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Learning Activity
Season Cycle

Fall Visual Poems

 

 

Art Form Drawing, Computer Graphics
Multi-Disciplines Art, English
Grade Level 2-8
You will need drawing materials and/or computers
Time one hour

Overview

wind wind wind wind
wind leaf wind wind wind
leaf wind leaf wind leaf
wind leaf wind leaf wind
leaf wind leaf wind leaf
wind leaf wind leaf wind
leaf wind leaf wind leaf
leaf leaf leaf leaf leaf
leaf leaf leaf leaf leaf

--Ian Hamilton Finley

 


In this activity, students will play with ways to represent Fall visually. The result will be a drawing, painting or simple computer graphic.


Activity:


Many metaphors are buried inside common names. The seasons Fall and Spring are named after verbs. The names work because they name real-life processes of the season cycle.


Students already know all they need to know to do this activity. They are doing it to explore and appreciate the variety of solutions different artists will find to the same art challenge. They will also heighten their awareness of the season cycle.

Warmup: Ask and discuss how Fall and Spring got their names.
Once they establish that the names are because of what happens to vegetation in that season, ask volunteers to draw simple lines on the board to show or visually represent the meanings of the words Fall and Spring. Try to limit these first drawings to single lines, which may be arrows. Fall and Spring are the inverse of each other, one an arrow going down, one an arrow going up. Then ask how many arrows ought to represent each. In Fall, both leaves and raindrops come down. What happens in Spring?
 
Now show the students the Student Source Sheet, and ask them to create their own visual poem, either on paper or on the computer screen. Emphasize the playful. How you do this activity will depend on your access to computers, of course.

Suggest that there are many words that fit the seasons that might be shaped. Notice that the Examples go beyond the word Fall. In the Wind/Leaf piece, ask what the effect is of putting “wind” in italics. Treat typography and fonts as art-materials.

Journals  

The whole activity can be done as a Journal entry, or a brief personal graphic of it can be inserted in the Journal.

Variations


• After students do Fall, do Spring, a springing up instead of a falling down; seedlings instead of spent leaves; green instead of brown; birth instead of death.

• How can color enhance the effectiveness of the art? After printing a graphic, add color to it—make a painting.

• Students create a season circle design, then place versions of their single-season visuals to the larger circle.

Teacher FYI

• An ancient principle of art is called Unity of Content and Form. In this activity, the meaning of words is expressed twice: in the semantic of the words, and in their shapings.

• One kind of recent visual poetry is known as Concrete Poetry. One concrete artist of the 20th century was Ian Hamilton Finley. Two of his works end the Student Source Sheet.


 

 


Student Source Sheet

FALL
        I
       N

       G



F
A
L
L
I
N
G

F
  A
     L
       L
          I
             N
                G

First Attempts

F  A  L L             
                  a
                      l
                         l
                            F
                            a
                       l                              F  a  l  
                     l                              l               l
                F                              l                       F
                  a                        a                            a
                      l                F                                    l
                         l          l                                          l 
                            F a l                                              e
                                                                                     n  fallen
      fallen           fallen         fallen         all            fallen    fallen
 fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen
 all fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen all
 fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen
 all fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fallen fall

wind  wind  wind  wind  wind
wind   leaf   wind  wind  wind
leaf    wind    leaf   wind   leaf
wind    leaf    wind   leaf  wind
leaf    wind    leaf   wind   leaf
wind    leaf    wind   leaf  wind
leaf    wind    leaf   wind    leaf
leaf     leaf     leaf   leaf    leaf

--ian hamilton finley


--ian hamilton finley