1.22.2010

art masterpiece: lee-smith and hopper

Every other Wednesday I will head into 2 kindergarten classes to volunteer my time as an Art Masterpiece Guide. It is a program through the Mesa Public School district. Basically I give a short art history lesson with assigned prints.

This week was my first lesson. I was REALLY nervous. I don't get in front of people to speak often so, the idea of sitting in front of 2 classes of kids had me a little (okay, a lot) on edge. I even dressed in a black top so the kids wouldn't see me sweat. But, I shouldn't have worried. The kids were adorable. The were really excited to see me and do something different. They loved looking at the artwork, picking out the subject, colors, and expressing their feelings on the artwork. I told them a little about the artist but, mostly I asked open ended questions and let the kids speak.

Here are the prints I presented this week and what we learned in the process.

Boy with a Tire by Hughie Lee-Smith, 1952
  1. About the artist.
    Hughie Lee-Smith was born in Florida in 1915 and lived to be 85 years old. He painted with oil paints. He was a realistic painter of crumbling city life.

  2. What do you see in the painting?
    Boy, Tire, Eyes - The eyes are the most living part of the painting.

  3. What else do you see?
    Buildings – old, crumbling, empty.
    Windows – Empty, no light, no people, arches over windows.
    Road – No cars driving or parked on the street, rocks in the road, road not traveled much.
    Fence – Realistic can almost touch the wood.

  4. We talked about the “elements of design” in this painting. Line, Shape, Color, Texture, Space.

  5. The artist is communicating with you. He’s giving you a message. He wants you to think! Colors and textures give feeling to a painting. How does this painting make you feel? Sad, empty, lonely

  6. Why do you think the artist painted it? What was his message? He wants you to feel sad, uncomfortable. Why? He wants you to appreciate what you have, care about others and maybe do something to help people who are sad, empty and lonely.

    I was so excited when one of the girls in class got the message of this picture. She hit it right on the nose. She said "I think he wants you to be happy with what you have". Then we discussed how we can help others who are sad and lonely and by being a friend we could help make this little boy happy.

French Six Day Bicycle Racer by Edward Hopper, 1937

  1. About the Artist
    Edward Hopper was born in New York in 1882 (that’s 128 years ago!) and he lived to be 85 years old. He painted with oil paints. He was an America impressionist/realist painter. That means he painted people and places he saw in everyday life.

  2. What do you see in the painting?
    In this painting we are taken behind the scenes of a bicycle race. 2 men, the rider and helper. How do you know which one is the rider? He is wearing tights was the answer. We discussed why he wore tights and other athletes that wear tight uniforms.

  3. What else do you see?
    Bicycles – Shows the types of sporting event, bike race.
    Flag – Shows that he is a Frenchman since it is a French Flag.

    The rider is likely the Frenchman Alfred Letourner, one of the great six day bicycle champions during the time this was painted. He is best remembered for breaking the paced bicycle speed record in 1941.

  4. We talked about the “elements of design” in this painting: Line, Shape, Color, Texture, Space.

  5. The artist is communicating with you. He’s giving you a message. He wants you to think! Colors and textures give feeling to a painting. How does this painting make you feel? Still, focused, resting to gain energy for next race.

  6. Why do you think the artist painted it? What was his message? He shows you how an athlete feels behind the scenes in the world of sports when the excitement and cheers of the crowd are absent.
I learned so much about the artwork while researching about it and from the kids feedback, which was awesome. I love to learn. I even dreamed of being an art teacher in training last night. Hmm ... I had a feeling getting involved in this program would have me thinking ...

2 comments:

Christine said...

It is so wonderful that you volunteer in this way! It sounds like fun for you and a great activity for the kids. I bet Ethan was so proud of having his Mom in his class. I guess I am assuming that you went to his class.

Kristen (Creative Stash) said...

Yep, I went to Ethan's class and one other kindergarten class. They were really excited and I had a lot of fun too. It's nice to be able to pair my love for art with doing something nice for Ethan and the kids at his school.