Saturday, April 5, 2014

Springing into Spring!

We've been trying to subtly urge the weather to turn warmer here in the art classroom lately…we started off by celebrating St. Patrick's day in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade with some green-inspired landscapes:

Then Kindergarten learned about Georgia O'Keeffe's beautiful flower paintings and used warm and cool colors to create some flower collages of their own. They've gotten very good at identifying the warm and cool colors on their own - pop quiz them at home and see! (Warm = red, yellow, orange // Cool = blue, green and purple/violet)

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday in March, 1st grade read "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" then used their imagination to paint some inventive fish of their own. I was astounded by their creativity!

3rd grade has been working on dot paintings inspired by Australian aboriginal art. The dot paintings by Australian Aboriginal people are very striking and take time and patience to create. Our 3rd graders learned a little bit about the patience aspect, while having a bit of fun at the same time! Ask your child what inspired traditional Australian aboriginal art ("dream time") and how it is different or similar to what inspired their dot painting. Check out the colorful results:

In 1st and 2nd grade currently we've been learning about pysanky eggs, beautifully painted artworks from the Ukraine. We've focused on using shapes, lines and color to create a variety of patterns. Though many of the students are still working on theirs, one of our students with special needs really impressed me with her choice of color and quality of line in her work. I totally love it:

Last but certainly not least, 5th grade briefly revisited the concept of symbols and were introduced to blues music in our project last month. I asked them to combine symbols for the state of Maryland and symbols of blues music to create a t-shirt design for the annual  Western MD Blues Fest children's t-shirt design competition. I feel really strongly that one of our students will win and have their design featured on the t-shirt this year. I was really impressed with their work, I think there are some future graphic designers in the bunch! Keep your fingers crossed, I'll post ASAP if one of ours wins! Here are a few examples…

In other news…I recently taught a Robot sculpture class at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. It was super fun, as demonstrated by some of their finished sculptures:

And lastly, today I had a blast at one of our student's birthdays, where I spent some time creating wearable art: face painting at Alli's party! Happy 6th Birthday Alli! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Desserts and Totem Poles

This is going to be a big post because it's been so long since I've been able to take photos of final artworks.  These snow days really threw off our flow, but it seems like we may be in the clear for spring - fingers crossed!  Here's what we've been working on…

4th graders are just finishing up studying the American painter Wayne Thiebaud, a pop artist who gained popularity in the 1960's ahead of many other big names in the movement, who loved to paint realistic desserts with strong shadows on plain backgrounds.  Thiebaud is an interesting artist whose time spent in the food service industry may have had an influence on his choice of mass pro ducted (typically of the pop movement) food items in his artwork.  He also spent time working as a Disney animator one summer as a teenager, where he would draw "in-between" frames for very cheap pay.  Here, our 4th graders render 3-D objects using tints and shades in the likeness of Thiebaud.

Our 5th graders recently finished up the huge undertaking of building a 3-D totem pole in teams using only recycled material.  They learned about the culture of Native Americans in the US and examined the symbolism of animals commonly used in the poles. Here are a few examples of their creatures and totem poles.

In 1st grade we just finished studying jazz music and trying to capture the feel and sound of jazz in a painting.  We listened to jazz music, drew real instruments (that Mrs. Winters, the band teacher, so kindly lent us!) and looked at paintings from the Harlem Renaissance. I didn't have any photos of the finished products, but I did find this depiction of a trumpet by a 1st grader particularly delightful!

In kindergarten this past week, we learned about pattern and used what we already knew about spirals to create a patterned snake.  This was one students "minion snake" that I thought was really cute!

2nd grade is just finishing up their warm and cool paper weavings.  These will be featured at the 2nd grade after school showcase in March.

 Also, I received this lovely handmade Valentine last week and the amount of work put into it really made my day along with the sweet message inside.  I was really feeling the love that day, mostly in the form of chocolate!

I'd also like to thank all the 3rd grade families that came out to the showcase night last week.  I hope you enjoyed our Keith Haring drawings, the kids worked really hard to make up for lost time (snow days) and finish them in time for the showcase.  I heard from students many positive comments that families said about the art - thank you for supporting your children and the arts! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome Back!

Phew, it's been a while!  The holidays are a crazy busy and FUN time.  I hope all you Rockland Woods families out there had a safe and fun winter break.  Now for an art update!

 First off, we have the work of a few very skilled fourth graders who just completed a lesson in creating depth within a landscape.  We talked about perspective and all the elements of a landscape: horizon line, background, foreground and middle ground and how to create the illusion of depth by varying the sizes of those elements.  (We also tried to go in rainbow order from top to bottom!)

Before winter break, 2nd grade learned a little bit about Native American culture and cranked out these awesome dreamcatchers.  They learned about what Native Americans ate, how they got their food, what types of houses they lived in and the legend of the dreamcatcher.

Fifth Grade has also been learning about Native Americans, and have been given the challenge to create totem poles out of recycled materials.  The students are working hard to cooperate within their 

groups, manage and delegate responsibilities, creatively repurpose materials and problem solve if things don't quite turn out right the first or second time.  This has been an excellent exercise for in a myriad of areas and I can't wait to see the finished result.  This is a sneak peak of two of the cutest recycled critters so far.

Embracing the winter weather, I had to include some snow-related projects - it's on everybody's mind anyway!  Second Grade learned about using shape and shading to create perspective in this arial view of a snowman (or woman!).

And first grade made snow families.

Before winter break, 3rd grade learned about contrasting colors and made woven textiles inspired by colorful Mexican blankets. We even attached them to a loop of yarn so the students had a wearable piece of art by the end of the project.

I leave you with a drawing out of one of our talented 5th grader's sketchbooks.  If this is what my students are doing in their spare time, I'm a happy camper!  So awesome when a student shares something like this with me.

Stay tuned - I'll share the totem poles as soon as they are done being constructed.  Otherwise - brace yourselves - February is supposed to bring us another heap of snow.  Stay warm and make some soup!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Huichol Yarn Paintings

Traditional Huichol bead art.
Most recently, 5th grade finished up these Huichol inspired yarn paintings.  The Huichol are native Americans who live in western central Mexico.  They have a rich, spiritual culture in which art-making plays an integral role.  Many Huichol artisans make beaded works or yarn paintings that take painstaking hours to create.

A traditional Huichol yarn painting.

The students viewed and discussed symbolism within the traditional yarn paintings, and tried to describe what was meaningful to the Huichol people.  They then created a composition of their own using symbols to communicate what is important in their own lives.  Although this project was frustrating at times, the students exhibited great patience in creating their pieces (with the occasional freak out and re-group, of course!) All in all, the results were amazing.  Here are a few examples…

I also wanted to include some photos of kindergarten's pinch pot fish because they are so cute and creative.

Also, I'd been waiting until after I submitted these PS Aeropostle contest entries before I shared them.  These fifth graders real brought their A game with their clever designs.  Future graphic designers perhaps?

And lastly, a few weeks ago we studied Piet Mondrian in kindergarten and I challenged the students to create their own abstract representations of an object.  As a Star Wars fan, this particular composition fell very near and dear to my heart…

That's all for now - have a great weekend!!