Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Lanscapes

Kindergarten and First grade artists looked at a variety of painted landscapes. We talked about how a landscape painting is a picture of outside. It might have buildings in it, or it might just have nature. We also discussed foreground and background. Our background uses warm colors and features a sunset and was painted with tempera cakes. Our foreground is painted using scrap pieces of mat board dipped in black paint and printed in the shape of winter trees. Lastly, since it 'tis the season, we sponge painted white snow on the bottom of our paper and used old marker caps to print falling white snow.
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Happy Holidays!

 This is the week before winter break. As such, some classes are finishing up various projects and some classes are caught up and have an 'extra' class. The classes that are ahead reviewed the Elements of Art--specifically value and form. We then drew snow men from an artist-led video on youtube. We finished these with watercolor paints and added a shadow to make our snowman appear to have form (be 3-D).  We folded our papers in half before starting so these are actually cards. Some students chose to add text like "Happy Birthday," "Happy Holidays", or "Merry Christmas". These examples all come from 5P.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

4th grade slab mugs

 Posted by Picasa4th grade artists learned how to create roll out a slab of clay to 1/4". We then cut our slab into a large rectangle and then cut out a circle and a rectangle. The circle serves as the base and the rectangle was carefully curved around the base to form the wall of our mug. We used a variety of found objects--like forks, spoons and spools to add designs, pattern and texture to our mugs.
After these were fired in our kiln.  We all made a color wheel and learned about color harmonies. These are specific colors that can be used together for various effects. Our color harmony options were primary, secondary, warm and cool. We chose one color harmony and used those color glazes to glaze our mugs.
These came out great and will be featured at the upcoming specials night on January 14th.

Kindergarten Castles

Kindergarteners learned about castles in art by reading several books-some fiction and some non-fiction. We also "toured" Germany's Neuschwanstein caste in a youtube video. We learned that castles were built for protection. Our castles have a moat, a drawbridge, a watchtower and a keep. After drawing we added color and texture with oil pastels and paint dabbers.
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First Grade Snowmen

First graders learned the difference between two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork. We learned that two-dimensional artwork, even though it is flat can look three-dimensional. Enter Snowmen at Night, and Snowmen all Year.  We read both of these books in class digitally using a free website called We looked carefully at the illustrations and noted how it looked like moonlight had landed on the snowmen. We also noted that the snowmen looked round because of this moonlight and because of the darker shadow. We drew our snowpeople in pencil, outlined in sharpie, colored in color pencil and used plain old white chalk board chalk for the snow.
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Landscape Pencil Drawings


4th grade artists used pencils and blending stomps to create mountain landscapes. In artwork, value is the range of one color from light to medium to dark. Our drawings are full of value, blended together with a paper blending stomp.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

First Grade Still lives

First Grade artists looked at the still life paintings of Paul Cezanne. We talked about why artists draw still lives--to practice. And we discussed how artists draw still lives--by looking, observing and finding simple shapes. Each table had an old soup can full of eight different art supplies--brushes, pencils, markers, etc. We then observed. Which object is tallest, shortest, widest, narrowest? What shapes can we find in the pencil? We talked about overlapping. We used lots triangles, rectangles and ovals to draw these.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Clay Fossils

Kindergarten and First grade artists just brought a fun new project: Clay Fossils! Before it got too cold, we walked outside and gathered a few interesting leaves. We brought them into the art room and after reading a bit about fossils, we began our clay project. We started by creating a slab of clay. A slab is a flat, even sheet of clay. We then discussed texture and using our fingertips we found the side of a leaf that had the most texture. We then imprinted this side of the leaf into the clay. The projects were fired in our kiln and then we painted them using sponges and brown tempera paint to make them appear old. They also have value. In art, value is when there are light and dark versions of one color. Lastly, we sealed them with a gloss medium to protect  the paint and make them shiny!
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2nd Grade Lego Self-Portraits

