our Houses on the hill: Colonia Buena Vista, Tijuana, Baja California, México. Photograph courtesy of Guillermo Buenla. uring a recent trip to Mexico, I was attracted to some banners at a shop, which featured intense colors, repeated patterns and architectural forms. I purchased a few. The merchant told me the work was influenced by architecture in Tijuana and other towns in Mexico, where many of the buildings and houses are built close to each other because of the high demand for housing and limited space. This brought to mind places here in the U.S.—such as San Francisco—where houses are connected to one another because of similar circumstances. Back home, I shared the banners with my art students, pointing out their vibrant colors, and repeated patterns and 26 D shapes. We observed the form, line, texture and space used in the banners—the “vocabulary of art” artists pay special attention to, not as separate entities, but as interrelated components of what they see, know and touch. I always encouraged my students to think about these elements as such when they work on their art. I passed out pencils, 9.5" x 18" white paper and black markers, and asked students to draw a one-inch border around their paper. I explained we were going to use the elements of art to create our own chalk-pastel architectural banners. I showed them how to overlap shapes to create interesting buildings, and stressed the use of repeated patterns to form a cohesive design. Breaking the vertical shape into smaller sections could help build up the banner and create the look of a hillside of homes or buildings. The borders were not to be overlooked. They, too, were to be designed with shapes and colors that worked effectively with the whole. When the pencil drawings were completed, students outlined them with black marker, I then demonstrated blending and working the chalk pastels to get the utmost “expression” from them. Color is the most expressive art element and is seen by the way light reflects off of a surface, so I wanted students to know that the way they applied the chalk would make a big difference in the outcome of their art. The chalk would also give our banners their texture. Thus, the chalk pastels were very important to the overall finished work of art. m a r c h 2 0 1 4 • 81 Y E A R S x www.ar tsandactivities.com
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