This lesson was made for one of my mixed classes. It is my advanced art class which is made up of Art 2 and Art 3 students. Instead of separating all the lessons I chose to combine them so we learn the same concepts and challenges at the same time but then do different projects at the end to reflect what they have learned or put into practice. This class is all about understanding and using the elements of art and principles of design to make better decisions and judgements when creating and viewing art.
I start off this powerpoint by talking about texture in is literal and implied forms. I always show lots of examples and talk about how using an element of art is not enough; you have to know when it is too much/too little/too dark/ too etc. I lead into form discussing geometric vs organic, abstract, nonrepresentational, and occupying real space seen from every angle (like sculpture). I show more examples for class discussion and that leads into the class critique time. I always have my students put the concepts of the lesson into words as they critique several artworks. I have a sculpture and two paintings in which they need to explain the strengths and weaknesses of the three using the elements and principles to prove they know what they are talking about.
I break into a section on meaning and symbolism and explain how art is just a vessel for us to send messages and it is up to the viewer to react to what they are seeing or experiencing. How you judge a work of art is all based on your personal past, you current mood, the date you see it, the surroundings you see it in, and the culture you are from. I use a very good example by Chris Ofili. He painting the Virgin Mary enraged people and caused all kinds of problems when it was displayed: but why? Mostly because it was grossly misunderstood. It was very crude in its nature but it was also very misunderstood which is why most people had problems with it. I always use this as a lead in for the two phases of rapid recall that follow directly after discussing the Virgin Mary painting. In the first phase they are to write down everything that comes to mind when they see the given word. Everything. Then they are to write down everything that comes to mind when they are introduced to an image. They may write down memories, emotions, concepts, etc. You don't have to give them very long to write but a few things down and then compare. This is to show them that even though everyone in the class was given the same stimuli, you all have different brains. Just like art, what something means to me might not be the message that you get out of an artwork. We are all different and we bring all of our baggage to the art.
My art 2 students will be rendering a famous movie prop of their choice in clay. They must fill out the symbolism paper about their item and then match all details and proportions as best as possible. I give the requirements for the project and lots of examples.
My art 3 students will be designing a themed vessel. After selecting their theme they will brainstorm a list of things within their theme umbrella. Once they have a good sized list they can abstractly design a ceramic container of some sort using the bits and pieces of their themed puzzle. Example: My theme is Lord of the Rings. I will make a list of things from lord of the rings like Gandalf's staff, hobbit pipe, map, ring, sting, spider, tower, mount doom, fell beast, Gondor, etc. After making my list I can sketch out possible designs of how I would put together some kind of bowl/platter/container made out of the things on my list. This can be done very simply like attaching things onto the side of a bowl or the container can be made of the themed things itself. I had one student that made their "bowl" out of ceramic deer antlers. Of course you would not be able to hold water in that kind of a bowl but it looked awesome! This can be done as creatively and abstracted as the student wants it to be.
I have another smaller assignment at the end of the powerpoint for students to try to sculpt faces (ages, expressions, etc.) These can also have odd twists of creativity as well. :)
I highly recommend purchasing the separate papers the also go along with this lesson powerpoint for the lesson to work as well as it is intended. (handouts, grading rubrics, lesson plans, etc.)