Post by Barbara Rucci
Hello! I’m so excited to share this art project here with you today on The Artful Parent, one of my favorite blogs (and favorite person!) ever.
I love throwing in a wee bit of art history with my kids in art class from time to time. It gives them a sense of awe and wonder when we talk about an artist who lived 100 years ago (especially a female artist)!
Sonia Delaunay has always been an artist that I have adored. Her work covered my walls when I was in art school. She was Russian, but painted in France. She helped start the Orphism art movement, defined by its use of strong colors and geometric shapes. What I love most about Sonia, though, is that she wasn’t caught up in the differences between fine art and the “minor” arts, like textile and furniture design. She did it all. Even fashion!
Whenever we study an artist, I print out some of their best and most famous work and tape it to the wall next to where we are working. I also write a few key words that might spark some conversation. For Sonia Delaunay I used the words color, pattern, shapes, abstract art, Russia and 100 years ago. We all picked our favorite painting and explained why we loved it. This took about 5 minutes or less. Short but sweet!
Artist Study with Kids :: Sonia Delaunay
- Geometric shapes for tracing
- Ruler & pencil
- Paint (we used tempera but you could use watercolor)
- Glass of water, paint brushes and damp sponge for drying brush
Step 1: Talk about the artist briefly and point out some of the characteristics of their work. In art class I never put out “examples” before starting a project since my class is much more about the process. But when studying an artist, it’s important to have examples because the kids really are copying the style in which the artist worked. So I mentioned dissecting shapes with a ruler and using strong color. I also commented on how Delaunay’s work looked like there was rhythm and movement.
Step 2: Let the kids trace their shapes and create their pencil drawings. Younger kids might need help holding down their object while tracing.
Step 3: When they are happy with their drawings, it’s time to fill in the shapes with paint. I mixed a batch of strong colors for them to use. If the tempera was too translucent, I had them paint over it twice just to get a rich color. (This project would work even better on stretched canvases with acrylic paint!)
These paintings were made by 6-12yr olds. They did such a great job of interpreting the look and feel of Sonia Delaunay, don’t you think? I was super proud of their level of commitment and concentration!
More about Sonia Delaunay and her Art
- Sonia Delaunay :: Reaping What She Sews (A brief bio of the artist with photos of her work)
- An Interview with Sonia Delaunay
If you are interested in another artist study, you can read about the time we “painted with scissors” like Matisse.
I hope you give this a try either at home or in the classroom. It is quite simple and very rewarding.
Thank you for reading my post!
Bar is a graphic designer, art teacher, and mom of three living in Connecticut. She loves to make stuff with her kids and write about it on Art Bar Blog.
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