Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Joan Miro Constellation Drawings

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music. -Joan Miro

Spanish artist Joan Miro painted his Constellation series between 1939-1941 after escaping from France upon the outbreak of WWII. The series of 23 works (including The Morning Star) consists of brightly colored shapes, outlined in black, floating over a softly colored background. Black lines twine through the space, connecting and dissecting shapes as they intersect. As you continue to view the work, hidden images (such as birds or human figures) emerge within the negative spaces.

On Joan Miro day in Art class, excitement runs high as students realize that images are hidden within the constellations. We create a master list of words accompanied by drawings:
  • SHAPES Joan Miro uses (ex. circle, star, triangle, lima bean, and everybody's favorite... floating eyeballs)
  • LINES Joan Miro draws (spiral, spiky, curvy, short, long, crisscross, etc.)
Using a black permanent marker, students draw shapes and line styles from our list to create their own compositions. Upon completion, they trade their black markers for sets of washable markers, selecting no more than FOUR colors to fill in shapes of their constellations.
The final step is to create a soft background texture using chalk pastels. Every student uses a brown pastel first, holding it on its side and dragging it very softly in long rows across the drawing (don't push down on the pastel! Too much pressure makes it color too darkly!). Two more colors of students' choice are added above the brown layer.

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