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Arts & Activities - Page 14
a t a district art meeting, I joked to a colleague that Franz Marc’s work was the emotionally charged “Where’s Waldo” of animal paintings. It dawned on me later that my statement was a brilliant way to introduce my students to his style and work. The fluidity of Marc’s depiction of animals was not only a radically new artistic style in the early part of the 20th centur y, but it was also a style that helped transform the general public’s perception of how subjects in nature could be rendered on canvas. Marc employed both organic and geometric line and shape qualities throughout his work to almost melt his animals into lush, dreamy, sometimes nondescript backgrounds. I find that the explosion of color Marc used is the first thing that draws my students into his work and excites them to want to replicate his style. Trying to sell the idea of an animal painting by Nate Greenwood to a group of junior-high students is like trying to convince a politician to accept political contributions—effortless. There is something inherently fun and universal about doing animal paintings; it’s almost a primal instinct to want to record natural objects. For an anticipatory set, I have the students bring in a photo of a mammal or a bird as prep for the project, purposely not telling them why. This provides a sense of mystery and wonder as a lead-in to the painting. As I do with most of my projects, I begin with a slide presentation. I actually start by showing work of other Expressionist artists so that the students have a frame of reference and begin to understand how the Expressionist movement was different from other movements (the students have pre-knowledge of other movements from prior projects). Then I walk the students through about 10 slides of Marc’s paintings. I have them share one or two things when looking at each slide: What do they see (describe the subject matter and list details using the principles and elements of art) and how they feel (describe the emotional response the piece provokes). Owl by Hailey. Cat by aaron. Panda by Libby. 14 > april 2013 • 80 years > > x www.ar tsandactivities.com