Saturday, February 27, 2010

The False Mirror

The False Mirror - Rene Magritte  1928
Oil on Canvas - 21-1/3" x 31-7/8"

Surrealist Rene Magritte was famous for his extraordinary way of looking at the world.   And his 1928 painting, The False Mirror, provides a great example of just that!

I passed out small mirrors to each of our artists and asked them to take a few minutes to look in the mirror and really study their eyes.  Then we heard  comments about what they noticed, such as color, shape, lashes, pupils.  One of Mrs. Heusser's students noticed her own reflection in her eye.   And this was a perfect opportunity to talk about what types of things might be reflected in our eyes  if we were looking at things we enjoyed.   Artists then traced a pattern to create an eye shape and filled the iris with their drawings.  They also made their eyes more realistic by adding lids and lashes and completed their artwork with a watercolor wash.  Look closely into the eyes of Mrs. Heusser's class to see the reflection of what they enjoy seeing.


Eye like it, eye really like it!

A Network of Pipes

If you spend any time in the studio you'll witness the maze of overhead pipes.  And all of those pipes leading this way and that seemed like a perfect opportunity to present a lesson on how to add volume to a three dimensional object.   We craned our necks and looked thoughtfully, as artists do, to notice everything we could about those pipes.   What started out as a maze of plain old white pipes soon became a network of beautiful cylinders with their very own habitat.

And our artists turned them into works of art!  Here are just a few from Mrs. Mills' class, and please, please, please click on the image to get a detailed look at those beautiful pipes!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spring Fling with Mr. Socia's Class

Who wouldn't want to own this beautiful platter created by Mr. Socia's fifth grade class?

Under the thoughtful and inspirational guidance of Carol Hembree, Mr. Socia's artists contributed a colorful 2.5" square to create this gorgeous collaborative fused glass piece.   Click on either of the images above to get a closer look!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Can you picture it?

Imagine that you just received a small one inch square of a black and white photograph.   And that one inch square was just one of 35 other one inch squares that altogether would create a photograph of a very important person.  And then imagine that it just happened to be President's Day.

Here's one of those one inch squares!

Get the picture?   Well, both Mr. Socia's class and Mrs. Stewart's finally did.  After doing a few shading exercises with charcoal pencils,  each student had a chance to reproduce their one inch square on a four inch square of paper.  Then we assembled all the four inch squares to create a collaborative drawing.

Here's the work of Mrs. Stewart's class

And Mr. Socia's class:

And here's the original photograph!

Happy Presiden'ts day Mr. President!

Contour Lines

Lines upon lines of contour lines!  That's what some of the lower grades were up to last week.
Drawing and cutting and drawing and cutting contour lines.   We began with a square of colored construction paper and drew a pinwheel shape.  After cutting out this shape, artists glued that shape on top of another piece of colored paper and drew contour lines outlining that shape, then cut along the new lines.  And there was just no stopping some of our artists as they continued to include as many layers of contour lines as they could to complete their project.

Check out the awesome creations by Mrs. Holmes' artists!  Just click on a photo to enlarge.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

So Much Activity!

Glass mosaics, printmaking, scherinschnitting, enameling, assemblaging, painting, ceramics, glazing, you'd think we have an art studio!   If there are a couple of new words in there that you don't quite recognize,  believe me, after March 19 they will definitely be part of your vocabulary.

And meanwhile, back in art class we've been doing a few things, too!  The lower grades have been incorporating symmetry and mirror imagery in their work.   Ask your young artist to demonstrate  a mirror image with you, and I can assure you a fun time will be had by all!

Take a look at  abstract diptychs created by Mrs. Doell's class.   We folded squares of color in half to cut symmetrical shapes and then stacked them to make our cool and warm abstract collages.

The upper grades have been learning how to include "volume" in their drawing.  And we practiced by observing the network of overhead pipes in our studio.  I'll be posting some images soon and be sure to check out the hallways in a week or so.  

The two GATE classes have a field trip scheduled this week and next to check out New York Artist Ellen Scott's exhibition at The Hemingway Gallery at Boise State.

We've been so very busy, and I hope our artists are loving it as much as I do!

And please, take a minute to thank an Art Mom or Dad the next time you see one.  They have been extremely busy helping in the classroom and heading up projects for the Spring Fling!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spring Fling!

The studio has been so busy with art moms and artists the past few weeks!  And I won't spill the beans, or the brushes, or the colored pencils. But  I am so excited about the incredible projects, energy and enthusiasm I've witnessed and I can assure you there will be extraordinary art at the ga-la-la next month.

For all those moms and dads and organizers, I'd like to share something that will be so reassuring when your hands are full of paint and glue, and you realize you have bit off much more than you can chew!   The funds that you will be raising to enhance your student artist's experience will make a huge difference in their development  And the fact that you have made this a priority at a time when the arts are considered frivolous, is really groundbreaking!   Despite all the evidence of the significance that art makes in each of our lives, when push comes to shove, the arts are frequently the first to go.

So, when the going gets tough the next couple of weeks and the deadline is looming,  take a deep breath and remember what this fuss is all about.  I've submitted a list of "Ten Lessons that Arts Teach" by Elliot Eisner, emeritus Professor of Arts and Education at Stanford University to let you know just what this means for your student artist:

 Ten Lessons the Arts Teach By Elliot Eisner 
The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail. 
The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer. 
The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world. 
The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds. 
The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition. 
The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties. 
The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real. 
The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job. 
The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling. 
The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important. 

SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. 

Catching Up!

I’ve been running a bit behind in getting images of our artists’ work uploaded, but I can assure you, it will be worth the wait!

In the past two weeks we have had two early release Fridays and two Monday vacation days, which leaves only about half of the classes available for working on art projects.

So, let’s start with last week.  We had plenty of activity, despite the limited crowd.  A special guest, Mr Roy G. Biv was invited to join k-4 in the studio but, unfortunately, he was unable to join us.   He did send a lesson plan to help us remember the colors included in the spectrum.

And we introduced a new tool for making parallel lines that allowed our East End artists to make beautiful curved ribbons spanning our papers.  We then applied watercolors to create a variety of rainbow ribbons.  The trick was to maintain the Roy G Biv order of colors throughout the project.  Here are a few examples of the work from Mrs. Engel’s second grade class. 

The upper grades stuffed our studio with more stools!  We applied our knowledge of negative space to create pastel drawings of our tennis ball footed studio stools.  With over 30 real stools in the room and an additional 25 drawings from Mr. Socia’s class hanging on the walls, we celebrated an icon of our studio.  We carefully considered perspective in our drawings and students had the freedom to choose how to represent our fluorescent tennis balls!  Enjoy the work created by Mr. Socia’s artists displayed on the walls in our studio!

Another rather brief week cut down activity in the studio to a total of ten classes.  Our morning kindergarten artists did spontaneous mark making with the help of a little jazz trumpet music.   The tables were covered in newsprint and nearly every known marking tool in the studio was available to our young artists.  In a “musical chair” type fashion, artists experimented with  different tools for the length of a full song.  Before the next song began, artists moved two chairs to the left to a new position.  This continued through 6-7   songs.  Enjoy our mark making mural on the walls of the main stairwell. 

To fight the blahs of gray winter days, first and second graders learned how to reduce a bird to three basic shapes.  An egg shape creates the body and a head, a triangle creates a beak, a feather tuft and tail feathers – and red paint creates a beautiful cardinal breaking up the shades of grey and brown of a dreary January day.

Meanwhile, third through sixth grade artists thought about cityscape skylines and created silhouettes of their own imaginary cityscapes. I’ve selected a few nighttime skylines from Mrs. Heusser’s class.