Monday, March 31, 2014

Exploring Cave Art

Kindergarten children went spelunking through darkened caves, carrying their torches, and ended up discovering art on the wall.... the SmartBoard wall, that is!  We took a virtual tour, pretending to explore the cave of Lascaux, France. 

As you can imagine, students couldn't wait to begin drawing like cave artists.
 The rest is history!

The next week I used watered tempera paint in a spray bottle to stencil their hand shape, while children worked collaboratively under the tables, pretending to draw on cave ceilings. 

***Disclaimer: I wouldn't attempt this dual activity without the patient assistance of our kindergarten aids, for which I'm extremely grateful: )

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Picturing Peter Pan Jr.

What a fabulous weekend!  SJS students presented four outstanding performances of their spring show,  Peter Pan Jr. 

I love how the whole community contributes their talents to insure such an enthusiastic, successful spring show each year. Many, many students are involved in practicing and performing. Others work lights, sound, and stage crew.  Parents generously work together to make varied and elaborate costumes, sell tickets, and so much more.  Many teachers volunteer their time to help direct, produce, choreograph, and assist.
 For my part, a dedicated group of eighth graders takes on the challenge of designing a huge backdrop. Take a look at their talented efforts- I'm really proud of them! 
Step one: Planning the design

Step Two: projecting and enlarging the design 

Step 3: Painting ( finally!!!)

 Laying it out to dry each afternoon
The finished product!

Click here to see  scenery from our past Spring Shows.

Question: As you can see, the actual colors look very different under the lights. This is the first year I've experienced this.  Art teachers, set designers- have you ever encountered this problem?  Any ideas? 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

If Rousseau Painted Rainforests....

While second grade excitedly researched rainforests in their classrooms it  seemed a perfect opportunity to introduce  Henri Rousseau in our art studio.  A self-taught artist from France, Rousseau had never actually seen a jungle, yet he painted many pictures of how he imagined them.  Rousseau would often visit botanical gardens and zoos to sketch. 

What could inspire my students? From the depths of the school's storage area, I resurrected four palm trees often used for school functions and lined them up at the doorway. BINGO! Instant rainforest. The kids got a real kick out of walking under and through them, touching the leaves and branches, and observing their forms to draw.  We learned to play with scale, drawing the very same trees so that they appeared larger than even the animals! 
The process: After drawing the jungle's overlapping shapes with black crayon , children learned to mix varying hues and values of greens with watercolors. When finished, they chose a new colored paper and used oil pastels to draw a rainforest animal.  Students cut out the animal shape and glued small pieces of corrugated cardboard to the back.  Finally, the animal was glued in "front of the background", in the foreground, so that the cardboard risers provided a magical sense of dimension.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Farewell To Winter's Magic

Here I am, sneaking in a few more snowy artworks before spring begins tomorrow! 
Fifth Graders created these magical snow friends inspired by Carolyn Buehner's book, Snowmen At Night.  They learned to draw using light, shadow, and highlights to create the illusion of 3D snowmen on a flat surface.    

Snowy Birdhouses

Celebrating the last day of winter! 
Please enjoy these charming birdhouses painted by 
our third grade artists.