2nd graders are just starting a cross-curricular lego project involving Oak Park Education Foundation, the classroom teachers and of course, me, the art teacher. To get us in a lego frame-of-mind, we watched a great video on the history of legos. And then looked at the proportions of a lego mini person. We then all drew a plain lego person together. But then added lego details like clothes, hair and a background that made our lego person look like us. Of course, in typical lego fashion, we are all yellow-skinned.
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4th Grade Shoe Drawings

Fourth graders began this art project by learning about the brain. We discussed how the left side of our brain is really good at things like math, logic, analyzing and naming things. While the right half of our brain is more visual, creative, random and intuitive.  When trying to draw from life, the right side is the way to go. Before drawing our shoes we completed a drawing activity designed to shut down the left half and engage the right side of our brain. We drew a horse by looking at a picture of a horse. BUT, the reference photo was upside down and almost entirely covered by a sheet of dark paper. So we didn't draw the "horse," we looked at little squiggles and bendy lines and drew that we saw and drew those. Then we'd move our dark paper down an bit and add more to our drawing. Before we knew it, we had created beautiful, realistic drawings of a horse! But we had to use our eyes to see, not our brains to think. While our right brains were on a roll, we took off one shoe, and set it in front of us. We tried to forget that it was a shoe, and just observe it as a series of bendy lines and shapes. The results are great! Lastly, we added a rhythm and movement by creating a pattern that followed the contour of our shoe.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Landscapes

Kindergarten Artists learned about landscapes in art class. We looked at several landscape paintings by various artists. After reading "Pumpkin, Pumpkin" and watching a short video about the life-cycle of pumpkins, we created our collage landscapes. We drew our pumpkins together. We then practiced how to safely and effectively use our scissors to cut the pumpkins out. We created texture in the grass and glued everything together. Lastly, we used white chalk to add a glowing moon and stars to the sky. Some students chose to draw faces on their pumpkins.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Op Art

In Optical Art or “Op Art,” artists create an optical illusion. The illusion could be that something is moving, or popping out, or falling in. We made our op art pop out by using colored pencils and shading a range of values for each color in our patterns. This helped us create the illusion of three dimensions on our two-dimensional paper.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

 In a cross-curricular project, Art and Espanol joined forces with Kindergarten and First grade students. All classes read a couple of different stories about Dia de los Muertos. In Spanish class students read the stories in Spanish and in Art they read them in English. Students learned that Day of the Dead is a time to celebrate and remember the lives of loved ones. Part of this celebration includes the creation of sugar skulls. In Art, students applied what they learned in Spanish in the creation of these Sugar Skulls. Our art words include line, pattern, symmetry and texture.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Positive and Negative Space

3rd, 4th and 5th grade artists spent one class and finished these cut-paper jack-o-lanterns. We began by looking at some really cool pumpkins carved by Ray Villafane. What followed was an interesting debate about whether or not these carved pumpkins are "Art." Students argued on both sides of the issue and defended their point of view with specific reasons. We then reviews the Elements of Art and talked about space in art. There are two types of space--Negative and Postive. Positive is the object itself (say, a chair) Negative space is the area in and around the chair.  We used negative and positive space to create these jack-o-lanterns.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Elements of Art

 The Elements of Art are the building blocks to creating and discussing any work of Art. They are:
1) Line-The path of a point.
2) Shape-2-D, enclosed space
3) Form-3D object
4) Value-Range from light to dark
5) Space-Areas in and around art
6) Texture-Implied or real; touch
7) Color-ROYGBIV
Students in grades 2-5 studied these elements carefully and created these projects that demonstrate their understanding of  each of these concepts. The back ground behind the students names has seven areas--one area for each of the Elements. We had many great class discussions as we analyzed drawings, photographs and sculptures using these art words.  We will be using this knowledge in every art project this year.
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Friday, August 24, 2012


 Welcome to the 2012-2013 school year! I have many exciting new Art projects planned out and ready to go. Grades kdg and first will begin by learning about lines and using a variety of lines to create simple drawings. Grades 2-5 will be learning about and reviewing the Elements of Art (line, shape, form, space, color, texture and value). We will be creating a cool mixed media piece the shows off our knowledge of these elements. Pictures of these projects will coming soon!
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Monday, April 30, 2012

