Friday, November 30, 2012
Art Meets Literature: The Joys of Van Gogh's Cat
Last year, I found the book "Van Gogh's Cat" at our scholastic book fair. I was excited to see that the book was written and illustrated by 2nd grade students in Muncie, Indiana. I loved seeing how the students created their own artworks of famous art masterpieces, and created cats jumping out of each page. I now own about 8 copies of this book: one at home for my daughter, 3 at my second school, and 4 for my home school. You can say I want my kids to see the book everywhere! After searching on Pinterest, I saw many lesson ideas inspired by the book too.
I decided to create a lesson inspired by the 2nd graders who created "Van Gogh's Cat.". I wanted my students to create a picture inspired by a famous masterpiece, then have a cat jump out of their own picture. I set up folders with colorful images of many famous artworks, and shared them at each table in my classroom. The awesome part was that none of my students fought over pictures, shared without complaint, and didn't choose the "easy" pictures!
After the students created their pictures (I just used markers and colored pencils on 9" x 12" paper), I had them trace a cat shape on the back of their pictures, then attempt to cut the cat out without cutting from the edge of the paper (for those who were afraid to attempt it, I just pinched a cut in the middle of the paper to start them off). The students then glued their picture on one side of 12" x 18" paper, and their cat on the other side.
After my students created their pictures, I felt that the school needed to see how I combine art and literature. I decided to create a bulletin board to share what the students learned, what they created, and a little information about the artist. Here's my results:
I needed something to draw everyone's attention in the hallway. If the superintendent or curriculum director walked by, I wanted them to stop and read.
Van Gogh's "Starry Night." Of course we needed this one...the book was called "Van Gogh's Cat" after all!!!
Henri Matisse's "Fall of Icarus." It's fun to explain to students that not all body drawings have to be perfect.
Claude Monet's "Bridge Argenteuil." I'm so glad a student picked this one! It shows that he liked teh composition more than choosing something easy or abstract.
Piet Mondrian's "Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow." One of our BIP students created this one, and I loved how he focused on the work! He loved the bright colors and filling his the space.
Andy Warhol's "Campbell Soup." I'm glad I found a chance to share multiple artists with this project. The students loved the idea of choosing their own. I'm very happy that some students wanted to take on the challenge of drawing multiple cans, and they never gave up!
Georgia's O'Keefe's "Red Poppy." Great composition, and beautiful craftsmanship with this challenge!
Alma Woodsey Thomas's "The Eclipse." I love talking about Alma's abstract work...so much that I introduce her to two different grade levels!