Thursday, December 15, 2016

Try it Out! Calder Mobiles and Paintings

Look at this cool lithograph from Alexander Calder that we have in our collection! 

Alexander Calder, b. 1898 d. 1976

Alexander Calder,
Sandy to his friends, is an American painter and sculpture artist famous for his mobile sculptures and bold, geometric paintings. Born in 1898 in Pennsylvania, he was friends with famous artists and writers like Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and Marcel Duchamp! In today's Try it Out, we'll be making our own mobiles and paintings inspired by Calder's unique style!

Calder-Inspired Mobiles

Hanging Mobile by Alexander Calder

Calder invented his delicately balanced sculptures because he wanted to draw in the air. As Marchel Duchamp watched them transform and move with the wind, he said Calder should call them mobiles. 

When Calder started creating his mobiles, he made a whole circus and invited famous friends like Pablo Picasso to come watch performances. After you hang your mobile, head to a public library and find Sandy's Circus: A Story about Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone to learn more about Sandy's Circus! 

Pipe cleaners
Foam pages

Estimated Time: 20 minutes

1. Create a mobile hanger with pipe cleaners. Take two pipe cleaners and twist both ends on each side to attach. Should make an oval-like shape. Take a third pipe cleaner and bend in half. Twist the ends around the center of the oval.
Hanger for mobile.

2.  Cut out shapes of various colors and sizes. Hole punch shapes.
3. Use various colored pipe cleaners to thread through the hole-punched shape. Twist and attach to mobile.
4.  Repeat steps 2-3 until you have completed your mobile. 

Reminder! Calder was known for the balance in his artwork. Try to add shapes so the mobile is delicately balanced!

Calder-Inspired Painting

Alexander Calder, b. 1898 d. 1976

Calder was famous for his mobiles, but was inspired to start painting after he saw Piet Mondrian's paintings. He liked the bold, primary colors, but thought the paintings would look better with shapes. Below is the lithograph from the beginning of the post. Look at how he used simple shapes and color to balance the design on the page, just like he did with his mobiles. 
Alexander Calder, b. 1898 d. 1976


White board or canvas
Black sharpie
Washable paint (in primary colors)

Estimated Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

1. Draw simple lines and shapes with a black sharpie on your board. Try to create balance on the canvas by placing different lines and shapes on either side to balance out the painting. What types of shapes can you include? 

2. Using washable paint, fill in those shapes. We are starting with the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) in addition to black. Do you want colors like green and purple? The primary colors are the building blocks of all other colors and you can mix them in an infinite number of ways. What colors would we combine to get the secondary colors green, purple, and orange? 

Mr. Steven
3. Once dry, hang the painting and mobile next to each other so other people can see the similarities and difference between the two forms! 

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