Wednesday, December 11, 2013

1st Grade Newspaper Owl paintings

First grade students just finished forming owls out of clay. While we waited for them to dry out and cycle through the kiln, we read Jane Yolen's book Owl Moon, studied characteristics of owls, and created a 2D project using watercolor resist and newspaper collage.

Class 1: students prepared a background by drawing a full moon, stars, and snowflakes on a piece of 9x12" watercolor paper with white oil pastel. We used dark colors of watercolor paint to fill in the night sky. Students were impressed that the white pastel still shows up after the paint is brushed onto the paper!

Class 2: Using a black crayon, students drew owls on a piece of newspaper (after discussing how the texture of the words reminds us of the stripes on an owl's feathers). We glued our owls to the background, then added yellow eyes, a brown branch and owl feet. We added the textures of feathers and bark to complete our work.

Next week we will glaze our freshly-fired ceramic!

Friday, December 6, 2013

1st Grade Fall Tree

Now that the season is rapidly changing from fall to winter, the first graders' lovely tree is coming down! For the past month, our tree has stood in the front entryway to the school.

coffee filters (I used the large size)
washable markers (red, orange, yellow, brown)
black crayon or oil pastels
pre-cut leaf tracers fit to size of coffee filter
Spray bottle with water
tree branch & base (I used a big bucket filled with bags of clay scraps)

After our study of warm and cold colors, 1st graders each wrote their name on a coffee filter with a black crayon, then colored the opposite side with warm-colored washable markers. We placed newsprint beneath our work while we colored since the ink easily bleeds through the paper. Students were encouraged to fill the circle with as many shapes of color as possible, but if they missed some places, the work turns out beautifully regardless. As they finished, students held up their work to pass through the "mist machine..." otherwise known as Ms. Jabs with a spray bottle of water. Much giggling. I stacked the damp filters together on a tray and let them sit over the week to blend and dry.

The following class period, students traced a leaf shape to their paper (I don't like to use tracing for very many projects, but it can be a difficult skill for the younger students and this is a great short project to gain practice). They cut the leaf out, which was more difficult than you might expect due to the thin paper and complex outline to the leaf shape. When complete, students helped choose a spot on the branches to hang their leaves with masking tape.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

5th Grade Pop Art Shoe Project

5th grade students viewed the shoe drawings of Andy Warhol, completed earlier in his career as illustrations for advertisements. We discussed how Pop Art developed as a reflection of the culture of mass production in the United States. Pop Art frequently uses repetition of images, bright colors, and everyday images as subject matter.

Students made contour drawings of their own shoes (how VERY exciting to be allowed to take off your shoes in Art class!!). We used textured stamps to create repetition in our backgrounds, painted our shoes with bright colors, and added bold outlines with permanent markers.

Artist of the Week

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Famous Buildings Drawn in Style of Marz Jr.

This lesson for 7th-8th grade students was intended to reinforce the principles of emphasis, contrast, and rhythm. Students viewed specifically the building drawings of artist Marz Jr. and then researched a famous building of their choice to use as a subject.

After recording the building's name, architect, location and use, students drew the building on white paper. They were to draw as precisely as possible but were not allowed to use a ruler in order to give the drawing a loose, energetic feeling. The building's outline was cut out and glued to a 12x18" piece of construction paper. Students added a second color or additional buildings as needed to complete the composition.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Artist of the Week

Something new for this school year: inspired by a fellow Art teacher in my district, I set up this display in the hallway outside the Art room. Each Friday, I post a new piece of student art. The artist's name is revealed during morning announcements and the student comes to the office for a certificate and gift of a sketchbook. It is exciting to have another way to recognize students for their hard work!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

1st Grade Warm Suns & Cold Moons

First grade students have been working with the warm and cold color families for the past two sessions. We brainstormed different things these colors reminded us of: the warm colors red, orange and yellow reminded us of things like sunshine, fire, and hot lava. The cold colors blue, green and purple (although purple can technically be either warm or cold, they tell me) reminded us of water, cloudy skies and blueberries.

Each student chose whether to create an artwork with warm or with cold colors; behold some of this year's Warm Suns and Cool Moons!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bird in the Art Room

Not a typical post, but it was not a typical day in 1st hour art class:

With the help of our custodian, this wayward starling safely found its way back outside and we could continue our lesson!

Monday, September 9, 2013

1st Grade Art Activity: "The Crayon Box that Talked"

All 3 first grade classes have now attended their first Art class at my school! After making introductions, discussing expectations and receiving a "tour" of the Art room, we read Shane DeRolf's book The Crayon Box that Talked. Having a character-education theme, this lesson was a good fit for the day's objectives!

Ahead of time, I prepared 3"x8" white stips of "crayon paper" and pre-cut construction paper "crayons" of various colors. Students practiced writing their name and class code on their crayons, and drew self-portraits. I found it to be a good way to practice names and pre-assess skill levels.

Check out our fantastic "box of crayons!"

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome Back to School!

This video was shown to me by another art teacher last week. I can't stop laughing. Here's to another great year in Art class!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

9th Grade Self-Portrait Triptychs

My three 9th grade independent study students at the Junior High finished their Acrylic self-portrait triptychs last week!

