Wednesday, December 21, 2011

4th Grade Shoes

4th grade artists looked at the shoes in prints and paintings created by Andy Warhol and at the many boots Vincent VanGogh painted. We talked about how artists draw still lives to get better at seeing and then in turn, get better at drawing. We actually took off one shoe, placed it in front us and drew from observation. Some students drew the bottom of their shoe as well. Our backgrounds were kept simple but interesting by adding leading lines that pointed at our shoes. We outlined in sharpie and used colored pencils to create value by shading from light to dark to make our shoes look 3-D.
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Happy Holidays!

Holmes artists learned about two-dimensional (2-D)and three-dimensional (3-D) objects. We discussed that 2-D shapes (like a circle) are flat because they have only two dimensions: height and width. 3-D forms (like a sphere) however, have three dimensions: height, width and depth which makes them appear to pop out at us. We drew snowmen and snowwomen using shapes but then discussed how to use a light source in our drawings to create highlights, shadows and cast shadows on the spherical forms of our snow people. This was a really fun project enabled grades 1-5 to create 3-D looking snow people. Students customized the snow folks too. They can be found snowboarding, ice skating, skiing and just chillin'.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

5th grade Surrealism

5th graders studied the art movement “Surrealism”. We looked at famous Surrealists including Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Arcimboldo Giuseppe. It is Giusuppe’s artwork that we focused on the most. He created strange and magnificent portraits of people using fruits, vegetables, animals and many other things. Even though his artwork was surreal, it also featured accurate human facial proportions. We traced silhouettes or our heads onto cardstock and created these surreal faces using magazines, maps and newspapers in our surreal collages.
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Abstract Landscapes

2nd grade artists looked at the artwork of Jackson Pollock. We reviewed how he painted--by splattering, flinging and dripping paint onto his canvas. There are no recognizable objects in his paintings, making them abstract. Then we looked at realistic wintery landscapes created by various artists. We then created a slightly abstract wintery landscape painting using only black and white tempera paint. Our abstract trees were created by blowing the paint around our paper using straws in a Jackson Pollock-esque way of action painting.
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Give 3rd grade a hand!

Third grade artists learned about contour lines. A contour line drawing is a drawing based on direct observation. The idea is that your eye looks very closely at what you are drawing. Your eye and your hand become 'synced', and your hand draws exactly what your eye sees. So your eye is crawling very slowly over the contours (edges) of your hand. As your eyes slowly observes these details, your hand draws them. After some practice drawings we looked at the American Sign Language alphabet. We picked one word to spell. Most of us chose our names. We posed our hand in the chosen letter and drew each hand through direct observation. This was not an easy project, but we found that if we let our eyes do the observing, most anything is fairly simple to draw.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

KindergARTen Sunflowers

Kindergarten artists learned about the life and artwork of Vincent VanGogh (1853-1890).  We looked Starry Night and the many different versions of his sunflower paintings, but we spent the most time looking at Vase with 12 Sunflowers.  We discussed how some of the flowers looked healthy and alive while others looked wilted and dead.  We noticed the colors that he used in his paintings—warm colors like reds, yellows and oranges. We then donned our smocks and created our own versions of Van Gogh’s sunflowers using only warm colors and tempera paints. We used construction paper to fold and cut out symmetrical vases and used markers to draw line designs on them.

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First Grade Action Paintings

First grade artists learned about the abstract artwork of Jackson Pollock. Pollock reached fame and fortune through his "action paintings" where he splatted, dripped, poured and flung his paint unto his canvas. We discussed the color wheel and reviewed the primary colors. We created our action paintings by putting our paintings in a tray, placing blobs of primary paint colors on our papers and rolling marbles around and letting them mix and drag our colors around the paper. We completed a second action painting by blowing paint around on our paper using straws. We concluded by using the netbooks and visiting and painting 'Pollock-style' online.
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Art Show!

