Three Guitars

Grade 5 & 6 Painting / Colours as Music Genre

This project brought out some of the guitar heroes I didn’t even know about – it was very cool to hear from some of the kids who have been learning guitar, or have a parent who plays guitar at home or even in a band.  Awesome!

I showed them some website clips from local artist Peter Swanson who builds one-of-a-kind electric guitars: pictures of his guitars (he’s named each one!), and performance videos.  Dagmar Guitars:  how fun!

I brought in an acoustic guitar borrowed from a talented musician friend, Brian Andres.  Set up at the front of the classroom, it provided the starting point for the students to draw a guitar.  I encouraged them to draw from observation, noting proportions and details.  I wish I could have had an electric guitar as well, but it turned out that those who wanted to draw one (most of the boys – surprise surprise) were well familiar with their shape and any extra parts peculiar to that instrument.  Having an acoustic before them was still of some help, though.

We talked about different genres of music – the mood and energy  associated with jazz and rock and country music.  We talked about colours, hot and cold – and the mood and energy associated with them.  Matching those colours with the different music styles would communicate something about the genre and the guitar they chose to paint.  Text in the form of stencilled letters would accompany the guitar as another graphic element.

        JAZZ                                 ROCK                         COUNTRY

Pencils out, working on large card stock:  they spent the rest of the class and into another working out their composition and drawing their guitars.  I learned a little more about some of the students, the music they listen to, and experiences they’ve had.

From there it was time to paint!

They began with painting the background, choosing colours that would reflect the mood of the music, be it jazz be it rock be it country.  I loaded their trays with two or three colours, with directions to mix them on the page as they painted.  Contrasting colours were chosen for the text, and the guitars were painted last.  I encouraged them to paint the pencil lines of the strings in black paint, but many were exhausted with the painting or simply ran out of time. That was unfortunate because I think that step really helped to finish the work.  Still, many came off pretty well …

So, thanks to Ted Edinger at his ‘Art with Mr. E’ blog for his idea and those great examples from one of his Art Camps.

Also, search Pinchdogs/Rootstock on Youtube for some of Brian’s music videos.

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