Posted by: MiniMonets | December 27, 2019

Aurora Borealis + Geoff Slater

The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, was the inspiration for the next creation for your young artists. I started off with reading the book, Ulaq and the Northern Lights by Harriet Taylor. I chose this book because the author has taken a curious fox on a nighttime journey to find out where the Northern Lights come from. Each animal that he meets has a different idea for why the lights are there and those ideas are based off legends of the lights origins. While the book is beautifully illustrated, it does not show the movement of the lights. I showed a short youtube video of the Northern Lights. While the video played, I told the artists other fun facts about the Aurora Borealis, such as there are Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights, which happen at the same time as the Aurora Borealis. Another neat fact is that there are Auroras on other planets near their own magnetic poles. I passed out black paper and chalk pastels for the artists to create their own Auroras. I showed them several ways to use the pastels. They can be used on their tips to create a bright and bold line, or they can be used on their sides to create large areas of color. The chalk pastels are very dusty but that dust will blend and mix easily, creating even more colors. Once the page was filled, the artists used dry paint brushes to blend in the remaining dust into the paper. This is called a Dry Brush technique and really changes the initial look of the chalk pastels on paper. 

For the second class, I showed another youtube video with a narrator listing 25 facts about Aurora Borealis. Then, I introduced the artist to Geoff Slater. Slater is a Canadian artist who describes his paintings as “line paintings with one continuous line with a beginning, and an ending. Although it changes color, the line never touches or crosses itself.” I showed a collection of his work to the artists and we talked about the 2 types of lines, straight and curve, and how he uses those lines in his art. I encourage you to check out his website, www.geoffslater.com. I gave each student white tempera paint and asked them to add different types of lines using Slaters style of a continuous line to add to our night skies.

The objective of this project is to create art from realistic sources of inspiration and describing the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear.


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