Sunday, May 2, 2010

2nd Grade Surreal Paintings

Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory from 1921 stands out to me as a dominant painting from the Surrealist movement.  I have always found the clocks really interesting and thought it would be a perfect way to introduce my 2nd grade students to Surrealism.  I started with a PowerPoint with images of Dali's painting and information about the movement before introducing the assignment.  We discussed the paintings, especially the Persistence of Memory.  I pointed out that parts of the painting are realistic and parts don't make sense (the best way I could put Surrealism in 2nd grade terms!)  

For the assignment, I asked students to think of something they could draw that had a circular shape in it.  The whole object could be shaped like a circle or just part of it, like the iris/pupil in your eye or the center of a flower.  I explained that they would draw everything realistically, except replace the circular shape with a drawing of a clock to make the artwork surreal and pay homage to Dali.  This was a two class project.  The first day was about art history, discussion, and drawing.  I had a variety of cardboard tubes and rings for students to trace if they wanted help making a circle.  The second class was spent painting the artwork with tempera.

The most confusing part about the assignment for the students was giving enough visual information to tell what the clock was really supposed to be.  For example, if they said a tennis ball is shaped like a circle, they needed to give clues so we KNEW it was supposed to be a tennis ball and not just a clock.  I tried to get the students to visualize the circular shape they were going to draw before I mentioned the clock- obviously since the shape was being replaced with a clock, a clock would not be a good choice!
Clock= Tennis Ball
Clock= Face
Clock= Candy?
Clock= Nostril, haha!
Clock= Apple
Clock= Mouse face
Clock= Hole in a key

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