Monday, October 31, 2011

Second Grade Monster Portraits

Second graders have been exploring texture, pattern and watercolor resist. For this quick project, we created monster portraits. We were inspired by the work of Jim Henson. We looked at many of his monster-like creatures and noticed how they often included textures, crazy colors and silly details.
To create their own monster portrait, students began by using black oil pastel. They first created the outline of their creature. Next, they colored in the whole background black, allowing the finished monster to stand out. They used colored oil pastel to add texture, pattern and details. Finally, they painted their work using watercolor. Because watercolor resists oil pastel, the paint did not cover their drawing, but instead allowed their line work to show. Here are a few finished examples, but check for more on Digication:

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kindergarten Observational Drawing Beginnings

I cannot express how important drawing from observation is at every age. With observational drawing, children learn to really look and to express their interactions with objects. Nancy Smith's Observation Drawing with Children is an excellent resource for teachers and parents interested in developing a child's looking and drawing skills.

I love the first time we explore looking and drawing in kindergarten. Students are sometimes nervous about getting drawings to look just like their subject, but instead we focus on looking at and including as many details as we can. For our first observational drawing experience, we looked closely at leaves. First, we used our sense of touch to explore a leaf in the mystery box. Students were not told what was inside before this experience, so they had to feel the leaf and share with the class what they noticed with their hands. Next, students looked closely at the shape of the leaf. We also listed all of the details we saw on the leaf--veins, holes, spots, etc. After this long investigation, students were asked to choose one leaf and went back to their table to draw it.

In the same class period (Kindergarten artists work FAST!), we came back to the rug and talked about warm and cool colors. Students noticed that warm colors remind us of things that are hot and cool colors remind us of things that are cold. After reviewing the watercolor painting procedure, students went back to their drawings and added color. They were directed to use warm colors inside the leaf and cool colors on the outside. They did a fantastic job!

More on Digication. (You have to see these!)

Third Grade Castles and Color

Third grade artists finished their castle drawings! There are a number of examples up on the Digication page and don't forget to check out the display near the office. They came out great.

Since we worked for so long in black and white, we are jumping right into color explorations. For the first one, students explored color mixing. We focused on how to create a variety of colors using primary and secondary colors. We also discussed previously learned concepts such as tints and shades. Third graders spent a class simply experimenting with color mixing. They created a large painting with as many different colors as they could fit.

The following class, we discussed how we made brown with paint. We talked about how when two colors that are across from each other on the color wheel are mixed, brown is created. We learned that these colors are called complimentary colors. Students noticed how when two complimentary colors are next to each other, they stand out.

Students then explored sorting geometric and organic shapes on the Smartboard. For the activity, students were asked to create organic shapes out of paper that have a pattern on top. Students were only allowed to use one pair of complimentary colors to create a dynamic color contrast.

Each artist created a number of different organic shapes with pattern. In our next class, we will look at how the artist Elizabeth Murray created compositions of different shapes. Students will take the shapes they created and put them together to create a finished abstract collage.

Second Grade

Second grade artists have been working on a variety of projects in the past few weeks. The first was creating "texture cities." We explored how the architecture of a city is different than that of a place like New Canaan. Students reflected on their neighborhood collages and thought about what would have been different if they were depicting a city. Next, we looked at examples of art and architecture from New York City. Students looked at how illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg depicts a city. We also looked at some examples of interesting architecture such as the Guggenheim Museum.

Students were then asked to create a drawing of an imaginary city. They needed to create all of the large elements by tracing basic shapes. They could then add free handed details. Students were reminded of how we can show background, middle ground and foreground by overlapping and varying size.

Next, artists added color to their work using crayon. Instead of simply coloring the shapes in, students explored how texture could add interest to their work. They used texture rubbing to fill their work with color.

Next, students began working on monster portraits. For the next two projects, we will be exploring watercolor resist. Here is a sneak peek, but I will post more about this project once all of the classes are finished.

Keep up the good work second graders!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fourth Grade Painted Paper Collage

Wayne Thiebaud is one of my favorite artists to share with students. They immediately connect with his bright colors and playful subject matter. Fourth graders have been working on a painted paper collage project inspired by the work of Wayne Thiebaud.

The first class, students had a "painted paper factory." Students created sheets of paper filled with a color and texture to use in the upcoming project. We brushed up on our understanding of color mixing and played with adding texture with brush strokes.

The following week we looked at many examples of Thiebaud's work. We noticed how his paintings included food and had simple backgrounds. The students thought this was probably because he wanted you to look at the food without getting distracted. We also had a number of ideas about why a person would make pictures of food. Fourth grade artists were then given their assignment-- to create a picture of food with collage using the paper they had created during the previous class. Students were reminded to look for textures and colors that would suit the foods they were depicting.

The artists had fantastic ideas for foods to create. We also discussed how we should think about our composition, just as we had with our abstract drawings. Students tried out different compositions before gluing down their final pieces. Here are some finished examples:

Not every class has completed this project. I will put many more examples up on Digication when we are done!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Digication and Updates

This blog is intended to provide a glimpse at our art making process. I will often include images of finished pieces, but they will be limited to one or two for each project. To see more finished work, check out the South School Art Studio Digication page. (click here) Here you will find a brief description of the projects we are working on and multiple finished examples.

Here are some sneak peeks of posts coming up this week:

2nd grade Texture City Drawings

3rd Grade Castle Completion and Painting Explorations

4th Grade Painted Paper Food Collage

Thanks for checking out our hard work!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

First Grade Animal Collages

First graders continue their exploration of collage. In this project, students studied the work one of my favorites--Charley Harper. We looked closely at how he "builds" pictures out of simple shapes.

First graders then created their own collage of an animal. Students explored how they can use basic shapes to create their picture. Students began with the large shapes before adding small details, just as they had practiced in their wild thing collages.

The following class, we discussed animal habitats. Students created a collage habitat for their animal on another piece of paper. When they were finished, they cut out their animal and put it into the habitat. Here are a few examples of finished work. More will be up on our Digication page this weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Primary Colors

Kindergarten artists are learning about the primary colors. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. In kindergarten, we learn that these colors are special because you cannot make them but you can use them to make many other colors. We began by looking at an artist who used the primary colors--Piet Mondrian. Students noticed that his work was mostly straight lines and rectangles of the primary colors, black and white. To help us remember the primary colors, students created a piece of art inspired by Mondrian.

Next, kindergarten artists experimented with color mixing. We read the book Mouse Paint and noticed how the primary colors can be mixed to make orange, green and purple. For our first exploration of color mixing, students painted circles and noticed what happens when wet paint mixes.

Students looked to Kandinsky for inspiration.

Here are some shots of kindergarten artists working. Check back on our Digication page (link on the right column) for finished pieces. They will be up in the next week!

In this unit, artists are learning about the painting routines and procedures. We are learning about the proper care of brushes and painting tools, carrying wet paintings and cleaning up our space when we are finished.

Parents please note -- We will be painting for the next few weeks. If your child has not brought in an art smock, please do so as soon as possible. Thanks!