2nd grade 3-D Cities

 2nd grade artists looked at Edward Hopper. His most famous painting is Nighthawks where several lonely figures sit in an illuminated diner. Hopper was an American Realist painter; he painted what he saw. His paintings have been described as things you would see if you were driving through a new town. He was fascinated with light and shadow. We tried to capture light and shadow in our city paintings. We used warm colors in the sky and cool colors for our buildings. Our buildings are lit up on one side and painted with a tint of a cool color (light blue, light purple). The shadow side is a bit darker. We began our cities buildings by drawing a simple arrow that pointed up and creatively turned these arrows into what you see here.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

3rd Grade Self-Portraits

 Third grade artists looked at the art and life of Amadeo Modigiliani. Although a sculptor at heart, he is most famous for his paintings. He painted portraits from life. While the people were recognizable, they were distorted. His portraits typically featured elongated, oval tilted heads and long necks. We used mirrors to observe the basic shapes of ourselves--our eyes, our hair, eyebrows, etc.  Unlike Modigliani, who was a painter, we used construction paper and glue in our collages. Collage is a french word meaning glue. Every third grader has a self-portrait hanging in the art room. It's been fun for the students trying to guess who is who.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

5th Grade Rockin' Lock-in Mural

 The 5th grade mural was a huge success! Thank you to all the parents that made it possible. In honor of Earth Day, 5th graders printed using recycled and re-purposed found objects. We printed on old doors, instead of new boards. There are three doors; each one a primary color. These will be on permanent display, hanging in the media center. Thank you again to everyone who participated!
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Monday, April 9, 2012

O'Keeffe Pastel Flowers

 3rd grade artists learned about the life and artwork of Georgia O'Keeffe.  She is a famous female artist known for cropping her paintings of flowers. She would paint one or two really big and colorful flowers. Sometimes she would crop her paintings so much that they became abstract.We began our drawings by drawing one large flower that was cropped-meaning it had to touch all four sides of the paper. Then we outlined our drawings in white school glue and let them dry. The following class we used pastels to create tints (lights) and shades (darks) and make our flowers look 3-D and realistic. This was a new project that turned out really well. I overheard several students telling other students that this was the greatest drawing they had ever made. How cool!
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Design an Ad Contest

 The 5th graders all participated in the Wednesday Journal's "Design an Ad" contest where students designed advertisements for local businesses. The businesses then choose their favorite ads and these ads were published in the newspaper! These are the Holmes School winners. Congratulations!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012


A     A zentangle is a doodle where the mind and body are in a relaxed state (zen-like). A “tangle” is a little doodle. So a zentangle is a focused and relaxed drawing. Usually these doodles have “step-outs” where the creator draws up directions to create a specific design, signs their name to them and publishes them online. Fourth and fifth graders made these zentangles as a one-day project.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

5th grade Perspective cities

 5th graders spent several weeks working on these two-point perspectived drawings. And we learned alot along the way. We learned about the Renaissance and the invention of perspective. We looked at artwork before the Renaissance that featured goofy looking and unrealistic attempts at portraying depth. Then we looked at artwork by DaVinci, Rafael and others that used vanishing points and perspective to create a realistic illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface.
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2nd Grade Senufo Mud Cloths

  Second grade artists learned about  Senufo mud cloths. This tribe in Africa creates stylized paintings of animals and also incorporates  geometric patterns. They are called "mud cloths" because they are literally painted with a special kind of mud and created to bring the hunters luck as they search for food for their families. The glow around the animals represents the animals spirit and energy.
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

4th grade perspective

 4th graders learned about creating the illusion of depth and distance on their two-dimensional papers. We learned about shapes and forms and we learned all about the Renaissance. We looked at video games from the 1980's and compared them to today's games. The older video games lacked perspective or depth. Then we looked at artwork from before the Renaissance and in much the same way as the video games, these paintings are lacking in the accurate portrayl of depth as well. We finished our drawings in "plastipastels"--these are like a cool combination of crayons and colored pencils. We also used texturized rubbing plates to give our buildings a variety of textures.
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