Students viewed examples of the triptych format in painting throughout history, then formed compositions including self-descriptive subject matter (in addition to the self-portrait, of course).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Middle School Study of Paul Klee Letter-Painting

Now presenting: a few photos of my 7th-8th grade students' paintings based on Paul Klee's painting Once Emerged from the Grey of Night. This was a shorter project squeezed into a very busy time of year, but I was more or less pleased with the results and the students became very engaged in finding the right words and colors to choose for their paintings.

I am excited to try this project again next year with a few changes; specifically, using the project to explore different properties of color. Painting the negative spaces within and between the letters presents an opportunity to discuss hue, value and intensity within an artwork. I also wish I had a higher-quality and poundage of watercolor paper available at the time, but in a pinch we settled for less-than-ideal paper.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Youth Art Month 2013: Sneak Preview

Each year, on the day before Youth Art Month opens, I love to walk through the Rahr-West Art Museum (empty but for the several art teachers scurrying around wielding clipboards) and take as much time as I need to simply enjoy the work. After the rush of show preparation and setup, yet before the doors open to hundreds of students and families tomorrow, the quiet gallery is ideal for reflection and renewed conviction in the importance that the Arts have in our students' lives.

If you can join us Sunday, March 3 for the opening program at 1:00pm or reception from 2:00-4:00pm at the Rahr-West Art Museum, please do! The show will be on view through March 30, 2013.

Youth Art Month Billboard Design Contest

The big Youth Art Month exhibit opens tomorrow--and in the nick of time, our advertisements are up around town!

We are happy to have a long-standing partnership with an advertising company that provides the use of three billboards in town during Youth Art Month. A district-wide contest is held for three age categories: elementary (specifically 5th grade), Jr. High (7-9th grade), and High School (10-12th grade).

A brave colleague trudged through the deep snow this morning to take photos of the roadside billboards for the display at the Museum. I will happily share her work rather than undertake this mission on my own!

The elementary winner, I am thrilled to say, is from my school this year!

From Junior High:

From the High School (yes, there is a giant cow sculpture in our town):

Honorable mentions are also awarded from each school-- these designs, rather than becoming billboards, are used for posters, programs, and postcards for the show.

Congratulations to our 2013 advertising artists! And if you are driving through Manitowoc, Wisconsin during the month of March, keep an eye out for our billboards!

5th Grade Jasper Johns Collaborative at the Museum!

In a previous post, I shared our 5th grade Jasper Johns collaborative of the year featuring the work Numbers in Color.

The finished work is ready for viewing at Manitowoc's Rahr-West Art Museum for Youth Art Month, March 3-30!

Friday, March 1, 2013

How to Paint the Mona Lisa

Here it is: the grand unveiling of the 6th graders' rendition of Da Vinci's masterpiece! I couldn't be prouder of my students for the fine work they have done--and the dedication they showed to the work's completion by giving up valuable lunch recess time to finish in time for our Youth Art Month exhibit!

There is the product, smiling in all her enigmatic glory on the walls of the Rahr-West Art Museum in anticipation of Sunday's opening! And now for the process:

1. The prep work: students are more than capable of helping with this, but I was an Art teacher on a mission to finish this job in 3 class periods, so I prepped the materials: 60 9" squares of canvas cut and primed with gesso. I did not gesso all the way to the edges, in order for the cloth to be more flexible for sewing purposes and also to provide students with a "boundary" and not paint all the way to the edges. When students received their squares, they traced a slightly smaller 8" square with pencil (leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges) before drawing their section.

Other materials for step 1:
-photocopied outlines of Mona Lisa with grid drawn & numbered on top. We used 10 rows, 6 columns.
-I made little "viewfinders" to make it easier for students to isolate their assigned square on the grid.
-projected or posted copies of Mona Lisa in color for student reference.

2. The work begins. First task: assign squares. I called each table up to the front one at a time and helped students choose a square individually, keeping a master copy in my possession of who was responsible for each number. Students labeled the back of their canvas with name, number, and a convenient arrow pointing to the top of the composition. When we were all set, it didn't take long for students to transfer the contents of their square to the canvas using pencil.

3. Paint. We used a limited palette of acrylic paint: black, white, skintone, brown, green and a purple/brown mixture were the only colors offered to students. We demonstrated and practiced different techniques for hair, skin, cloth, sky, and foliage.

4. Most of the students finished within 3 class periods, but those who needed more time were motivated to come in during recess when they saw how it looked when puzzled together!

5. The part where I use a sewing machine for the first time since Home Ec. class in 8th grade!!! I am deeply grafeful to the wonderful 6th grade teacher at my school who came in, ON A SNOW DAY, to bring her machine (and trust me to use it) in order for this to happen! My stitching may not be even, but I had a grand time and am thrilled to see the work come to completion!

6. Reflection: Before taking the quilt to the Museum, I dedicated one 6th grade Art session to a grand unveiling. We used the first part of the class period to learn about Leonardo Da Vinci and view/discuss his work. At the very end, we unfurled Mona Lisa to a "drumroll" that the students were only too happy to provide! They each got to find their squares, admire the textures and styles represented in the squares of classmates, and bask in a sense of accomplishment at a job well done!