I found Brian Somers exhibiting at a Tacoma gallery and contacted him about the commissioned piece above. I invited Brian into our classroom so he could get an idea of the type of things we were doing. You can see references in the final painting to Fibonacci numbers, Leonardo, Macbeth, earth elements, and geometry.
Somers’ paintings are designed using a geometry base which suggests the following art project. Using pencil, paper, scissors, protractor, and recycled applesauce containers (circle for tracing) I led the students through a geometric design project. Using folds, they made a square canvas with diagonal lines intersecting in the center from a rectangular piece of paper. There were different instructions for each quadrant: from the midpoint draw a straight line across…, draw a circle in the third quadrant, and bisect the line with…. Each quadrant had instructions for color though students had freedom to choose the colors. Students had complete freedom within certain guidelines.
Later we moved to the computer lab and used technology to create our artwork. These results were displayed together to make a classroom painting in which everyone shared equal credit.
As an extension, students created autobiographic paintings integrating their “Where I’m From” poems [Rethinking Schools] with their artwork. Some students were more geometric than others but, since these paintings were more personal, I didn’t push them on the geometry. I wish I could contact these former student and find out how many of their painting survive to this day.