Please visit the Oak Park Public Library to see artwork created by Holmes students. All grades K-5 (excluding 2nd grade) have artwork on display.  All 5th grade classes, 4GE, 3N, 1CO, and KM can all see their artwork in the "Art Alcove, " located downstairs in the Children's section of the library. The work is on display through the month of December.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

3rd Grade Landscape Painting

3rd grade artists learned how to mix tints and shades to create a value scale ranging from white, light gray, medium gray, dark gray and black. We looked at Chinese brush painting and studied how these artists created depth in their paintings. They used atmospheric perspective--making things lighter to make them appear farther away. These artists also placed farther away objects higher up on their paper. We borrowed these ancient techniques and created these wintery landscapes.
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5th Grade Hero Sculptures

This week in Art, Fifth grade artists are putting on the finishing touches on their cross-curricular art project. In social studies students researched and learned about a hero. We built these heroes out of clay. This week we mixed colors to create realistic and unique skin tones and hair colors. And some students even designed glasses from wire. This was a great project!
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Monday, November 21, 2011

"Freedom from Want"

This short school week (Monday/Tuesday), the 3-5 grade students that have art looked at the painting "Freedom from Want" by Norman Rockwell. Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works are popular for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for more than four decades. We talked about how Rockwell's paintings tell stories without words; every detail is important to the story. We talked about how Rockwell achieved a sense of depth in his artwork by using two different techniques: Overlapping and placement. The people at the bottom of the painting appear to be in front because they are not blocked by other people. As the people get farther away, they are overlapped and they move higher up the paper. We attempted to use these two techniques to create cartoon versions of our Thanksgiving dinners. These examples are from 3A.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kindergarten shape turkeys

Kindergartner's drew turkeys! We looked at several photos and decided that a turkey's body was shaped like an oval, his head was shaped like a circle and his beak was shaped like a triangle. We added feathers, we added a horizon line and also a background. Then we painted these using paint dabbers. It was a great review of mixing primary colors and making secondary colors.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

3rd grade overlapping shapes

Third graders looked at the artwork of Stuart Davis. Davis (December 7, 1892–June 24, 1964), was an early American modernist painter. His paintings feature large, over lapping shapes that create a sense of depth. Using rolls of tape and plastic shapes as stencils, we learned how to correctly overlap things in a drawing to create the illusion of space. We finished these in markers.
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4th grade landscapes

4th grade artists studied the artwork of Albert Bierdstadt (January 7, 1830 – February 18, 1902). He was a German-American painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. We talked about how to mix tints (lighter versions) and shades (darker versions) of our back ground color. We mixed five different values of one color, from white to really dark. We painted our background first and using only a wet brush, blended the values together to make a seamless gradient. Some students choice to use old toothbrushes to splatter paint stars in their night time skies. The following week we practiced using a fan brush to paint realistic trees, and then finished our paintings.
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Kindergarten pumpkins

Kindergarten Artists studied pumpkins. We read a few books about pumpkins. Some books were fiction, one was non-fiction. We created these pumpkin landscapes. We drew pumpkins in the foreground. We drew a horizon line to seperate the sky and the ground. We used oil pastels and blended yellow and red primary colors together to make orange pumpkins. We also blended white and blue together in our skies. The last thing we did was paint over everything, using the resist technique, in watercolor.
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

5th grade Clay Heroes

Fifth grade artists are finishing modelling their clay heroes. We worked from reference photos of our chosen heroes. We used additive and subtractive methods of sculpture to create our heroes. We discussed two methods of attaching clay pieces to our project: blending and slipping/scoring. We also discussed texture and added texture to our people's hair and clothes. So far, these guys and gals look great. They'll be headed into the kiln soon and then painted next week.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Clay Week!

All classes, K-5, are working on clay projects this week. I have decided that the mess that accompanies the fun of working with clay is better made all at once. Since day one of school, students have been asking, "When are we working with clay?" It is by far, students' favorite medium. It's also interesting to see students who typically struggle a bit with two-dimensional artwork really excelling in 3-D. And just the opposite: some students who are really good at drawing have to work a bit harder to be successful with clay. Each class is working on different projects...

FIFTH GRADE is working on a cross-curricular project with social studies.  In social studies, students are researching and writing about a hero of theirs. In art, we are creating hero sculptures out of clay. We have made generic, "blank" people this week using the slab method of clay building. We used toilet paper tube armatures to temporarily help our heroes stand up.  Next week we will be turning our clay people into heroes like Ghandi, Einstein, Steve Jobs and even Oprah by studying our photos of these people very closely and sculpting faces, hair and later painting and using fabric scraps to make clothes. This photo is 5M's people standing very crowded in a box to keep the clay workable until next week's class.

