Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cardinals in Our Tree!

The timing couldn't have been better: snow on the ground and cardinals in the tree! 
Our one art studio window brings us such joy. A few years ago I hung a bird feeder very near the window and it was one of the best things I ever did! 

Georgia O'Keeffe said, Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”  

Her thoughts ring true to me. When children and teachers come by I try to give them time to really stop and see. To wonder. To engage. To experience. 

Fortunately for our Kindergarteners, we stood at the window and were able to view real snow, branches, and cardinals before beginning these observant paintings. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Me-Symbols, Paul Klee Style

What makes you YOU?
How can you communicate this using symbols, not words? 
Here are some solutions to this problem as solved by our fifth graders: 
Fifth graders learned about the Swiss artist, Paul Klee. He often painted abstract images using symbols . Students were asked to invent symbols that communicate facts or feelings about themselves.  Symbols needed to show size variety and be painted all over their paper. I encouraged children to rotate the paper and paint in all directions. 
(They weren't crazy about this idea!)

After painting the black lines, students selected one color family we've studied such as secondary, complimentary, or cool colors.  They really enjoyed mixing and exploring color values to paint outlines and abstract shapes around their symbols.   As their painting developed, they were to  emphasize one main focal point, perhaps a special symbol .  

During this lesson, kids are always hanging their art-in-progress in the board and stepping back.They're learning to really look, analyze, assess , rework and judge completion.  Sometimes, an artist is not really sure about something, such as a focal point, and we take a class poll. They ask each other's advice.  This just warms my heart! True learning in action.  

Architecture: 2nd Grade Castles

Love, love, love these! 
I knew I saved my kids legos for a reason....
Second graders began by looking at many examples of castles built in the Middle Ages.  As each new picture appeared on the Smart board, children
 observed and sketched an architecture element that interested them. 

The next week, children designed their own castles by stamp printing using various sized lego blocks. It really helped to have last weeks sketches nearby for reference.

In the final two art classes, kids enthusiastically laid their castle papers against cinderblock walls and made colorful crayon rubbings imitating stone-like textures. Imaginative details easily followed. 

PS: Cleaning tempera painted legos is not nearly as fun as printing with them. After a few rinses in the sink the blocks still weren't clean. I actually them threw the dishwasher! Much easier: )

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Emphasis" on Christmas

Yes, these treasures have long since left the Art Studio, lovingly given as gifts to the artists' families. (At least that was the plan.  Parents, if you haven't seen these ask your artist! )  However, in the spirit of "better late than never", please enjoy these third grade Nativities.

Children learned the art principle of "emphasis" by directing our eyes to the focal point: Jesus' birth.  Other goals included painting with warm or cool colors using the "wet on wet" watercolor technique and cutting silhouettes with attention to interesting detail.