Tuesday, November 25, 2014


3rd grade artists looked at the work of Roy Lichtenstein and learned about the use of onomatopoeia -- which is a really long word! Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound of the object or action it refers to. Some examples are words like: "ouch," "achoo" and "ka-boom!"

We looked at a few of Lichtenstein's paintings and shared our observations. We noticed that he had a comic or cartoon-style to his artwork and he mainly used the 3 primary colors: red, yellow and blue. He also used words like "Whaam!" and "Varoom!" to show action.  
Roy Lichtenstein, Varoom! (1963)
We brainstormed some onomatopoeia words as a class, and then did 4 sketches of ideas where we took the word and expressed it as a visual, combining letters and pictures as part of our design:

During the next class, we looked at more of Lichtenstein's paintings and noticed that he used dots of color, called benday dots, which were inspired by the way comic books were printed at the time. 
Roy Lichtenstein, Sunrise (1965)
We selected one sketch to make into a larger drawing and used markers in primary colors, incorporating the benday dots in at least one area of our artwork. These are some examples of our finished onomatopoeia drawings:
Natalie, 3rd Grade
Tamsin, 3rd Grade
Lily, 3rd Grade
Cyrus, 3rd Grade

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mondrian Lines & Shapes

Recently, PK and Kindergarten artists looked at the work of Piet Mondrian. We looked at two of his paintings and shared our observations. We noticed that he used lines to create his shapes, and that he used the 3 primary colors in his rectangles and squares. We also noticed that his painting looked very neat, not messy, and it reminded some students of a maze.
Piet Mondrian, Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray and Blue (1921)
We created our own collage using lines and shapes, using the same 3 colors that Mondrian used for our shapes. We carefully considered how to arrange our lines to create spaces for shapes and thought about how to use the appropriate amount of glue.
We learned that with a collage, it helps to put your line or shape down on your paper and think about how you might arrange them before you glue it down. Here are some of our Mondrian-inspired collages!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dia de Muertos

5th and 4th grade artists learned about Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, holiday celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd. Families gather to honor and remember friends and family members who have died. Traditions include building altars to honor family members and decorating them with sugar skulls and marigolds, a kind of flower.  

We watched Google's recent doodle of the day about the holiday. The skull or calavera is a common symbol of the holiday. We looked at examples of sugar skulls and noticed that they had a symmetrical design and were usually very colorful. We drew our own skulls and created a symmetrical design, using permanent marker to finalize our details and colored pencils to add color. 
We learned about blending the colored pencil together to form gradients, going from dark to light or light to dark using the same color family.
Ava, 4th Grade
Then we cut them out and glued them onto a colored paper background, selecting a color that helped make our skull stand out. Some of our Día de Muertos skulls are featured on the bulletin board outside the art room (some of the flowers were made by students who finished early):

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Keith Haring Dancing Figures

In 3rd grade we have been learning about the work of artist Keith Haring, who is famous for his energetic figures. We connected his people to our recent experience with gesture drawing. We learned that Haring was inspired by popular culture and cartoons from his childhood, and that this influenced his style.

We looked at a few examples of his murals and paintings, including this one, titled "Five Figures Dancing."
To begin our own Keith Haring inspired artwork, we began by dancing! We took turns dancing in groups to Pharrell's "Happy." When the music stopped, students would freeze mid-dance and their classmates did gesture drawings, or quick sketches, of them. 

The following class, we thought about how to use the gesture drawings and turn them into Keith Haring inspired figures. We selected 3 figures from our gesture drawings done during the previous class and drew them on colored paper. We cut them out and glued them onto a background, and then added lines and shapes to show movement. 
Colin, 3rd Grade
Anon, 3rd Grade
Grace, 3rd Grade
Lalita, 3rd Grade