The students chose a zoomed-in portion of their animal on which to concentrate, and they then drew a grid on top of the photograph.
They drew a similar grid on their piece of wood, in preparation for accurately reproducing the image in beans.
Most students placed all of the beans of a particular color before moving on to another color.
Humans have been putting animals on walls, using natural pigments, for a very long time.
The students studied the cave art of Lascaux, France as their masterwork for this project. The experience included entering a nearly-dark classroom lit only by a few candles, with ambient water dropping and other recorded cave sounds playing. The students lay down beneath their desks and drew animals with chalk on the undersides by candlelight.
The project is beans. When describing it to people, most of them seem to picture some sort of kindergarten-level macaroni art. They scoff and roll their eyes. How cute that the kiddies get to do a little art project. This is so much more than that.
In the picture above, #30 is glued to the door of one of the panels. The larger box around it represents the edge of the panel housing, with large bolts holding it in place. Pieces #23, #31, #29, #36, and #37 all have hinges shown with triangles.
The large light grey square in the middle is a large center piece that will have the title of the overall work. The empty black box is the other electrical panel, with hinges on #26, #27, #33, #41, #40, and #39. The door of the second electrical panel will have a paper explanation of the project.
By the end of the day today, just a few projects remained to be completed. A couple of students had been absent during the bulk of the creation process, and a few were just meticulous workers. Though the five below are not quite finished, the essence is apparent. They will be finished next week.
The students did an excellent job abstracting their objects, making use of gradients, and collaging it all with bits of maps. The overall effect is brilliant, and I know that visitors to the school's gallery will be impressed with the quality of the work achieved by these students. Click any image below to launch a slide show of the finished projects.
Click any image below for a slideshow of the project progress so far. Tomorrow we should have mostly completed projects! A few students have been absent and will finish theirs at another time.
After the first day, most students have a pretty good start. Color gradations are becoming apparent, and the students are learning to get their pieces the right size and cover the canvas completely. Click on any image below to launch a slide show of their progress so far.
Every single project was completed on a different color of paper: two entire classes of students, two projects each (one practice and one final). Below are all of the completed projects. Click on any to launch a slide show. Apologies for the blurriness of some; photographs were taken of multiple projects at once, and occasionally at an angle.
Each student chose one of their two designs to go on display in the school's gallery. Below are just a few of the designs, echoing patterns in nature, slated to go on display this week.
After weeks of work, the pop-out pieces are finished. The background is finished. A nice, shiny glaze has been applied to everything, and it's time to install it. Several students stayed after school to help with the installation process. Each popped out piece has 0-3 large nuts between it and the background, giving the mural layers of depth apparent on close inspection, but largely invisible when viewed at a distance.
If I were to do the installation over again, there are a few pieces I would move slightly, and a few pieces I would move considerably, but once those holes are drilled, that's where the pieces stay. Below, you can see the location of this year's mural in relation to last year's mural.
The library just keeps looking better and better. There's one more wall in this computer nook, but it's a big wall. It will be a daunting task to occupy it with something that complements these two pieces effectively.
Special thanks to illustrator Colin Adams for ideas on how to make the mountain look right.