Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Website Updates for 2017-2018

I'm planning to keep this site updated throughout the 2017-18 school year.  Check back at the beginning of the year for an updated list of "Art Links" including some cool, new online artmaking sites!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

2nd Grade Mother's Day Flowers (inspired by Picasso!)

Hard at work on a painting for Mom!

Picasso wasn't just famous for his Cubist paintings -- his drawings using only a few simple lines (and, in some cases, a little color) were also some of his most popular works.  One of the most famous was The Flowers of Peace (1958)

The Flowers of Peace, Pablo Picasso, 1958
After learning a little about Picasso and his work, second graders took inspiration from his flowers and created their own. Since this work is to be a (spoiler alert!) Mother's Day gift, students traced their own hand onto their paper, making sure not to trace the tip of their thumb, as this is supposed to be hidden behind the flowers they are "handing" to their mothers (good reinforcement of overlapping used to show space).  The first graders then used tempura block paints to make the simple flowers and signed their work with a Happy Mother's Day message. I'm always thrilled to see the different twists the students are able to put on an otherwise uniform project like this one.    (Thanks to Mrs. Brown -http://www.mrsbrownart.com/index.htm - for the lesson idea.)

4th Grade Gyotaku ("Fish Rubbing") Prints

Bluegill Print by Sadie

In the mid-nineteenth century, Japanese fisherman created Gyotaku or "fish rubbing" as a way to document their catches.  One side of the fish was coated with ink and covered in rice paper, and then the paper was rubbed to transfer the image of the fish. This practice eventually blossomed into a form of fine art and an alternative to taxidermy for many sport fishermen.

Our fourth graders tried their hands at Gyotaku using several life-sized, realistic rubber fish I purchased online (the piranha is especially popular!).  We spent a day viewing some short videos showing real Gyotaku artists at work and then I demonstrate how to make a print with one or two of our "fish."  On the second day of the unit, after a quick review of the method, the students created multiple prints with the goal of improving with each print, so that they had at least one or two "keepers."  On a third day, we added realistic eyes with Sharpie and white acrylic paint for the reflection, as well other colors with watercolor paints.

I was impressed by how many of the students quickly mastered how much paint to use and the type of careful, even rubbing required to make a print with a lot of detail.  I've been doing this lesson for a few years now, and these were some of the best prints yet!

Flounder Print by Mason

Angelfish Print by Sadie

Angelfish Print by Samiya

Piranha Print by Shea

Bluegill Print by Simrin

Perch Print by Skyler

Saturday, April 23, 2016

1st Grade Cave Art

Artwork by Gavin

Students love the story of the three boys and their dog "Robot" who discovered some of the oldest art in history deep inside Lascaux Cave in France.  It's a great introduction to a discussion about how art began and why early humans started making art.  I also show them examples of the rock art we find closer to home in the Southwestern U.S. and how the ancient peoples there used simple rectangular and trapezoidal shapes to create humans, animals,, or combinations of the two.  It's an easy art style for 1st graders to mimic as they create their own "cave art" with oil pastels on paper in tans and browns, finished off with a hand print using white printing ink.  While working on these, we have the lights down and a video of a crackling campfire playing on the Smartboard to set the mood in the "Art Cave."  I really liked how these works turned out -- certainly as good as any caveman or cavewoman could do!

Artwork by Asha

Artwork by Ben

Artwork by Mischa

Artwork by Nalin

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Kindergarten Line Monsters

Using a sheet of 12x18 drawing paper, kindergartners got to practice painting various line types and then staying between those lines with their paintbrushes as they added colors to their work. Throughout this painting process, I told them their sheets would be turned into something fun, but kept that a secret until the last session when I had them add eyes (as few or as many as they wanted), horns, arms, and legs with construction paper to create these "monsters."  This is a simple lesson that reinforces some basic elements of art, combines two media (painting and collage), and provides some great fine motor skills practice with brushes and scissors.  The kinders also learn how to make two identical shapes by folding their paper before drawing and cutting.  Plus they get to make a monster! 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

5th Grade Cacti Still Lifes

Artwork by Shannon

I wanted my 5th graders to create an artwork that combined many different art elements and principles in one work, so I came up with this still life of cacti.  Unlike a true still life which would have included the subject set up in front of them for observation, I chose to let them compose their own cacti, requiring that they think about balancing their cacti in the pot.  The inspiration for their patterns (and the reason we left our pots in high contrast black and white) came from a quick study of the pottery of the Acoma Pueblo people of New Mexico.  Students paid special attention to form by using curved lines on their cacti and around their pots (some also used shading), and the subject of cacti gave them a chance to practice creating implied texture with their cactus spines and in their gravel.  Some students also specifically employed differing color values in their backgrounds.  (Art teachers, note that the cacti and pots were drawn separately and glued onto a previously painted background.)  I think the students did some beautiful work, and in our discussions they really showed a great understanding of the elements and principles they've been learning about for the past several years!

Artwork by Landon

Artwork by Megan

Artwork by Morgan

2nd Grade Mad Scientist Color Mixing

Artwork by Kate

This project gave our 2nd graders more exposure to drawing 3d forms both through the use of curved lines (on the containers and the bubbles) and with highlights (on the bubbles).  It was also another way for them to "experiment" with color mixing: each container is painted with a mixture of two different primary colors in order to create all three secondary colors.  The containers are drawn and painted on a separate sheet then cut out after they're dry.  These are glued to a sheet of black construction paper, and bubbles are added using circle tracers and oil pastels.  Students were really happy with how their bubbles came out!  I only wish I had more pictures, but I was lacking my usual camera, and most that I took with my phone were not good enough to post:(

Artwork by Brandon