In December I took a quickie trip to the big city and got to visit the new(ish) Whitney Museum of American Art. They've got Sandy Calder's circus, crazy outdoor sculptures, the most beautiful views in all of the meatpacking district, and loads and loads of important modern paintings.
One that really struck me was this Franz Kline monster. I had a feeling my little painters would respond pretty well to his bold/simple style.
(PLUS he went to elementary school in Philly at Girard College, so <3 SO much in common, see?)
We looked at his paintings on the projector, identifying the colors, shapes, and styles of lines he used, and came up with words to describe the scale of his paintings.
During lesson plan research, I learned lots about his process, and had to re-vamp my thinking/approach to this project. I definitely imagined him as an "traditional" action painter, just kind of attacking these giant canvases with wild abandon, right? Wrong.
Willem deKooning got him blowing up carefully planned sketches into giant paintings using a projector. So I showed my pre-Kindergartners how my overhead projector works and blew their minds.
Kids created their own bold lines with black paint - first in large scale collaboration, then in smaller personal projects, and added "secret colors" like we saw in Kline's later work.
Bare bones lesson plan here, if ya feeling' needy.