Friday, October 4, 2013

Say it with an Italian Accent: ARCIMBOLDO!

Adorable, isn't it?  This is another drag-n-brag lesson from my fall state conference.  Drag-n-brag is a huge crush of art teachers running around a room where other art teachers have little mini-displays and lessons set up (think of a science fair).  I usually bring something, so I have very little time to actually talk to anyone about their lesson.  All of us who brought something run around before Rebecca opens the door to the crowd grabbing every lesson plan we can, and hoping the lesson plan is SUPER DESCRIPTIVE.  This was one of those lessons.
I made a Smart Notebook lesson that you can download here. It's only a few pages (3? 4?) about the Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo.  The students go through the Smart Notebook lesson with me, then I pick a quiet, attentive person to make their bizarre invention on the Smartboard first.  While that person is playing working hard, everyone else gets 16 2 x 4 inch green papers (light and dark green) and draws leaves on them with crayon, trying to touch each side so their leaves won't be teeny-tiny.  The person at the Smartboard gets a few minutes to create their face, then they choose a quiet, hard working person to go next. The fruits and vegetables on the Smartboard are set to "infinite clone" so they just have to move them out of the way, and by the end of class there's fruit and vegetables everywhere (of all sizes, because they make some bigger or smaller, turn them, etc).  The first day is just the Smartboard and drawing leaves.  I also give each student a piece of 9 x 12 newsprint to fold and write their name on to store their leaves in.  
The next time they come to art, the last person to use the Smartboard picks someone to use the Smartboard to make a "bizarre invention" while everyone else cuts out, crumples and then smooths and folds their leaves (thus making them look more real).  They then get a small paper plate from me (desert size--I bought a pack of 100 really cheap) with their name already on the back and glue their leaves down.  I really spent time talking with them about how salad looks: sort of random, not all lined up or alternating light-dark, and they did a really good job.

The next time they came to art I gave each table 1" x 1" and 2" x 2" size papers in a variety of colors (white, manilla, yellow, orange, black, more green . . . ) and had them make vegetables that they'd find on a salad bar.  I will tell you I did a better job by my third class telling them to ONLY MAKE VEGETABLES and NOT THINK ABOUT MAKING A FACE.  Because the first class just glued some squares on in a face fashion, and when I said "what vegetable is that?" they'd look at me and shrug "I don't know, it's a face" which is totally NOT the point.

They are small, so when I hung them in the hallway I used 2" x 18" strips to hang them between our cork strips, like this:

I do love me some cheese eyelashes!  And look at all those bacon bits!
It was a great lesson, and I love how they look in the hallway, but next time, I'll emphasize the making-the-vegetables part a little more.  It was a FABULOUS follow up for the portraits we just made (see the lesson I posted last year here).
One last hallway shot.


  1. These are really great. I have tried a few times through the years to do a Arcimboldo lesson with limited success. So I am really excited to try this. I think I will take you up on your suggestion about focusing on vegetables and not faces by having them draw vegetables before I even introduce the artist. What do you think? Nice job!

  2. Might really be beneficial--let me know how it goes! I had them picture a salad bar in their minds and try to make all the vegetables they'd eat (or at least try). I'm curious if it
    d help to have them do that BEFORE they even knew anything about the artist. Like, have them make all the vegetables and put them in their little paper folders before the artist introduction. Hmmmm, let me know.


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