Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Snowy Day Collages

Inspired by this winter weather, PK and Kindergarten artists recently created snowy day artworks. Kindergarten students began by creating collages of houses, adding a tree or car or another house next to it. We began by remembering how we make a collage, cutting out different shapes to create a picture of a house or multiple houses. 
We thought carefully about details to add to our houses, including windows, doors, roofs, and chimneys. PK students drew their houses and trees using oil pastels, thinking about shapes to use for different parts of their house. 
After finishing their houses, we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Many students were already familiar with the book, which follows a boy named Peter as he explores his neighborhood on a snowy day. After listening to the story, students used white paint to add snow to their picture. 
Using a brush, students painted on top of their houses, added snow to the ground and also dotted paint to create snow falling from the sky. Some students created very snowy days and even some blizzards! Take a look at some of our artworks below.
Vista, Kindergarten (Tan)
Anna, Kindergarten (Tan)
Sebastian, Kindergarten (Tan)
Joshua, Kindergarten (Martignetti)
Roslyn, Kindergarten (Martignetti)
Harrison, Kindergarten (Segreve)
Jace, Kindergarten (Segreve)
Avantika, Kindergarten (Segreve)
Shriya, PK (Mattson)
Des, PK (Mattson)
Sawyer, PK (Mattson)
Evelyn, PK (Mattson)

Skyler, Kindergarten (Martignetti)
Kelly, Kindergarten (Blackwood)
Wyatt, Kindergarten (Beatty)
Mateo, Kindergarten (Beatty)
Ozan, Kindergarten (Beatty)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Weekend at the Boston Museums

This weekend I went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts. Although I have been to both museums before, I thought I would share about it here. I know that many of our families and students are familiar with the Boston museums -- I even ran into a Hosmer family at the MFA my first year! -- but I thought I would mention them in case you have not been recently!
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is my favorite place to take guests visiting from out of town. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (called Fenway Court during Isabella Stewart Gardner's lifetime) is a museum in the Fenway area of Boston, near the Museum of Fine Arts. 
The museum was opened in 1903 by Isabella Stewart Gardner to showcase her collection of European, Asian, and American art, from paintings and sculpture to tapestries. The building was designed to look like a 15th century palace in Venice, Italy. There is a beautiful courtyard in the center and it feels more like a house than a museum. During Isabella's lifetime, she welcomed artists, performers, and scholars here to draw inspiration from the collection and setting.
When she died in 1924, Isabella left money to support the museum and asked that her collection be permanently exhibited "for the education and enjoyment of the public forever" according to her vision and intent. The artwork remains as she had it arranged. In 1990, thirteen of the museum's works were stolen and they not been recovered yet. Also, did you know that if you are named Isabella, you get free lifetime admission? 
I also went to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Dutch still life paintings before the exhibition ended. I am planning to go again soon for the Takahashi Murakami exhibit! The Dutch and Flemish paintings from the 17th century ranged from still life to portraits and landscapes. 
I enjoyed the still life paintings, since we learn about the art of still life in 5th grade, and they were worth seeing up close in person. Many of the objects in a still life have meanings and it was amazing to see the level of detail that the artists were able to capture. They also had a sense of humor, as I noticed in the corner of one of the paintings:
If you have not yet been to these museums, I recommend that you do!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Creative Color Mixing and Naming

Recently artists in 3rd grade explored color mixing in preparation for an upcoming project! We mixed 10 different colors and also came up with a unique name for each color. 
First, students explored color mixing, trying to come up with 10 different colors for their palette. We discussed how you might try to create a color that you already have in mind, like a light pink, or just see what happens if you mix a lot of yellow, a little blue, and some white. Since we had just painted a color wheel with primary, secondary and tertiary colors, students were familiar with which colors to mix together to get a wide range of colors. We also experimented with adding white and black to colors, noting how it made colors lighter or darker. 
The following class, students thought of creative names for each of the colors they had made. Instead of simply naming colors "light pink" or "dark blue," students were challenged to come up with creative names like "cotton candy pink" and "ocean blue." We looked at examples of paint chips and noticed that many names were inspired by animals, nature, food, and the weather. We made a list of things we might be inspired by for color naming and then named all of our colors. We shared our paint colors and corresponding names with partners and then with the whole class. A lot of students used alliteration, which is when you repeat the same letter at the beginning of your words, like "pig pink" and "grass green." Check out some of our creative color names below!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Personal Still Life Drawings

5th grade artists have been studying the concept of value, the lightness and darkness of color. After drawing a value scale to explore lighter and darker values using Ebony pencils, students drew a marshmallow. Even though they are white, once they were set on the table and looked at in natural light, we noticed a range of values. One side was lighter due to the light coming in from the window. 
We also discussed the art of still life. Still life is the art of drawing or painting inanimate objects such as fruit, flowers and household items which are usually arranged on a table or shelf. Traditionally, still life painting was a way for artists to show off their technical skills. We looked at two examples of still life painting and discussed which one looked more realistic and what the artist did that made those objects appear three-dimensional. 
Willem Claesz Heda, Banquet Piece with Mince Pie (1635)
Students noticed that Heda emphasized the lights and darks in his painting, using shading on the tablecloth and adding highlights on things like the glass cup. We also noticed that the objects had shadows underneath that made them look like they were resting on the table, and that the metal objects were shiny and really showed their texture. 
For the next class, students brought in a personal object from home to do a still life drawing. Students shared the object they had chosen to bring in with their class before we began our drawings. Some students brought in a stuffed animal or figurine that they have had for a long time, or received for a birthday or special occasion in their lives. Other students brought in sports equipment. 
Students set up their objects in front of them and began by drawing the shape or shapes in their object. They added details and considered where it was darker or lighter on their object, which depended on where they were sitting in the room in relation to the windows. The following class, students added color using colored pencils. They focused on matching the colors of their object and showing the texture. Below are some examples of our still life drawings.
Adrian, 5th Grade (Bellis)
Anna, 5th Grade (Twomey)
Cammy, 5th Grade (Twomey)
Caroline A., 5th Grade (Domermuth & Fantasia)
Christos, 5th Grade (Domermuth & Fantasia)
Dimitri, 5th Grade (Psychoghios)
Emilio, 5th Grade (Psychoghios)
Gabe C., 5th Grade (Domermuth & Fantasia)
Gio, 5th Grade (Domermuth & Fantasia)
Hazel, 5th Grade (Twomey)
Isiana, 5th Grade (Domermuth & Fantasia)
Jack, 5th Grade (Twomey)
Joey, 5th Grade (Domermuth & Fantasia)
Kate S., 5th Grade (Bellis)
Lucas, 5th Grade (Bellis)
Tessa, 5th Grade (Domermuth & Fantasia)
Xander, 5th Grade (Bellis)
Zach, 5th Grade (Domermuth & Fantasia)

Patrick, 5th Grade (Twomey)