Recently, the Art Institute of Chicago had a special exhibit of over 100 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 18th through 20th century. The exhibit also had a large selection of period cookbooks, menus, and posters.
The Art and Appetite exhibit featured Wayne Thiebaud's work prominently. This year, I've been trying to select 1-2 artists of the month and develop lessons for most of my grade levels based on the chosen artist(s) and his/her style. So, this year, Wayne Thiebaud was my artist of January.
Wayne Thiebaud (whose name is pronounced Tee-Bow just like the kneelin' and prayin' quarterback), was born in 1920 and is still living. He began his art career as a cartoonist and designer before working as an artist in the U.S. Navy. In 1960 he became an associate professor and taught students for nearly 20 years.
Around the Cake, 1962
My students loved hearing about his use of the palette knife to apply paint like frosting. I explained that when you look at his paintings from the side, his paintings are so built up with paint, it truly does look like a frosted cake or cupcake.
Four Cupcakes, 1971
My students were enamored with the above painting of cupcakes. One of my students was excited to point out the different colored shadows of blue, red, yellow, and green.
One of my colleagues brought in this board book for me when she heard about my Wayne Thiebaud lessons. This book is a delectable way to learn how to count!
Thiebaud is sometimes grouped in with the “Pop Artists” because he paints subjects from popular culture (like gumball machines, cakes and ice cream sundaes), but actually he began his work before the Pop Artists.
We kicked off our lesson by reading Trouble Gum by Matthew Cordell. My school was lucky enough to have this talented author/illustrator speak at our school last year to introduce the story of Ruben the pig's naughty endeavors caused by boredom. The endpapers in this book are fabulous.
Three Machines, 1963
After the story, my Kinder kiddos started out by drawing their gumball machines with black oil pastel and then adding colors with oil pastels.
Don't forget the shadow, the trademark of all Wayne Thiebaud works!
Now, I have a huge stock of painted paper scraps left over from previous projects, and they were put to good use on this one. Students cut out a whole heap of gumballs.
Before beginning this project, I realized that I was fresh out of glue sticks. Using glue bottles with Kinder kids is a creature-of-the-black-lagoon-nightmare and I needed a quick solution.
I cut up a few cleaning sponges and filled up some tupperware and left over tofu containers with glue and VOILA!
Now don't get me wrong, these are still messy, but it sure beats the epic Kinder Battle of the Elmer Glue Bottles. I had to remind my students to "Dip, Dip, Wipe, Wipe, Dot, Dot" to prevent some sticky situations.
When we're done with the glue containers, I set them back into the plastic bin, close the bin, and done!
Gumball machines were cut and glued onto bubble gum pink paper.
Students added a tiny dash of white to each gumball to imitate the shiny glass of the gumball machine.
Hard to tell in the above photo, but this Kinder glued down a gumball coming out of the machine, so it looked like "it was in action."
Students dipped and dotted their way to some yummy, gummy masterpieces. Stay glued for some more Thiebaud artwork coming soon!