Sunday, March 6, 2011

Alexander Calder Inspired Circus Animal Sculptures and Drawings

     Our second grade artists just completed a unit about American sculptor Alexander Calder's Circus.  Before introducing the lesson to the students, I started by just showing them photographs of different animals (elephants, tigers, giraffes, dogs, parrots, and a mouse).  We discussed the similarities and differences between the animals and what special features each one had that an artist would need to include when they were making an artwork of the animal.  Then, without looking at the animal photos, the students followed my verbal instructions:
Begin by drawing a line for the ground at the bottom of your paper.
Draw an elephant standing on the ground.
Draw a giraffe standing on top of the elephant.
Draw a tiger standing on top of the giraffe.
Draw a dog standing on top of the tiger.
Draw a parrot standing on top of the dog.
Draw a mouse running by on the ground.
Add additional details to help viewers understand that your drawing is of a circus.

    Students completed these whimsical drawings in about 10 minutes, and then spent a little more time outlining, coloring with crayons, and painting with watercolors.

     To continue the unit, we watched video clips of Alexander Calder performing his miniature circus and discussed his work.  The kids were fascinated by the sculptures that could move and interact with one another in the artist's miniature circus.  For their sculptures, we started by making little clay pinch pots that we flipped upside down to create circus stools.  Then the kids chose their favorite animal from their animal tower drawings to sculpt.  The artists were challenged to make their animals interact with their circus stools in some way.  The sculptures were finished with semi-moist underglazes and clear glaze. 

THANK YOU to Miss Christina G. who won an art contest to "draw your own sun" with 8th Continent Soy Milk and won our school a Dick Blick art supplies gift card!  Christina came early to school a few times and helped me plan this lesson, and she chose the underglazes from Dick Blick's web site to order and use for these artworks!

1 comment:

Inspired Montessori said...

Love these! Please see our clay projects!