Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oaxacan Animal Designs In Progress

The 5th graders are working on a project inspired by wood carvings from Oaxaca, Mexico.  Zeny Fuentes is an artist who is well known for his beautiful carvings of animals painted in vibrant colors and whimsical patterns. I picked up this project idea several years ago at the Ohio Art Education Association Conference and we have done this project almost every year since.  It is one of my favorites!

We start out the project by watching a video of the process of making these wood carved animals.  Zeny is featured in the video carving an armadillo.  He shows how he carves the sculptures beginning with a machete.  The people of Oaxaca started out making these in the 1930's as toys for their children and they have become a form of art for their region.

After the fifth graders watch the video I show them two carvings that I have that were made by Zeny, himself.  I have an armadillo and a frog.  We talk about how Zeny arranges the pieces in the most interesting way.  We also discuss the variety of patterns painted on the sculpture and the bright colors.    

I purchased both the video and the wood carvings from Crizmac, a wonderful multicultural art resource.

Then I inform the students that sadly, we will not be using machetes to make our project.  After some 'awe darn's I show them an example of a design done with Sharpie markers and oil pastels.  I tell them that they will be doing a 2-dimensional design inspired by the bright colors and patterns of the woodcarvings.

Here are some in-progress designs by this year's fifth graders including my own son's!  Yes, I have my own son in class.  I love teaching him art and he is a good student!

 The students create a thick line around the animal by drawing a double line and coloring in-between with Sharpie.  The lines that divide the shapes in the background are also doubled to create thick lines.  

Jonas, my son.

The shapes in the background are each colored in with a pair of analogous colors and blended together where they meet in the middle. 

I will post pictures of finished projects when more students have completed their designs.

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