Over the summer while I was at the beach, I found myself admiring a series of colored glass bottles aligned on a windowsill. I made a mental note to find a way to incorporate sea glass/colored glass into an art project for the upcoming school year. In 5th grade, I try explaining art in terms of a noun. Some classical and standard art categories include people (portraits), places (landscapes,) and things (still -lives.) Yes, still-lives can feel static and dull…but surely a row of overlapping colorful glass bottles would make an interesting composition.
Unfortunately, i don’t own a series of colorful glass bottles to bring in so I did the next best thing- project a photograph of colorful glass bottles onto the projector. I instructed 5th graders to draw on a large scale and fill their pages as they mapped out and drew their glass bottles in white chalk.
I discussed how important it was for the glass bottles to vary in height, shape, and size. I encouraged students to use the photo reference as more of a guide than a 100% literal reference. Students were instructed to make ALL of the bottles overlap and at least one bottle go off the page. I explained that ‘going off the page’ makes the still-lives more realistic.
Once the outlines were complete, students outlined each glass bottle with a different chalk pastel color. I demonstrated a blending technique were I dragged my finger from the perimeter of the bottle in towards the center. I told 5th graders it was important to leave part of the middle black so that the bottles look transparent. It was interesting to see how each student preferred their glasses. Some filled them in more than others. They all started looking GREAT.
When these were all colored and blended inwards, I spoke with 5th graders about VALUE. We discussed the difference between highlights and shadows and I demonstrated how to add glimmers of shine onto the bottles with white pastel. I also demonstrated how to darken in areas to make the bottles stand out even more. 5th graders picked up on this REALLY well.
Have a great day!