We began by discussing a non-objective design. Luckily, I have two of my own paintings in my room that make for perfect examples of objective and non-objective. I emphasized that non-objective is not trying to make a picture of something that we recognize. So I had them pencil in a simple, non-objective design on their paper. I suggested picking two shapes (organic or geometric) then repeating them each three times in different sizes on their paper. Mine below repeated diamonds and s-curves.
After designs were penciled in, we discussed tints and shades and the concept of monochromatic. I found a cute video made by students with a clever little jingle about monochromatic painting. The kids were a little confused why they only got to use one color, but once they got to mixing tints and shades they saw how difficult that would be with more than one color.
The were only allowed to choose a primary or secondary color for painting (of course I still got requests for pink...) just to keep it simple for me. I made the mistake of trying to get them to do all of the painting in one class. Never again. The first day we did the base color on a few shapes/spaces. The second day, we mixed tints and shades. I only gave them a tiny dot of black, or they turned way too dark way too fast.
The third day, we flipped the paintings over and measured out nine two-inch sections. We measured with the paper sitting horizontally... if that makes sense... I stressed over and over not to cut out all the pieces at once. One at a time, showed them how to cut and glue so that the pieces would have a 3-dimensional quality. I explained it in terms of "one hill, two hill, one hill, two hill." Leaving a little bit of space at the top and bottom gave the hills less room to stretch and more room to curve.
I made them glue their pieces on the complementary color of their painting. I might eliminate this next time so we can have more variety. I ended up with a lot of blues on oranges and purples on yellows.
The kids caught on pretty quickly. A few struggled with the "two hillers." So I showed them a trick with the pointer fingers and thumbs that I have no idea how to explain with words... Sorry!
These kid examples are really the best of the best. I would say the most difficult part for them was creating a design that allowed the differences in values to show up. Some would paint all their shapes the base color, then have nowhere logical to put tints and shades. If I do this project again next year, I think I'll definitely think of a way for them to be more successful developing a non-objective design. I might even think about taping off the paper and just doing geometric shapes to contrast with the organic curves they get from bending the paper. Regardless, they had fun and were very proud of their work. Aaaanndd! They can tell me what tints and shades are!