Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fine Art Class #5 ~ Edgar Degas (Body Movement)

What little girl doesn't want to look at art of ballet dancers?? The girls were all jumping up and down about doing this lesson. We started the lesson off with a little bit of background about Edgar Degas and his life in France, and his travels. Degas was also the first artist we have studied where we focused a bit on the mediums he used. He was born and lived most of his life in France, and loved drawing, painting, sculpting, and many other types of art. We talked about what 'medium' meant in art (a supply to make art) and the kids all named off different mediums they have used; crayons, paint, clay, glue, and even pine cones were mentioned. I didn't correct any of it. They are all mediums. :)

Then we read the book Degas and the Tiny Dancer. This book made me cry. It did the first time I read it to Cyan too. It is bittersweet, but very real and talks about Degas going blind at the end of his life and a little dancer who has a dream that never comes true the way she wants... but how Degas uses her as a model for his most famous sculpture and so she becomes the most famous dancer in the world. Again, this led back to art mediums... in this sculpture this clay person is wearing real ballet shoes and a real ballet dress complete with tutu. The kids thought this was fascinating (and it reinforced that pine cones were an art medium. lol!).

The Little Dancer Fourteen Years Old by Edgar Degas

Then we started talking about form. Now most of these kids are 7 and 8, so I didn't go into a lot... but we did talk about the classic stick figure, and how it doesn't move realistically. And about joints and how when you move, your joints all have to move as well. Realistic movements make a picture go from cartoon, to more real very quickly. So we worked with the body forms to copy the pictures we saw in the books about Degas.

Putting Pen to Paper

We picked one that we enjoyed the look of, and showed all of the joints in the body perfectly (we did not try to get hands or feet joints... just the big ones) and then the kids and I set out to copy that body form using our artists eyes (our 'artists eyes' are very careful about details).

As you can see, in the drawing, after we had covered the basics, we talked about how clothing and hair show the movement of the picture as well.

The kids absorb an AMAZING amount of the information I am giving them. It is just fantastic. Each one of these stick people has all the main joints, moving realistically. I watched their stick figures gain curves and definition (along with hair!) before my eyes. This is one lesson where I wished I had had more time. The mamas showed up and the kids were completely absorbed in their drawings. They were adding clothes, hair, color, etc, and did not want to stop. It warmed my heart to see them so interested. I can't wait to see the art they come back with next week!


Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Beautiful!! They did such an amazing job! I love reading about your fine art class. It looks like so much fun and it's so educational!

Bona Fide Mama said...

i want to take a class like this. it's super cool!

Sybille said...

It's great! I love your art job!

Sarah said...

So sad we had to miss this class! I just read your blog post to Hannah and will to Elias in a bit. If you have the 'Degas and the Little Dancer' book on hand could we perhaps borrow it this week?

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Of course Sarah! I will bring it to the kids after orchestra class. :)


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Tamara Hammer-Furbert said...

Thank you for this inspiration. I am doing an art after school club next term and would love to try this with the children.

Please tell me, where did you get the wooden figure from?