Dr. Evermor Fantastical Machines

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This last lesson with the 4th graders while student teaching was a lesson that I designed and taught myself. We focused on one of my favorite Wisconsin artists, Tom Every, aka Dr. Evermor.
Many of you have probably seen some of his giant, metal bird sculptures on the roof of Madison’s Children’s Museum or on Patterson Street in between East Johnson Street and Williamson Street. A handful of the students even said that they have had a chance to visit his sculpture park, just South of Baraboo, WI.

Our first day, the students were given a picture of Dr. Evermor’s famous Forevertron sculpture, which happens to hold the Guiness World Record for largest scrap metal sculpture. I asked them to interpret and analyze the picture without giving them any previous information. They discussed with their classmates what they noticed about the picture, what they thought the item in the picture was made from, and what they thought the item in the picture was used for.


FOREVERTRON by Tom Every aka Dr. Evermor
http://www.worldofdrevermor.com

We then had a class discussion about their ideas and I introduced the artist Tom Every and his artwork. We discussed how he uses unaltered recycled scrap metal or “junk” in his sculptures, the importance of recycling, alter-egos, narration in artwork, storytelling, elements of a story, inventing, and the non-traditional art making process of generating the context behind the artwork after it is already made rather than the traditional process where ideas are generated first and turned then into final pieces of artwork. That last topic was something I really wanted to focus on in our initial discussion and following activity because that is exactly how Dr. Evermor works. He begins by welding various scrap metal together without knowing what type of sculpture he is making and lets the artwork itself help determine the content, concept, and story behind the sculpture. Then the students were given their own junk and were instructed to just start drawing using the “junk” as inspiration and begin creating a drawing without knowing what it was and to let the drawing itself decide what it is.

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Then the students were asked to create their own Dr. Evermor inspired fantastical machines based off their “junk” drawings and develop a story that explains their machines. The students were introduced to the various graphite pencils that artists use, blending/shading, hatching and cross-hatching drawing techniques, designing mechanical drawings, and even 1-point perspective!

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The student’s Fantastical Machines and stories behind them were absolutely AMAZING! The creative and inventive ideas that came from the minds of the 4th grades was absolutely inspiring and everyone one had a fun time inventing their own Fantastical Machines!

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3rd gr O’Keeffe Part 1: Observational Line Drawings

Third graders spent some time learning observational drawing from Georgia O’Keeffe.  We learned that she was born right here in (Sun Prairie) Wisconsin and she became very, very famous for her very large nature paintings.

O’Keeffe said,”  I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.”

“Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue – that blue that will always be there as it is now after all man’s destruction is finished.” -O’Keeffe

Thanks to donations from George’s Flowers on South Park and J Kinney Florist on Monroe St, we had fresh flowers to draw in addition to nature found in our very own garden.

3rd graders learned observational drawing is about looking for  shapes, not just drawing the object in front of you.  While this can be a difficult art concept to ‘get,’ students were really successful in their observational drawings.

We also learned that our compositions look more interesting if we drew large and drew all the way to the edge of the page (into La La Land).

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” -O’Keeffe

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.” -O’Keeffe

The eyes have it..

2nd and 3rd graders are preparing for a big project, but it’s a secret!  We will be doing a few smaller projects in preparation for a larger project.  This is the first in a series of smaller projects.

Students begin by practicing drawing eyes.  I’ve given them tools for drawing eyes including a handout with specific steps on it.  We’ve all learned how to write the letter ‘A’, all of our A’s sometimes look different from each other.  We all have our own handwriting.  Using the handout below as a guide, students are putting their own style into drawing eyes.

Students studied each others eyes as well as their own using mirrors.  Students looked for different lines and shapes in their eyes compared to their friends eyes.  Students may also notice the patterns in each others eyes as well as the contrast created by lights and darks around the eyes.

Here are some ways our different eyes have turned out so far:

Students have been encouraged to practice drawing eyes at home so if you catch them making funny faces at themselves in the mirror, you’ll know why!

Stay tuned for the next step!

*This lesson plan was created by UW art ed practicum student Courtney Moor.