Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gum Ball Machines after Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud is a natural fit for young artists. What's more fun than ice cream and cake? With such a diverse age range (4 - 11), I often wonder how much of the lesson they retain, especially the Littles. Do they even remember who we learned about? So for this lesson, I focused on three pieces of information:
1. Our artist's name is Wayne Thiebaud.
2. He likes to draw and paint food (among other things).
3. He is still alive. (That may seem strange, but most of the artists we learn about are long dead. I think it's important that the children know that artists are creating everyday.)

We looked at pictures of Thiebaud's work in a sweet (pun intended) little book called Counting with Wayne Thiebaud. It was too young for my Bigs so we focused on the media he used to create each piece. Most were pastels or oils which fit nicely with our project.

They were fascinated that he was still alive and working. I showed them a recent picture of him and the consensus was that he looks like somebody's grandfather. But how to teach that complicated name so they'd remember?

Ta da! Worked like a charm! Periodically I'd ask them to answer one of my three questions and if they got it right they were allowed to push the little gum ball machine down which makes the gum balls fly into the air. Boy they loved that!

The Littles used crayons and  tracers for the rectangle base and circle globe, then dipped bottle caps into paint for the gum balls.

Age 4

 Age 5

Age 6

The Bigs had an additional term to learn: Pop Art. They simply interpreted their gum ball machines in oil pastels. I did point out the colors Thiebaud used for the glass because every one of them automatically reached for black.

 Age 6! Check out the shadow!

 Age 9

Age 8