Monday, November 30, 2015

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 still life of white styrofoam cups. 
Even though the cups are the same color white throughout, once they were set on the table and looked at in natural light, we noticed a range of values. Some areas were dark like the space inside the cup and where it rested on the table, while 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, one by Matisse and one by Heda (below), and discussed which one looked more realistic and what the artist did that made those objects appear three-dimensional. 
Willem Claesz Heda, Still Life (17th Century)
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 memorabilia from a game they attended or a sport that they like. Some students brought a family heirloom or cultural object that has been in their family for a long time. There was a wide variety of still life objects. 
After sharing, students set up their objects in front of them and began by drawing the shape or shapes in their object. They added details, like the eyes of their doll or the design on their necklace. They 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.
Ava, 5th Grade (Psychoghios)
Kira, 5th Grade (Bellis)
Bianca, 5th Grade (Twomey)
Zuhi, 5th Grade (Twomey)
Arsen, 5th Grade (Domermuth Fantasia)
Bo, 5th Grade (Domermuth Fantasia)
Sandra, 5th Grade (Bellis)
Lara, 5th Grade (Psychoghios)
Marcos, 5th Grade (Bellis)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Learning about Collage

PK and Kindergarten artists have been learning about shapes this month, as well as the art of collage. Collage is when an artist glues one material onto another to form their picture. 

After learning about a variety of different shapes and reading When A Line Bends, A Shape Begins, we used pre-cut shapes to form a shape monster. After gluing down the shape and adding arms and legs, students used shapes to add facial details like five eyes and sharp, triangle teeth! Below is an example.
Liam, Kindergarten (Martignetti)
The following week, we looked at a painting by an artist named Mondrian. We noticed that he used straight lines and shapes with straight edges, like squares and rectangles. We noticed that he connected the lines around the shapes, and used three main colors -- red, yellow, and blue -- other than white and black. Some students thought the artwork reminded them of a maze, game, or apartment buildings.
Piet Mondrian, Tableau II (1921-25)
We created our own collage using pre-cut lines and shapes, using the same 3 colors that Mondrian used for our shapes. This time we focused on arranging our lines and shapes in different ways to fill up our paper, and we could trim the lines and shapes with scissors or overlap them to make them fit. 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!
Dahlia, Kindergarten (Bolton)
Ava, Kindergarten (Bolton)

The third class, we read The Perfect Square and thought about all the different ways the square changes in the book. It starts as a square, but it gets ripped into pieces, crumpled and folded, and cut into separate shapes. These pieces then transform themselves into a collage of something else! 
Students changed paper in different ways to create a variety of shapes to form a collage about whatever they wanted. It could be a person, animal, place or thing. Students began with their idea and thought about what shapes and colors they would need to represent this idea through collage. 
Students thought carefully about how they would combine these shapes together to form their picture. Some students ripped and tore the paper to form their shapes, while other students cut out their shapes using scissors. We learned that there are many ways to change the paper to create a shape. Below are some of the resulting collage artworks!
Gus, Kindergarten (Beatty)
Joseph, Kindergarten (Beatty)
Joshua, PK (Blackwood)
Faye, Kindergarten (Tan)

Ava, PK/K (Blackwood)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pop Art Prints, Part 2

For the past several weeks, 4th grade artists have been printing their Pop Art inspired plates. On the first day of printing, we learned about the printmaking process and the steps involved. 

