Todd Students Create Collages Based on Ancient Japanese Painting

If you have ever used the Water Wave emoji, you have used an emoji that is based on a famous work of art. The Great Wave off Kanagawa (also known as “Under the Wave off Kanagawa”) by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, is one of the most recognizable works of Japanese art in the world.

The painting, located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a woodblock print and depicts a large wave with fishermen boats in the center and Mount Fuji in the background.

Recently, fifth graders in Erin Wilson’s and Kathleen Godleski’s classes created collages inspired by that painting in Paul Villanueva’s art class.

Using two sheets of white paper as two panels, students drew waves with a pencil and added objects, such as a surfer or a sailboat, to the middle of the drawing. They also drew objects in the background.

“This project is about perspective,” Mr. Villanueva told the students. “Some objects will appear larger in the front, and in the back they will appear smaller. You are playing with the distance of different objects.”

Students meticulously drew waves of various sizes and shapes.

“You can draw several layers of waves in different shapes and then color them in different shades of blue, so when you cut them, you will have different layers of waves and it will create depth,” Mr. Villanueva said to the students.

“I’m going to draw a dolphin in the waves,” one student said.

“I’m going to draw and elephant boat,” said another student, giggling. “I have never seen one but I’m going to try.”

After using a pencil, students traced their drawing with a black marker and painted the picture with watercolors. Next, they cut the objects and rearranged them on a larger sheet of paper and glued them.

“When you cut the objects, you can shift them left and right, forward and back, and it can create additional depth to the painting,” Mr. Villanueva told the students.

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