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The Art of War

Jolene Schmidt, Art Dept. T. A. Blakelock

In my classroom the navy project allowed my students to connect their work in school to their community. We had the opportunity to create an art piece that was displayed in a local museum during the celebrations to celebrate the navy centennial. The display consisted of two parts: A graphic design for a commemorative stamp and a multi-panel painting.

The Stamp Design

Each student was responsible for creating a graphic design for a stamp that focused on one World War II vessel. Students used the Internet as a resource tool and created their final design using Adobe Photoshop image processing software. Each stamp design had to include all of the required elements in traditional stamp design-name of country issuing the stamp, name of vessel being commemorated and the denomination of stamp. In addition students were tasked with creating an original digitally collaged image for the stamp. Students used images from the Internet but had to combine and manipulate the images in a unique manner.

The Multi-Panel Painting

We decided to create a collaborative art piece that was composed of several small panels that were hung together as a single unit for display. This allowed the students to create an individual painting that could be evaluated independently, as well as to work in concert with the other students in the class to ensure an overall unified effect to the final art piece. The focus of the piece was the representation of the navy vessel that is named after the town in which we live - the HMCS Oakville. In addition we included other images that evoked World War II. We worked together to design a composition that pulled imagery from a variety of sources and touched upon several other aspects of the war, such as fighter jets and aerial battles. This process gave the students to opportunity to do historical research as they searched for visual images that could be used.

After the content of the image had been decided and transferred to the individual canvas board panels, students began to paint their pieces. To ensure that the colours and the overall design effect maintained a cohesive wholeness we would assemble the panels at the start of each class and discuss our progress. The completed artwork was placed on display at the local museum for the navy centennial celebrations. The museum curator was so pleased by the positive response to the project that she chose to extend the timeframe of the display and keep the work up as a part of a broader display regarding the town’s involvement in the Navy.