Monday, March 19, 2012

Lesson idea: The Ombre Experience - A study of color and installation art

Not sure when my obsession with installation art started but it's been unrelenting by holding my attention in a serious way for at least the past year. I honestly feel like if I didn't love my job (right now) so much and feel like I really was answering a divine calling to do it, I would easily dive head first into the world of installation art and try any carve out my place in it.

I first stumbled upon this project idea on Princentenol under the name Tint and Shade Ceiling Hanging. I LOVED the idea of doing it but felt like it needed a little bit of something more to it so I mentally bookmarked it and then just forgot about it. Time passed, I got bored with some of what I had been doing in the 3D Design class, and a dug it back up in an effort to indulge my installation art obsession.

The learning objectives behind this project are multi-layered and touch upon so many great things...
  • Technique of painting evenly and with careful brush strokes
  • Experiencing tempera paint and understanding why it is so awesome
  • Color mixing, tinting, and shading
  • Understanding and creating geometric and organic shapes
  • Learning how art can be used to transform and reshape space
For as simple as the project was, it was also pretty challenging. While I normally do lessons/projects that last about 2-3 weeks, this one easily took five total. It really required the kids to stay on task and stay the course even when it seemed like the work was becoming monotonous and redundant - because, seriously? It was once it came time to draw and cut each of the 144 shapes that were needed to make up the 72 pairs of shapes that would hang off of each of their rings.

Since I share a classroom with my part-time colleague, storage is ALWAYS a challenge and this project didn't help at all. Thankfully, the issue was attended to beautifully by hanging things from the ceiling up by the front of the classroom/teacher's podium - this was to help keep students from wanting to bat at them while they moved around the class.

The whole installation is mostly hung up right now with the exception of a few yellow pairings that I have to finish up quickly and get hung up because few people wanted to take on the task of that color. The most popular colors were red, orange, and blue overall.  Kind of surprised me that orange was so popular but it's my favorite so I was delighted that so many of the kids wanted to do it.

Here is what our exhibit "The Ombre Experience" looks like hung up in the student gallery hallway...

I feel like (for the most part) I'm pretty pleased with it. We've gotten a lot of really great feedback on it and though I would have liked it to have filled out the space a little more, what it does look like really works for the space.


  1. These are lovely- all the hard work definitely paid off! What are the rings made of? Are they embroidery hoops? Thanks so much for sharing- I'm definitely inspired!

    1. Yes they are embroidery hoops! I am sure you could use sculpting wire and it would be just as effective.

  2. What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful work! I love it!
    Thank you for sharing.

    Greetings from germany,

    1. Susi - So glad that you enjoy this lesson idea! It was a big hit with the student artists and the school community who were able to experience it and and even though it happened last year it is still talked about. I am going to be doing a twist on this idea during this coming semester and will present it here on the blog so check back to be able to see it!

  3. Looking to do this at work...but in a much simpler form. Adults with high support needs. Great for fine motor...maybe painting or coloured card, just cutting but not shapes. Thanks for the idea


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