Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kindergarten Sunset Silhouettes

Kindergarteners have been exploring various ways to create fall leaves with materials such as oil pastels and watercolors. However, in this project we focused on the beauty that is still all around, even when the trees are bare and the leaves have fallen. 

First, I showed them photographs and introduced the idea of a silhouette. Then, I used a Sharpie to demonstrate basic techniques for drawing a trunk, branches, and twigs. Finally, I demonstrated wet-on-wet watercolor technique, where you wet the paper before painting in order to let colors blend together. 

I love that each one looks so unique! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Seventh Grade Apple Studies

Seventh graders have been studying the use of value, or lights and darks, in art. We started by exploring several pieces of artwork that featured the use of value for emphasis and dimensionality. Then, they practiced varying the pressure of their pencils to create different values. Through the next few months, they have honed their skills, creating values with 2B pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, and watercolor pencil. Exercises have included the "shattered values" project, which you can see here, and extensive practice drawing and shading circles to look like 3-D spheres. They also practiced using those four materials to draw apples. All of the practice exercises were done in their sketchbooks, which they've used since fifth grade.

Today, we took it to the next level for Edible Art Day, or Draw/Eat Day. They chose an apple, drew it, took a bite, drew it again, (etc, etc) until the class ended or until the apple was gone.  I have to say that I'm just blown away by these results. The color blending, the shading, the precision, and the accuracy of shape and value are just amazing. Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Turkeys in Oil Pastel

I love oil pastel! The creamy texture makes it a joy to work with, and I love the dramatic way it shows up on black. First graders have been using them to practice color blending, and I wanted to also show them how to use them to create texture. We looked at pictures of turkeys and observed how different parts of the turkeys had different feathers and different textures. Several of the students pointed out that they often see the wild turkeys on their drive in to school! I demonstrated different lines and shapes that make up a turkey, and the students got to work. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fourth Grade Kanga Designs

In an interdisciplinary unit with their Social Studies lessons on Africa, fourth graders explored kanga cloths from East Africa. These colorful, traditional cloths feature messages or aphorisms.  The students created their own original geometric designs that represent their important messages.

Here is a kanga from the British Museum collection:

The translation from Swahili is, "I am not worried because God will take care of everything."

This is a group of women from the Nungwi village in Zanzibar wearing their Kangas:

And here is the original student work. They used printmaking techniques, which involve carving into foam and using a roller. It is not easy to get the pattern clear or the amount of ink just right.  This project is a good lesson on using and taking care of materials and learning to appreciate imperfections.

"Don't think negative, think positive."

"Never be Jealous"

"You will always be protected everywhere."

"Let your stress blow out and happiness blow in."

"Magic is in everyone. Your family is always there for you."

 "Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't avoid the hard tasks in life."

"Explore the world."

"Don't forget to have fun"

 "If you are sad there will always be friends"

"Let life fill you"

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Seventh Grade Value Studies

Seventh graders spend the first trimester learning about how to use value, or variations of light and darkness, to create special effects in their artwork. Value can be used for contrast, emphasis, or to create 3-dimensional effects, such as with shading. Each student created a contour drawing, or a drawing made only with lines. They used dividing lines to slice up the page and "shatter" their drawing into smaller pieces. Finally, they spent several classes on the task of shading each shape with a graduated value scale. If you look closely at the samples, each and every shape has a complete value scale, from darkest to lightest.