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My Ideal World

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Keywords: Photoshop, Symbols, metaphors
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Art
Grades 8 through 12
School: St Joseph School, Buffalo, NY
Planned By: Joseph Archabald
Original Author: Joseph Archabald, Buffalo

This Art lesson was inspired by an English Lesson found at http://www.wm.edu/act2online/Lesson_Plans/secenglish/mockingbird.html


This lesson has been created to coincide with the reading and discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird. It echoes themes found in the book including symbolism, racism, equality, and hope for future generations.

Conceptual Basis for Lesson:
What is your idea of an ideal world? Is it a world without fear, without pain, without suffering? In a world with growing fear and pessimism, we are losing hope for future generations. It is time that the younger generation captures a more hopeful vision of what the world they are inheriting could be.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.

Edward Hicks, an American folk artist, painted a humble collection of paintings that came from an idea of the “Peaceable Kingdom” found in the book of Isaiah the prophet "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,". Hicks’s paintings consider a more optimistic outlook on what may be achieved. His images were symbolic of peace between two groups that were normally in confrontation with each other.

Piet Mondrian was another artist who considered Utopian ideals in a movement of art known as De Stijl. This group of artists sought to express a utopian ideal of harmony and order. The works by Mondrian advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and color. Mondrian’s vision of the utopian ideal relied on becoming purely simple rather than chaotic.

Performance Task:
Based mainly on the work of Edward Hicks and the knowledge of symbolism acquired through reading To Kill a Mockingbird, students will create an image of their ideal world (Utopia). Students will utilize their knowledge of symbols and skills learned in Photoshop to create this world.

Art Materials:
-Photo-Shop Software, I recommend if you do not have adobe Photoshop getting GIMP. It is free and will work well for this project.
-Internet or other Image Library

Day 1
- Students will participate in word association game. Teacher will state a word and a ball will be passed from student to student coming up with words that may be used as a symbol for initial idea.(peace, harmony, order)
-Students will review symbolism and how it was used in To Kill a Mockingbird. (Mad Dog, Pocket Watch, Boo, Boo hole, Mocking Bird)
-Students will view and analyze works done by Edward Hicks. “The Peaceable Kingdom”
What is out of the ordinary?
What animals are seen together that normally are enemies?
What may be another illustration of this type of unorthodox relationships?
What does this relationship symbolize?

Students will observe works done by Piet Mondrian. Though he did not create Utopias in his artwork, he did consider Utopian ideals. As you can see from these three Mondrian paintings his initial paintings were more representational. Mondrian focusing on his Utopian ideal of harmony and order pushed his abstraction to achieve his famously simple works.

Students will be given attached ditto to begin to brainstorm what their ideal world may look like. They will consider ideas of a world without war, violence, pain, suffering, racism. They also will begin to consider what there needs to be more of in a perfect world, such as true peace, love, forgiveness, mercy. Students will be asked to consider possible symbols (images) that may be used to convey their thoughts.

Day 2
Students will begin to create their image of the perfect world using Photoshop.
-Students will watch demonstration on how to safely find a picture for their background. Students will learn how to set it as their background. (Attached sheet for step by step directions)

Students will observe demonstration of layers and adding images on top of background. Students will begin to search for images that may be used in their perfect world. Students may use brainstorming sheets to get ideas for search.

Students will be given class time to experiment and ask questions on how to get images cut to fit. All directions are labeled on attached sheet.

Day 3
Students will review assignment and key vocabulary Utopia, symbols, Photoshop, layers. Students will be reminded to follow directions on image insertion closely.

Students will be given remaining class time to continue experimenting with Photoshop and capabilities.

Day 4
Students will be given entirety of class to work on final pieces.
-Continue work days until the majority of your students are finishing their Utopias.

Final Day
Students will print their images of their ideal worlds. They will present their images to class and explain the symbolism they have incorporated into their works.

http://www.tfaoi.com/newsm1/n1m348.htm (Edward Hicks, The Philadelphia Museum of Art)

(Piet Mondrian, Museum Ludwig

(Video of Piet Mondrian works at Museum Ludwig)


Name:____________________ Date:________
Instructions- The definition of Utopia is a place of ideal perfection, especially in laws, government, and social conditions. What are some words that come to your mind when you consider your perfect world. Jot down words that reflect ideals of your Utopia. Then write in symbols or images which may represent those ideals as in the first example.

1.Peace - Peace sign, People shaking hands, 8.
Hug, treaty, putting down guns, Baby chick, and alligator

2. Love 9.

3. Compassion 10.

4. 11.

5. 12.

6. 13.

7. 14.

Ifyou could change one thing in the world today to make it better what would you change?

What does your ideal of the perfect world look like?

Starting a new Image

Open Gimp
Close Tip of the Day
1.Click on File Click on New
2.Adjust size to requirements click on OK

Inserting Background

1.Go to picsearch.com
2.Search for desired Background picture
Click on picture you want to use then click on Image URL
3.Right Click on picture and click on Copy
4.Bring up Gimp windows
5.Right click on Image area click on Edit, then click on Paste
6.Go to (Layers, Channels, Pathways) Toolbar
7.Right Click on Floating Selection click on New Layer
8.Now you can use the scale tool in main Gimp toolbar to resize picture to cover background area finish scale by clicking on scale.

Inserting and Cutting Foreground Images

1.Go to picsearch.com
2.Search for desired foreground picture
Click on picture you want to use then click on Image URL
3.Right Click on picture and click on Copy
4.Bring up Gimp windows
5.Right click on Image area click on Edit, and then click on Paste
6.Go to (Layers, Channels, Pathways) Toolbar
7.Right Click on Floating Selection click on New Layer
8.Go to main Gimp Tool Bar click on Scissor Icon
9.Place dots around the object you desire to cut out from the background. *(finish with same dot you started with)
10.Left Click in the center of what you are trying to cut out. (you should now have a moving line around what you desire to be cut out)
11.Now Right Click in the middle of the image you are trying to cut out. Click on Cut
12.Go to (layers, channels, pathways) tool bar
13.Right Click on layer you want to delete and click on Delete Layer
14.Go to image area right click on image area and click on edit, and then click on paste.
15.Last step is to go back to layers channels pathways toolbar right click on floating selection and left click on New Layer.
Your cut out image should appear, and be ready to rotate, scale, and move.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson will be used alongside the reading of To Kill a Mockingbird in English class.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Camera Bags