Friday, May 29, 2015

Art & Music Extravaganza Week

Thank you to everyone for helping make our Art & Music Extravaganza week a success! And thank you to all the students and families who attended our Extravaganza Night event. Artwork will still be up for the next few weeks in the connector hallway, in case you missed it.
As part of our Art & Music Extravaganza week, PK, Kindergarten and 1st grade students saw a performance of Peter and the Wolf by the North Winds Ensemble. 2nd graders learned about capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. They attended a demonstration and participated in interactive workshops with Sinha Capoeira, which tied into their study of Brazil. 
3rd graders learned about traditional Armenian dance with Abaka Dance Group from Watertown and 4th graders participated in theatre and improv workshops led by Kidstock Theatre. 5th graders have been practicing a hip hop dance routine, choreographed and taught by Jen Venezia, for the past 2 weeks. They performed it last night to great applause.
Here is the video slideshow that was shown last night, to show students and families what we have been learning and making here in art. It is not just about the work that goes on display, but about the experience and process that we engage in!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Eric Carle Inspired Spring Collages

PK and Kindergarten artists are welcoming spring with painted paper collages of spring things! Students have been exploring texture this past month and a half, and so we began by making painted paper using different materials like sponges, toilet paper tubes, forks and knives, etc.
After making our painted paper, we looked at Eric Carle's book The Tiny Seed. We noticed the illustrations were very colorful and contained many different shapes. Students were also very familiar with his other books, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We learned about his collage making process, where he would also start with painted paper and cut them into shapes to make his pictures.
To begin our own springtime painted paper collages, students brainstormed signs of spring, such as flowers, bugs, birds, and the sun. Each student chose a spring subject for their collage that is in the sky or on the ground. Then we selected painted paper in colors that were needed to begin cutting out the different shapes and think about how the parts would make up the whole.
Students glued their pieces down onto paper, considering how to assemble their various parts as well as overlapping
Here are some of the spring inspired collages, after having dried:
Eloise, PK
Logan, PK
Mera, Kindergarten
Luanna, Kindergarten
Next class, students cut out their collages and glued them to a larger background mural, choosing a place on the ground or sky.
The finished collage murals will be on display for the Kinder-"garden" moving up ceremony in June! Keep your eye out for that soon! 
Mrs. Tan's class mural

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Outer Space Resist Paintings

4th grade artists have been exploring value through various pencil drawings. After their personal still life drawings, students have been exploring value using color through outer space drawings with oil pastel.

We discussed how to create three-dimensional shapes and forms using lighter and darker values of color, turning a circle into a spherical planet. After brainstorming a list of things you might see in outer space, including the Earth, sun, planets, stars, black holes, comets and asteroids, students began with a sketch.
After sketching out their composition quickly, students drew their outer space scenes on larger paper and used oil pastel to add color and depth.
The following class, students created a resist by painting over their paper with black watercolor paint, which revealed their oil pastel stars and outer space scene since oil pastel resists the water based paint. 
Here are some examples of our out of this world outer space resist paintings!
Ava, 4th Grade
Vicky, 4th Grade
Derin, 4th Grade
Kailee, 4th Grade
Anthony, 4th Grade
Kira, 4th Grade

