Wednesday, October 30, 2013

8th Grade Zentangles

Eighth graders explored Zentangles, a series of patterns and designs created by two artists as a hands-on alternative to focus and meditation exercises.  Though Zentangles appear complex, they are made of individual patterns that consist of simple lines and shapes that anyone can create.  The eighth graders had many choices of media, including fabric, paper, paint, and they could even create their Zentangle designs on everyday items like CD's, light bulbs, and lampshades.  They used official Zentangle patterns from the creators' blog in addition to their own original pattern designs.  Here are some of the amazing results!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Made in the Shade

Seventh graders have been learning about value, which is an element of art.  In visual art, elements are the properties of artwork that you can experience through sight and touch. These include:

  • Texture
  • Space
  • Shape
  • Color
  • Value
  • Line
Seventh graders learned that varying the pressure on a pencil can create a range of light and dark values.  To practice their shading, they created a line drawing, then divided or "shattered" it with dividing lines. Then, they shaded each newly created shape in with their pencils.

In other words, when faced with "shady" situations, these seventh graders used their "values" to guide them.  Here are some examples:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Drawing with Scissors

Today's kindergarten art project started off with a surprising turn of events! This letter arrived, addressed "To the Kindergarteners."

Drawing with scissors?! I asked the kindergarteners what they thought that meant. We had discussed collage and looked at Matisse's "Beasts of the Sea" the week before, and I was impressed when they both made the connection and remembered the word collage.  

We had also looked at a Van Gogh self-portrait last week. I asked them if they'd want to hang out with him after seeing his self portrait, and excited little hands flew up into the air. It was pretty unanimous that Van Gogh seemed too sad and angry to be any fun on a playdate.  I told them about his sad life and how no one liked his paintings at first because they were too new and different. Several of them said that they did like the painting, especially the swirls. I told them that luckily, people changed their minds and started thinking that it was ok for artists to try new things. One kindergartener made a great personal connection, telling all about how when he first tried swimming, it was scary and he didn't like it, but then he kept trying and now he loves it. 

I then demonstrated how to create a self-portrait collage. I asked them which shapes were good fits for different parts of the face and the body. I showed them how to draw shapes first and then cut, and how to apply a "just right" amount of glue. Here are some of the wonderful results of their "drawings with scissors."

By the way, the kids were very excited to find several markers, as well as all of the Sharpies and crayons, that had "missed the plane" to their vacation.  I explained that they must have overslept!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Super-Size O'Keeffe Drawings

Second graders have been learning about Georgia O'Keeffe. I have a special place in my heart for her, having taught art and creative writing at the Georgia O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe as a student. First, we explored her 1925 painting of a red poppy:

I asked them what they noticed and they noticed how big the flower was... so big that it doesn't even fit on the page! Then, I asked them why they thought O'Keeffe painted small things so big. They made great observations, suggesting that it was so that people would notice it more and see details they might not have seen.

The second graders chose an object such as a seashell, a flower, and a piece of fruit and sketched it super-size. They used my special homemade "O'Keeffe-o-scopes" to really zero in on the details of their object by seeing only their object and nothing around it.

A huge apple:

A gigantic flower:

Three humongous flowers:

A seriously big tomato:

A super-size seashell: