Thursday, June 16, 2016

8th Grade Graffiti Art

Each year, the eighth graders create a piece of an art as a graduation gift to the school. Last year, their medium was polymer clay and they created self-portraits.

This year, I felt like rocking the boat and changing the traditional self-portraiture format.  I thought long and hard about how they could express their identities and leave their mark without drawing faces. After several months, I realized that graffiti art could be a perfect medium. Spoiler: It turned out AWESOME. The kids were incredibly engaged in the process from start to finish! Here's the final project. They cut out their tags and mounted them on photorealistic brick wallpaper.

I began the unit by introducing the students to the medium of graffiti art. 

We looked at artists such as Keith Haring and Shepherd Fairey, and watched stop-motion graffiti animation by Blu and David Ellis, as seen below: 

Then, they began developing their own tags. They researched and took notes on styles and colors they liked, then created sketches in their sketchbooks. Then, they added color with Sharpie and colored pencils. Finally, they created several versions of their tags. One was on card stock for the final project. Another was on contact paper, which we then stuck to the walls. The trick worked! So many students and teachers asked me if I knew that kids had written on the walls. 

The other part of the project the kids loved was "tagging" the playground with soft pastels on the last day of art. 

Artist Spotlight: A Very Special Post

Every now and then, a student creates a piece of artwork on their own time and brings it in to show me. Well- this one absolutely knocked my socks off! 

First of all, this is a warm, wonderful third grade kid who has not missed an Open Studios (extra art at recess once a week) all year.  Yes, that's right, I have kids who choose to come to art at recess! Love it!

She's creative, unfailingly kind, and a world traveler. She created this art portfolio after looking at a book of artists with her grandma. I told her- and I'll tell everyone reading this blog- that her interpretations of the artist's work were so on-target that I knew which artist she was emulating before I even saw their names in the adorable "a la" titles. I'm so happy and honored to present this artist's special collection of work. 

"A la Jackson Pollock, called 'Cars'"

"A la Henri Rousseau, called 'The Super Times Cool'"

"A la Sol LeWitt, called 'Oppisites'"

"A la Raoul Dufy, called 'For Birdies'"

"A la Picasso"

"A la Paul Klee, called 'Panic'"

"A la Ellsworth Kelly, called 'Yellow and Green'"

"A la Seurat, called 'Flower Fun'"

Friday, June 10, 2016

Third Grade Endangered Animals

Third graders are learning about endangered animals in their classrooms. They have been doing research and writing for several weeks. I was excited when I heard about this unit because there is a long history of artistry in nature illustration. Working from a photograph, I demonstrated how to break an image down into manageable chunks by imagining it as different shapes and lines. Then, I handed out color photographs of their animals. They created their drawings on large 18"x18" paper. Then, they used colored pencil to create the animal's habitat. Finally, they learned how to create a fold-out effect, where each time they opened a flap of the drawing, it exposed a new fact they had written. When all of the folds are opened, their animal is revealed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fifth Grade Notan Collages

Fifth graders learned about the Japanese concept of "notan," which refers to the balance of light and darkness in fine art. To create their notan collages, they cut shapes out of paper, then flipped the shape to the other side and glued it down. The complex and graphic designs are a beautiful interplay on positive and negative space.


After they created their black and white notans, I encouraged them to think out of the box and to use different materials to create a second collage with similar techniques.  The results were innovative and exciting!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kindergarten Water Lilies

Kindergarteners created these water lilies using collage and watercolor techniques. First, we looked at Claude Monet’s painting Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge (1897). The kindergarteners made wonderful observations, and they were impressed to discover that this was the artist’s own backyard. To create their water lilies, they used a wet-on-wet painting technique, where they wet the paper and let the paints drip and blend. Finally, they cut and glued the petals onto a lily pad template.

Additionally, they used their fingerprints to create little frogs to sit on their lily pads.