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mandalas from India

2nd grade artists have been studying the geography and culture of India in their classrooms, learning about the Taj Mahal and the Hindu spring festival of Holi. To connect to their study of India in art, we looked at the mandala. The mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, which both originated in India, representing the Universe. 
Traditionally, the mandala is a geometric pattern in a circular shape that has strong symmetry. The word "mandala" is from the Indian language of Sanskrit and means “circle.” They can also represent wholeness and our connection to physical circles like the earth, sun and moon, and life circles of friends, family and community.
We learned that mandalas can be two-dimensional or three-dimensional and can be made from different materials, such as paper, metal, cloth and sand. While they originated in India, they are also produced in other countries such as Tibet, Nepal, China, Japan and Indonesia. They were produced as early as the 4th century, and are still created today.
We looked at images of different mandalas and also of people creating mandalas on the ground, using what appeared similar to sidewalk chalk. Students noticed that the mandalas were created from the center outward, and were symmetrical in their design. Because they were being created with chalk, which can wash or blow away, we talked about why someone might take the time to create such a complex and significant symbol, when it was not permanent. Some students thought it might be for practice, while others thought it might just be for fun or for the shared experience.
After learning about the mandala, students watched a time elapse video that showed Buddhist monks meticulously creating a sand mandala over a period of a week. Afterwards, there was a ceremony and they destroyed the mandala, which surprised many students! Again, this led to a discussion of why one might do this and we talked about how it might be about the experience or journey, rather than the end result.

In keeping with this idea, students worked in groups at their table (we discussed how the monks working together made their mandala making go quicker) to create a mandala using colorful foam shapes. 
Students shared ideas and also compromised to be able to form a group mandala, keeping symmetry and the circular form in mind. At the end of class, student had a chance to see each other's mandalas before (calmly) destroying them and putting all the shapes back into the plastic bag.These are some of the mandalas that student groups made: 
The following week, students began designing and drawing their own individual mandalas, to keep this time. We brainstormed different themes, such as spring, nature, sports teams and personal interests, and ways to connect the shapes and patterns to a theme. 
After drawing their symmetrical mandalas, using rulers to help find the center point, students outlined them in Sharpie marker and colored them in. Once they were finished, students cut out the circle and glued it onto a background, considering what kinds of colors would complement their mandala design. Here are some examples:
Dorie, 2nd Grade
Adrian, 2nd Grade
Anna, 2nd Grade
Emilio, 2nd Grade
Ani, 2nd Grade
Domenic, 2nd Grade

Monday, May 11, 2015

Still Life Drawings

4th grade artists have been studying value, the lightness and darkness of color. After drawing a value scale to explore lighter and darker values and get used to the Ebony pencils, students learned about 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.
Ambrosius Bosschaertse, Flower Still Life (1614)
Still life began in the Middle Ages and Greece, and we saw examples of mosaics and paintings from that time. Many still life paintings were influenced by the church, which was an important part of people's everyday lives at that time. As society changed, so did still life painting. Dutch still life paintings often showed the rich possessions of the wealthy owner. Later, modern artists became more interested in showing emotion, as well as abstracting objects.
Willem Kalf, Still Life with Ewer, Vessels and Pomegranate (mid 1640s)
We discussed how the objects chosen for a still life can have meaning, whether it is religious, cultural or personal. For example, with this still life below, many students made connections to life and death. Many students felt that it was about how our time on earth is limited, hence the hourglass, and that we should make the best of life, represented by the flower, before time was up. Other students thought perhaps it was connected to the Day of Dead, which we learned about this fall, and that it was a collection of items honoring someone. Some students also thought that the flower represented life, the skull death, and the hourglass time.
Philippe de Champaigne, Still Life with Skull (17th c.)
After learning about still life, students set about drawing one that was set up at their tables. 
Beginning with the cup on the table, students thought about how to show the different shapes of the objects before adding shading to give the objects a three-dimensional appearance.
Anita, 4th Grade
Kyan, 4th Grade

Armen, 4th Grade
Ricardo, 4th Grade
The following class, students were asked to bring in their own still life objects that had personal meaning to them. There was a wide variety of objects, including stuffed animals, instruments, sports equipment and memorabilia, jewelry and figurines. 
Students approached this still life drawing in the same way, considering shape and form, as well as value. In addition, we discussed positive and negative value, to help students look closely at the relationship between the different parts of their still life object.
Here are some examples of the personal still life drawings:
Zuhi, 4th Grade

Jack, 4th Grade
Catherine, 4th Grade
Anita, 4th Grade
Ana, 4th Grade
Eden, 4th Grade