Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jack-O-Lantern Fun, Second Grade Style

What a fabulous day for second graders who completed these expressive jack-o-lanterns!  You could feel the energy in the studio as children discovered new facial expressions, chose where to place their jack-o-lanterns, and added night backgrounds. 
 In the first lesson, we observed three real pumpkins of varying size, and analyzed the color variations.  With 18"x12" paper, students painted a large vertical pumpkin, a medium round one, and a small one of their choice.  They learned to mix red, orange and yellow to create light and dark areas and to help the pumpkins appear round. 

In the second week, we observed the pumpkin ridges. Children knew they went straight down the pumpkin when we FELT them, but noticed that the ridges seem to curve when you LOOK at them.  
Our artists learned to draw curvy oil pastel lines on top of their painted pumpkins and loved how round they appeared.

Finally, it was time to create expressive faces. I made a notebook file on the smart board to easily illustrate how the very same simple shapes could be turned to make a whole new expression. 
There was something magical about being able to move a few basic shapes and immediately change an expression!
Children began cutting, shared their explorations, and learned from each other. 
Today, in the third lesson, our artists finished their jack-o-lanterns.  Each face needed to show a different expression.  
Children used 18x24 construction paper and oil pastels to create a grassy field and spooky night sky. 
Finally, I demonstrated how to place their pumpkins in the space. They needed to ask, "Which pumpkin is in front?" and overlap it on top of the others, as well as place it lower on their paper. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ASL Initial Drawings

Sixth grade began the school year expressing themselves- in American Sign Language (ASL). 
In ASL, each letter of the alphabet can be represented by a specific hand shape.
Our artists formed their initials, and carefully observed the shapes and lines in each hand shape.
 They made blind contour drawings: this means drawing a shape's outline without ever looking at the paper!  I tell the kids it's like warming up a pitcher in the bullpen. Blind contour drawing helps us observe and perceive the real details without worrying about what the finished product looks like. It "warms us up" for drawing.
After this, they're ready to begin drawing slowly with careful observation. This lesson is about drawing what you see, not what you know.  It takes time, and can be a little frustrating.  Ultimately, students can see their skills improve, and feel a sense of pride in their finished artwork.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Symmetrical Illusion

Look closely: what do you see? 
A colorful, shapely vase?  Perhaps a vessel made from stained glass? 
Yes, of course!
But there's more... this vase, as well as the ones below, are shaped by side views of the artist's face. Can you see two profiles?  It's a vase/face illusion! 
I believe it's also a perfect lesson in which to explore symmetry.

Fourth graders study visual balance. We ask, "How do artists create art so that it appears balanced?"  In this lesson, students learn one kind of visual balance- symmetrical balance- where both sides of the artwork are the same.  A special thank you to Tricia Fugelstad who developed this iPad lesson and shared thorough directions on her blog. 
Children used iPhoto to take pictures of each other's profiles and an app called Sketchbook Express to transform them into the gorgeous vases you'll see below.  Students also learned how to utilize Sketchbook X, log into email, send me their artwork, and log out.  I hope you enjoy the fruits of your children's creative efforts.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Choosing Kind, Robert Indiana Style

One very important reason that human beings create art?  To communicate! 
Our third grade artists were inspired by the LOVE sculpture and art series created by artist, Robert Indiana. Many of our students have been to Philadelphia and have seen his sculpture:
After learning about Indiana's art, students developed a list of words that would communicate our theme "Choose Kind".

Our artists learned to cut a perfect square from a rectangular paper... without using a ruler!  They worked hard to form large, thick letters in each square. That can be tricky.  Like Indiana, one letter was drawn on the diagonal.  We decided this makes viewers smile and think more about what the art means.
Artists learned to embellish the letters using warm colors, and fill in the background with cool colors. Our kids discovered that warm colors come forward and "pop", while cool colors recede and seem to "go back".  Finally, kids added some lively patterns and symbols to help share their idea: 
 "Choose Kind"

Paul Evans Inspired Wall Collages

Third grade, are you ready for our class trip to the Michener Art Museum this year? It will be awesome!  Just ask your fourth grade friends. 

Last year, when the third graders went, they saw very exciting metal furniture and relief sculpture wall pieces by an artist named Paul Evans.  Click here to see some of his art.  The docents helped everyone learn about the art and played a scavenger hunt game with us.  Kids were so inspired that at they created these small relief sculptures in our art studio.   By using found objects such as screws, rope, burlap, tin foil, and wood scraps and then spraying with gold and copper paint our Saint Jude artists were able to assemble this masterpiece.   Do you remember seeing this in the Art Show? 

Your turn is coming soon. I wonder what we'll see?