Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Grade Jungles

First grade artists have been studying painting. For this project, we learned about warm and cool colors. Students were introduced to the artist Henri Rousseau. We learned that he was a Parisian artist who would paint imaginary jungle scenes inspired by visits to the Paris botanical gardens.

To begin this project, students were asked to imagine that they were in the jungle. We brainstormed ideas for how it would look and feel to be in the jungle. Next, students used cool colors and neutrals to create their jungle scene. With the cool colors, we only added plants and trees.

The following class, students added warm colors. They used these to add flowers and animals to their jungle scene.

Expressive Self Portraits

Third grade artists have been studying portraiture. We explored how artists create expressive drawings of people by using certain colors and facial expressions. To begin this project, students created three self portraits. In each one, they were asked to convey a different emotion. We used ebony pencils for these studies and created value by smudging and shading. Students used mirrors and drew from observation, noticing how the lines and features of their face changed with each new expression.

Next, we talked about how artists use color to express emotion. We discussed how different colors show feeling. Students were asked to choose one color and one emotion and to create a monochromatic self portrait.

What emotions do you think these students are expressing?

For more of this work, check out the Digication page! (click here)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kindergarten Catch Up!

Kindergarten artists have been working on a number of projects recently. Since I'm behind on blogging, I'll include two projects in this one post.

Pinch Pots!
Kindergarten artists learned about clay. We also learned how to create pinch pots. Here are some action photos. The work is air drying before we put it in the kiln. Expect finished pieces shortly after break.

Kindergarten artists learned about 3D (or three dimensional) artwork. They explored how they could take a familiar material (paper) that is usually used for 2D work and make it pop out. Students created hanging sculptures and sculptures on a base.

Kindergarten artists are now creating 2D and 3D collages using paper, glue and scissors. More on that later...

Fourth Grade Relief Sculpture

Get ready for a long post! Fourth graders have been BUSY in the art studio! We have been working on cardboard relief sculpture for a few weeks. We started out by simply experimenting with the material. I wrote about the experience as a guest blogger for From Studio to Classroom. You can check out that post here.
I gave the students one full period to play with cardboard. We discussed relief sculpture and how height can be built up by layering one piece on top of another. Students were challenged to create a piece of their choice (either representational or abstract). They came up with some really interesting ideas. More importantly, though, they figured out how to make the cardboard work for building. They explored different ways to cut, add texture and attach. All of these skills would be very important in the next part of the unit.

The next time we met, I shared one of my favorite contemporary artists, AJ Fosik. (We learned that a contemporary artist is a living artist who is making work now.) AJ Fosik makes amazing relief sculptures out of wood. Many show animals and fantastic creatures. Here are a couple of examples:

The fourth graders loved his work! They noticed how he includes interesting details (see missing tooth above) and bright colors to make his work stand out. Once we discussed his work, students were asked to create their own animal head relief sculpture out of cardboard. Students first built their relief by cutting cardboard and layering to create height. Next they painted their work with one color. This color is their base coat. Finally, they added details and texture using a small brush. Some classes are finished and some are still working, so here are some images of the process:

Here are two completed pieces. I will let you know when more go up on Digication. The students have been really successful with this project and it has been a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Second Grade Pattern Alphabets

In this project, second graders took inspiration from Jasper Johns and created work using familiar characters. If you look closely at this painting, you can see Johns used numbers. In their own work, second grade artists explored creating a painting with the alphabet.

Second grade artists have been experimenting with watercolor resist, as you saw in their monster portraits. Students began by folding their paper into 32 boxes. Next, they used oil pastel to add one letter to each box. They were encouraged to experiment with the size of their letter and the style they wrote it in. Next, the artists used a different color to create a pattern behind each letter. We remembered that a pattern is made when a color, line or shape is repeated again and again.

After they had completed all of their boxes, including the six "bonus boxes" at the end, students added watercolor over their drawings. We discussed how certain colors contrast and make others stand out. Students noticed that this was especially true when they used a very dark paint over light drawing.

The result is really interesting. In some pieces, the alphabet is very clear. In others, it takes a minute to recognize the letters. Either way, they came out great!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Organic Shape Collage

Third grade students have been studying shape and color. For this project, we were inspired by the work of Elizabeth Murray. To begin, we learned about organic and geometric shapes. Artists noticed that organic shapes often have curved and irregular sides and geometric shapes are shapes that we recognize (square, triangle, rectangle, etc.). Next, we learned about complementary colors. Complementary colors are across from each other on the colorwheel. When you put two complementary colors next to each other, they become vivid and stand out. Students were asked to create organic shapes out of construction paper. Once they had their shape, they used the complementary color to create patterns on top with collage. Students made a number of shapes using the same pair of complementary colors.

Next, we looked at the work of Elizabeth Murray. Students noticed how she put many shapes together into one composition. We also noticed that new shapes were created in the space between the colored shapes. This is called negative space. Students took all of their shapes and played with their own composition. They experimented until they made a piece that had interesting positive and negative space. Once they were finished, they glued their shapes to large pieces of paper.

Check Digication for more finished pieces in the coming week.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From Studio to Classroom

Breaking News! I am the guest blogger for the month of November on From Studio to Classroom, an excellent blog about contemporary ideas in art education. Check it out!

Later this week--kindergarten ceramics, first grade jungles, second grade alphabet drawings, third grade collages and fourth grade cardboard relief explorations.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mixing Secondary Colors

First grade artists have been learning about secondary colors. For this seasonally appropriate project, first graders made paintings of pumpkins. They used the primary colors to create secondary colors. They made orange pumpkins, a purple sky and green grass. We talked about how there are many different kinds of greens, purples and oranges depending on how much of each primary color you use.

The following class, we discussed outline and pattern. Students used black paint to outline their pumpkins and to go over the horizon line. We then learned that you can make patterns in art when lines and shapes are repeated. Students added interesting patterns to their grass and sky to complete their paintings.

This project was a good start to our painting unit because the students had a clear idea of what they were being asked to do and of the steps that they should follow to complete the project. Now that we are familiar with the painting routines and procedures, we will continue to create paintings and the artists will be asked to make more independent choices for their imagery. As always, check out more completed work on Digication.