Monday, January 28, 2019

Alma Thomas-Inspired Collages by First Grade

First graders learned about Alma Thomas and created collages based on her mosaic-style paintings. 
Image result for alma thomas
Alma Thomas (1891-1978) grew up in Georgia as the oldest of four siblings. She had a thirty-year career as an art teacher. After her retirement, she thought about giving up painting, but when a local college offered to exhibit of her work, she wanted to produce something new. She began experimenting with colors in a new abstract style that resembled mosaics. Her large, vibrant canvases caught everyone’s attention, and her work became famous. Currently, her work is on display as part of an exhibit on Abstract Expressionism at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Fourth Grade Cityscapes

Fourth Graders looked at the painting Parade on Hammond Street, painted in 1935 by American artist Allan Crite. Allan Crite was an African American artist who lived and worked in Roxbury. His goal in this painting was to depict everyday life in his urban neighborhood, rather than the many stereotypical images of African Americans that existed, as musicians or farmers. 

Fourth graders learned about Crite, and they observed the many techniques of perspective that he employed in the painting. For example, objects that are farther away are drawn smaller and less detailed, and placed toward the top of the paper. Additionally, they observed that colors are more intense when the objects are closer, but look faded when objects are farther away.

After studying this painting, they created themed cityscapes using several techniques for drawing with depth and perspective.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Eighth Grade Zentangles

Eighth graders learned about Zentangles, complex and multi-step patterns that are designed to be combined and to flow together.   Zentangles are a great unit because of how accessible the patterns are to all interest and ability levels. Each student is able to choose their own level of challenge and their own media, and it allows for a great deal of individualization. At the start of the unit, I showed students the art historical precedent of highly embellished, organic patterns:  

Illuminated Letters

Islamic Calligraphy

Art Nouveau Architecture

For this project, students used three official tangles from the official webpage, then designed and employed three original tangle designs.

 Sharpie on black paper

Sharpie on black paper 

 Sharpie and origami paper on black paper

 Sharpie and gold card stock

 Watercolor and sharpie

 Oil pastel scratch art

 Oil pastel scratch art and 4H pencil

Metallic Sharpie on black paper

Oil pastel scratch art and metallic sharpie

Metallic sharpie and oil pastel

Metallic and regular Sharpie 

       Sharpie and Watercolor

Friday, January 4, 2019

Third Grade Texture Paintings

  Out of the Darkness, the Lord Gave us Light (2003)

Thornton Dial was an African-American artist who was born in rural Alabama in 1928. He was untrained, and his art was not discovered by the public until he was in his late fifties.

As a child, he grew up in poverty and dropped out of school when his teachers discouraged him from learning because of his race. He worked on farms and as a machinist, all the while creating art as a hobby in his house and in his backyard using found objects and found. In 1980, an art collector saw his sculptures outside and helped him start his career. Now, his work is in the collections of many major museums.

“All my pictures somehow be mostly about freedom. The black race of people have freedom now. That’s true. And we have the opportunity to look back at what we have did and be proud. Martin Luther King helped us to get that, with what he told us about the freedom of life. He said these things will happen, that we will join hands together...My art talks about that freedom. People have fought for freedom all over the world. I try to show that struggle. It is a war to be fought. We’re trying to win it.”
-Thornton Dial (1928-2016)

Third graders learned about Dial's art and life. They created paintings inspired by his work, using found objects such as beads, CDs, pencils, and sticks.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Sixth Grade Rooms

Sixth graders learned how to draw rooms in one-point perspective. To kick off the unit, I showed the a slide show about the history of perspective in art, including images of "flat" art such as Byzantine times, and Ancient Egypt.

We then observed art from the Renaissance, when artists such as Raphael and DaVinci began exploring the use of perspective to create depth. 

School of Athens, 1510

The Last Supper, 1495

We also discussed perspective-manipulating artist M.C.Escher, who took the rules of perspective and used them to create mind-bending impossible landscapes. 

Finally, I demonstrated one-point perspective drawing techniques such as using orthagonal lines and finding a vanishing point. The students created their rooms using these techniques.