FOURTH GRADE studied the slab building method when working with clay. We used rolling pins to roll out slabs of clay. We then used rulers, incorporating math into our project, and measured twice and cut once to make our clay slabs 4"x10". We rolled our slabs into a cylinder, added a bottom and created geometric designs and textures on the sides of our mugs. Some students added handles to their mugs.

THIRD GRADE students learned about the coil method and pinch pot methods of building functional clay projects. We talked about the difference between art and functional art.  We began with a pinch pot as the base of our functional piece and attached clay coils/ropes/snakes to build our pots.  Students were challenged to build their coil pot so that it got wider or narrower as it got taller.

SECOND GRADE students learned that the pinch pot method of building with clay is a technique that was used since the beginning of time by ancient humans. We learned that by looking at the pictures on ancient greek ceramics we can learn about what their lives were like. We made three pinch pots of varying sizes, changed the shapes from circles into squares, hearts and triangles and then use the slip and score method to attach the pots together. We also added feet to the bottom of our projects and decorated the lips of our functional art.

FIRST GRADE students just recently finished our Rainbow Fish projects and this week we revisited the fish theme when we read Swimmy by Leo Leoni. We then created clay pinch pots, turned them on their side and learned about slip and scoring (scratch attach) to attach eyes, fins, teeth, tails, tongues and other parts to make 3-D clay fish.

KINDERGartEN students looked at all the things humans make out of clay: plates, cups, containers, vases, and sculptures. We talked about the things in our homes that are made from clay.  We read the book The Empty Pot  and talked about honesty and courage. We then made clay pinch pots and created patterns on them using found objects like marker caps, plastic forks, and pencils.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Still life drawings

2n, 3rd and 4th graders got to go outside into the courtyard with pencils, paper and clip boards in hand. We found interesting looking leaves. We learned about the various parts of a leaf including the petiole, the midrib and the blade. We talked about how artists draw still-lives to get better at drawing and most importantly to learn how to see. We tried to see a line or a shape in the leaf first, and then try and draw that particular line or shape. We looked for, and drew all the little details-- like a curved petiole (stem) or a hole in the leaf. To make our leaves look really real we, lastly, added a drop shadow on the same side of all the leaves. Some classes had to do this inside because of the weather, but we all drew real leaves--no tracing or leaf rubbings allowed. We finished our leaves by blending and layering warm colors of watercolor pencils.
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KindergARTen leaf rubbings

Kindergartners read the book "Fletcher and the Falling Leaves." In this book,
Fletcher (a fox) tries his best to take care of his favorite tree. But no matter what he does, it's leaves keep falling off. We learned about autumn and talked about why the leaves change colors and fall off the trees. We also learned about warm colors--red, yellow and orange. For out art project we used real leaves from a variety of trees to make crayon rubbings using the texture of the leaves. Our rubbings were made using black crayons, and after we filled our papers with leaves we used watercolor paints to give the leaves some warm color.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011


First grade artists read the book Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. We discussed how Mr. Pfister is both the author and the illustrator of his book. We looked carefully at the artwork in the book and noticed soft and fuzzy the water looked. We learned that the materials an artist uses are called media. And that each media has a different look to it. We used water color paints and watercolor pencils to try and replicate the look of the book. We used a watercolor technique called 'wet-on-wet' to get the soft fuzzy edges and lights and darks in the water.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kindergarten Self-portraits

Kindergarten artists learned about portraits and self-portraits. We looked at several portraits--Grant Wood's American Gothic for one. We talked about being art detectives and seeing how many details we could find. We then talked about those details. Why did the artist put them in the painting? Do they tell us something about the people in the portrait? We decided that we could learn alot about the person (or people) in a portrait by looking at their clothes, their facial expression, and the background.
We then created self-portraits and included details about our lives, including a background or the place we are standing in our portrait.
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3rd Grade Collages

Third grade artists looked at the artwork of Romare Bearden (1911-1988). Bearden lived in Harlem, New York city and was friends with Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, and other well-known artists, writers, and musicians. Bearden's collage artwork often features images from his past where he spent many enjoyable summers on his grandparents farm in Pennsylvania. Bearden used many different collage materials in his works, including cuttings from newspapers, magazines, sample catalogues, painted papers, colored paper, foil, wallpaper, wrapping paper, and art reproductions.
We used magazines, construction paper, and scrapbooking paper to create our city collages. Our cities have a sky with stars or clouds, buildings made of shapes in the middle ground, and a street with cars and people in the foreground.
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