Wednesday, January 27, 2016

David Hockney Inspired Colorful Landscapes

After our Romare Bearden inspired mixed media collage cityscapes, 4th grade artists looked at and discussed the countryside landscapes of British artist, David Hockney. We looked at a few examples of his landscape paintings, including the one below.
David Hockney, North Yorkshire (1997)
Student noticed that Hockney used some very bright colors that are not necessarily natural to a landscape. In the painting above, many students thought the purple lines represented a river, while others thought it was a road. Students also noticed that Hockney included different lines, patterns and textures to add interest to the landscape. 
Students spent one class exploring color mixing, mixing different colors by combining two colors together, then three colors together, and even four. We noticed that when you mixed four colors together, they often got a little muddy. Students thought about colors they might want to use in their landscape painting. 
The following class, students sketched out their own countryside landscape, focusing on using lines to create different areas for color. They painted in the different areas of their landscape, mixing their own colors and including at least one tint, or a color mixed with white. Students referred to their color mixing experiments to help mix new colors.
After this layer of paint dried, we added patterns on top of the different areas, such as stripes, polka dots, and various lines and shapes. Using smaller brushes, students also added details such as trees, houses, animals, cars, clouds, etc. 
Below are examples of our colorful David Hockney inspired landscape paintings.
Anna M., 4th grade (Cikacz)

Noa, 4th grade (Dubuque)
Colin, 4th grade (Mattson Graves)
Natalie, 4th grade (Mattson Graves)
Aislin, 4th grade (Mattson Graves)
Anna L., 4th grade (Doherty Barbieri)
Nikolas, 4th grade (Dubuque)

Celia, 4th grade (Mattson Graves)
Hoor, 4th grade (Cikacz)

Anon, 4th grade (Doherty)
Lindsay, 4th grade (Mattson Graves)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Storytelling through Mixed Media Collage, Inspired by Carmen Lomas Garza

Last month, first grade artists created mixed media collage artworks that tell the story of a family memory or tradition. We began by looking at two paintings by the Mexican American artist, Carmen Lomas Garza. Students were asked to look at the artwork carefully and then think about what is happening and what supports their thinking.
Carmen Lomas Garza, Barbacoa para Cumpleaños (1993)
Many students thought that it was a birthday party, because the girl in the middle is hitting a pinata, which they connected to birthday parties that they have been to. Students also saw a cake and noticed that many people were gathered to help celebrate. Other students thought perhaps it was a family reunion, because there was a barbecue, family members of all ages, and a couple dancing. The painting is actually about a birthday barbecue, so our observations helped us to "read" the painting and understand the story.
Carmen Lomas Garza, Empanadas (1991)
We also looked at another painting where a family is gathered to make empanadas and we shared our own experiences with cooking or baking together with your family and making a lot of food for a celebration. We noticed that the artist paints the story, using a lot of details to help us understand what is happening, without any words. Carmen Lomas Garza is a Mexican American artist who was born in Texas. She paints about her experiences as a Mexican American and her paintings feature her family.
Students then closed their eyes and thought of a time they have spent with their family. They tried to remember who was there, where it took place, and what people were doing. Then they made their own sketches and drawings of this memory. For many students, it was a family tradition or annual event such as Christmas, Hanukkah, or Thanksgiving. For others, they remembered their birthday or a sibling's birthday. Some students drew about a family summer vacation to the beach or a long roadtrip, while others drew about playing in the park, weekend picnics, and building snowmen. 
The following week, students received their sketches. We focused on the background, or environment, in their drawing. Students painted paper with the colors in their background, whether it was yellow sand, blue sky or white snow. 
We let the painted paper dry and the next class, students began adding the people and details in their foreground using a variety of different materials. Students cut and tore shapes from colored paper, tissue paper, fabric, felt, and yarn and put them together to created a mixed media collage of their family memory. 
Students thought carefully about how the colors, patterns and textures of the materials would help tell their visual story. They tried to make the setting clear, whether it was indoors or outdoors, daytime or nighttime.
Students worked very hard on these mixed media collages, and wrote a sentence on the back about their work, describing the memory. At the end of class, we shared them with class on the rug so that everyone could take a look at the finished work, and we could learn more about each student's story. Here are some examples below, with a description written by the student. They will be on display next month downstairs in the glass case near the school entrance.
Darya, 1st grade (Massa)
I am spending time with my family. We are swimming and eating."

Luanna, 1st grade (Mandile)
This was when it was my birthday."
Abena, 1st grade (Torchio)
"I am at the park with my family."
Ellian, 1st grade (Torchio)
"The picture is Hanukkah and my aunt just sent me a menorah."
Tohka, 1st grade (Torchio)
"My mom and I make bread together."
Paulo, 1st grade (Torchio)
"I am at the park."
Morgen, 1st grade (Landay)
I went to New Hampshire with my family."
Perin, 1st grade (Landay)
I went to Florida with my family and went on a water slide!"
Mary, 1st grade (Massa)
"My mom and I went to a picnic."
Mera, 1st grade (Landay)
"I went to Maine. I stayed in a hotel with a beach."
Jasmine Serres, 1st grade (Landay)
I went to the playground with my sister and my uncle."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Printed Mosaic Tiles from Morocco

After our trip to Ghana, 2nd grade artists learned about Morocco, which is also in Africa. We learned that Morocco is in the northwestern corner of Africa and its official name is the Kingdom of Morocco. The southern part of Morocco is in the Sahara Desert, so it is very dry there. The main language spoken is Arabic.
We looked at examples of Moroccan mosaic tiles and noticed that the design on the tiles are made up of small shapes, form a pattern and are also symmetrical. Many students made a connection between the designs on the tiles to the mandalas we learned about from India. It is interesting to see that patterns can be found in art forms across different countries and cultures! We saw images of where the walls, floors and ceilings were all covered in tile. 
We learned that a mosaic is a picture made with small colored pieces of tile or stone. They use small tiles made from terra cotta, which is a kind of clay. The tiles are made into mosaics with different geometric shapes and patterns. They can be used to decorate walls, ceilings, floors, fountains and tables.
To make our own mosaics, we used cardboard and foam shapes. We arranged the foam shapes to form a design that showed pattern and symmetry and glued the foam shapes down. Some students started with a shape in the center and worked out, while others started with shapes in the corners and worked their way in towards the middle.
Once the tiles had dried, we used them to print with! With printmaking, you can make multiple prints of the same image or design. The mosaics became our printing plates, so we rolled out ink on top of the design using a brayer.  
Then students placed a piece of paper on top and pressed down. We gently lifted the paper off of the printing plate to reveal our prints. This was many students' first experience with printmaking!
When we finished printmaking, each student had three copies of their print. One of the prints was glued onto a larger mosaic print mural for each class and they got to keep the other two. Below are the mosaic print murals for each 2nd grade class, which should be on display soon!
Mosaic Prints Mural, Miss O'Leary's class
Mosaic Prints Mural, Mrs. McCarthy's class
Mosaic Prints Mural, Ms. McIsaac's class
Mosaic Prints Mural, Mrs. O'Connor's class
Mosaic Prints Mural, Mrs. Pearse's class