Students practiced printing to get a feel for how much ink is appropriate and how long to roll it out with the brayer. On their second printmaking class, students were able to choose their own color of ink and paper, and also learned how to print with more than one color.
We set up our tables with a bench hook and brayer to roll out ink. Everyone folded a piece of manila paper so that there was a clean side and a messy side. We rolled out the ink using the brayer, listening for a sticky sound that told us that the ink was evenly spread out and ready. 
We placed the plate on top of the messy side of our manila paper and rolled the ink on top of our plate carefully. We moved it to the clean side and pressed a piece of colored paper on top. Using our hands to gently rub, we then flipped the paper and over and pulled it apart from the plate. Ta da!
Students made multiple copies of their plate, which the printmaking process allows us to do. We experimented with different colors and everyone pulled several prints. On the last day, we selected our three best prints and mounted them on a black background. Students kept the other remaining prints and also traded them with friends! We did a gallery walk, so we could see everyone's finished work. 
Students also did a self assessment, writing about something they were proud of about their work as well as something that was challenging. Many students were proud of their color choices, the pop culture object they selected, and the way their prints came out, especially the ones using multiple colors. The most challenging part for many students was using the stylus to press into the foam to make their plate and rolling out the right amount of ink when printing.  

Below are some examples of our finished Pop Art prints, inspired by Andy Warhol. As you can see, students did an amazing job mounting their own work! More prints will be on display at the 4th and 5th grade winter concert.
Cicily, "Donuts World
4th Grade, (Doherty Barbieri)
Mackenzie, "Master of Skating
4th Grade, (Mattson Graves)
Molly, "Yummy Colors
4th Grade (Dubuque)

Chloe, "A Splat of Color
4th Grade (Dubuque)
Maya W., "360
4th Grade (Dubuque)
Mauricio, "Big Bad Bruins" 
4th Grade (Cikacz)

Natalie, "Exquisite iPhone" 
4th Grade (Mattson Graves)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pattern Weaving

Artists in 1st grade learned how to weave with paper this month! We practiced by weaving together as a class, with a big loom, and realized that the technique of weaving is a pattern.
We started our weaving by making a loom. Students made their loom by folding a piece of paper and cutting several lines, making sure not to cut all the way across the folded side. Once opened, we had our loom! Then students cut two different colors of paper into strips, which they wove through their loom. We made sure to keep in mind to have the lines alternate, over and under, to create our pattern.
The following class, we added shapes to emphasize the pattern in our weaving even more. Students got to use fun scissors with different edges that let us cut different kinds of edges for the shapes. Students thought carefully about the colors that would work well with their weaving and help their shapes to stand out. Some students added another layer of shapes inside those shapes. Below are some examples of our colorful pattern weaving.
Anastasia, 1st Grade (Mandile)
Ellian, 1st Grade (Torchio)
Morgen, 1st Grade (Landay)
Ava, 1st Grade (Mandile)
Kemi, 1st Grade (Mandile)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Kente Cloth from Ghana

Our next visit on our Arts Around the World tour brought us to Ghana, which is located on the western coast of Africa. We learned that it is hot and humid in Ghana and the capital city is Accra.
We also learned about Kente cloth, a woven traditional fabric. Kente cloth began in the Ashanti Kingdom and was originally worn by royalty. It is woven by men and is known for its bold designs. Over time, it became more popular and now it is worn by many. When looking at examples of Kente cloth, students noticed the bright colors, geometric designs with rectangles and zig zags, and the patterns in the fabric. Students also connected it to learning about weaving in 1st grade.
To begin making our own Kente cloth, students painted two sheets of colored paper with a simple pattern of lines.
The following class, students painted a piece of paper with colorful stripes and added patterns with lines and dots to create their loom. We practiced the process of weaving with construction paper before cutting the painted paper we made to weave with.
Students recalled the over and under motion of each woven piece, with the warp going vertically and the weft going across. Once they practiced with construction paper, students used their painted paper to make their loom and the pieces to weave across.
Once they were finished, they glued down the edges of each strip. We finished up with a gallery walk to see everyone's Kente cloth weaving. We noticed that they are all very colorful and that everyone's is different. In their Passports, students wrote what they learned about Kente cloth, recalling that they have colorful patterns, that they are woven on a loom, and that they were once worn by royalty in Ghana. Below are some examples of our colorful Kente cloth inspired weaving!
Julia H., 2nd Grade (O'Connor)
Edmond, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)
Arianne, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)
Aliah, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)
James, 2nd Grade (O'Leary)
Angelina, 2nd Grade (Pearse)
Chris, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)