern coast of the United States and later living in Florida. We began to recognize icons in his paintings. Icons are simple, easily recognizable images that represent deeper, more detailed history and ideas. Birds, water and boats are some of Cunningham’s icons. We had fun looking for them in several of his pictures. These images give us an understanding of where he came from and what’s important to him. Our OJA artists, worked like folk artists, drawing personal stories that tell us about their life experiences, including icons that hint at important interests and hold deeper meaning.
We discussed what it means to be an art patron. In one class we acted out scenes from the 1st meeting of Mrs. Mennello and Mr. Cunningham. She nurtured and financially supported Cunningham’s work. The Mennello Museum of American Folk Art was created to provide a home to display his artwork. It’s vision has expanded to showcase other artists’ work. A recent exhibit included Roy Lichtenstein and other Pop Artists.
Roy Lichtenstein (1923 -1997) gave us an opportunity to talk about and experiment with art and popular culture. The two influence each other. Artists’ work can open a window that makes it easier for us to see and understand what’s going on in the world around us. We used oil pastels to make Pop-Art Valentines with heart icons boldly and simply representing our love for our families!
Henri Matisse’s (1869-1954) cutout designs loosely showed images from life. As we looked at his collage work we’re reminded some of pop-art images. Roy Lichtenstein also provided a springboard for us to study color theory with bold, simple images. As we worked with primary colors, the students were encouraged to use different tools like sponges, tile, netting, plastic and pipe cleaners to create textures on their paper. The finished color panels are vibrant abstract works of art that are ready for a frame!
It’s been great working with the students this week as they’ve learned new skills and nurtured their creativity. – Mrs. Bromme