Sunday, April 13, 2014

Zaria Forman - Artist Inspiration and Student Interview


The Inspiration

Artist Zaria Forman's large, realistic, chalk pastel drawings of Greenland were the inspiration for a winter landscape project.

I first came across her incredible work on Colossal's blog. I was so excited to share with my 1st graders a living, local, young, female artist who is enjoying enormous popular success. After starting the project, on a whim, I contacted Ms. Forman and asked if she'd be willing to answer some interview questions from my young artists. Ms. Forman graciously accepted and also included some behind-the-scenes progress shots! You can learn about the project and read the interview below.


The Project

We used three different painting techniques to create our Zaria Forman-inspired Winter Landscapes: plastic wrap texture, oil pastel resist, and sponge painting. 


  1. Paint a light blue, watery, organic-shaped glacier. Place plastic wrap over the glacier and push and pinch the plastic wrap to create an icy texture. Let it dry completely and remove the plastic wrap.
  1. Make marks with white oil pastel to create a reflection of the glacier before mixing and painting a medium blue over the oil pastel to create the water.
  1. Mix a dark blue and sponge paint to create a wintry sky behind the glacier.

Looking for more painting projects? Check out how Kindergarten made paint and learned how to paint with tints and shades.

The Student Interview



How do you make reflections?


When there is almost no wind in the air, a clear reflection can appear in the water. Small waves still run horizontally, so the image in the water looks like the iceberg upside-down, but with horizontal lines running through it. I draw these lines moving left to right on the paper, mirroring the light on the iceberg above as best I can.



How did you become an artist?


I grew up in Piermont, NY, about 30 min north of NYC. I went to Green Meadow Waldorf school from 6th grade through high school--a very small school with an alternative approach to education, in which art is greatly infused. My mother was an artist, and always had art supplies around the house for my sister and I to play with, so I have been making art since I could hold a stick of charcoal, or a paintbrush, in my hand! I went on to study art in college, and have continued since.



How long does it take you to make a drawing?


When I am very focused and working long hours every day, it can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on the size of the piece, and the detail in the image.



How many places have you visited?


I have actually never counted! Several--since my mother was a landscape photographer, we traveled a great deal throughout my childhood.



Where do you work?


The majority of my drawing happens in my studio in Brooklyn, NY. I consider my travels as work too, but of course it's all very fun!

This was an exciting project that included the study of, and interaction with a contemporary artist. Special thanks to Ms. Zaria Forman for answering 1st grade art students' interview questions!


How can your kids engage with an artist or role model? 


Do you think it is important to learn about contemporary artists?


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