Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Kindergarten artists learned about the life and art of Theodore Seuss Geissel, or Dr. Seuss. His birthday is coming up on March 2nd. Were he still alive, he'd be 108 years old. 2012 marks the 5oth anniversary of his first book Cat in the Hat. We read this book, looked carefully at the drawings and noticed that Seuss created texture in his artwork through his use of cross-hatching. We drew a simple cat in the hat with overlapping shapes and cross-hatching for texture and value.
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The World According to 3rd graders

Third grade artists learned about Andy Warhol and Pop art. We learned that Pop art features images of things that are currently popular. We talked about how these things change over time. One thing that is very popular right now is our "One school, One book" program where we are reading The World According to Humphrey. Students learned how to draw a hamster, transferred their drawing onto a styrofoam printing plate and using brayers and ink, made four good prints of their hamster. We discussed what a "good" print looked like--just the right amount of ink, centered with an image that is easy to see. Students created four different prints from the same printing plate using a variety of ink and paper color combinations.
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Let them draw cake!

Second grade artists learned about the life and artwork of Wayne Thiebaud. Thiebaud (born November 15, 1920) is an American painter whose most famous works are of cakes, pastries, boots, toilets, toys and lipsticks. He is associated with the Pop art movement because of his interest in objects of mass culture, although his works, executed during the fifties and sixties, slightly predate the works of the classic pop artists. Thiebaud uses heavy pigment and exaggerated colors to depict his subjects, and the well-defined shadows characteristic of advertisements are almost always included in his work.
We talked about the difference between shapes and forms. Namely, that shapes are two-dimensional and forms are three-dimensional. We practiced drawing cylinders and then stacked 4-5 cylinders on top of one another and came up with designs for a cakes. We finished these in oil pastels while we discussed tints, shades and value. To create a tint we mixed our cake color with white. To make a shade we mixed our color with black. This range of color, from light to dark, in art, is called value.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Modern Mondrian

Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondrian (March 7, 1872 – February 1, 1944) was a Dutch Painter. Mondrian’s abstract paintings feature geometric shapes—like rectangles and squares. They also show case horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. His artwork typically featured only primary colors—red, yellow and blue. Mondrian was part of an art movement known as “de Stijl” (Dutch for “The Style”) which influenced architecture and building design in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Kindergarten and First grade artists used rulers to draw nice, straight lines. We noticed as the lines intersected they created shapes. After we filled our paper with lines and shapes, we used the primary colors plus black and white to color the shapes. The fun part was at the end...We dipped cardboard into black tempera paint we printed black lines where we had drawn lines with our rulers.
This was another new project and the results are cool! I think it's interesting how every student received the same directions, but each student produced a unique piece of art!
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Design an Ad

All 5th graders attended a presentation given by Marc Stopeck of the Wednesday Journal as a kick off to our next project. Stopeck is a writer and cartoonist for the journal.  "Design an Ad" is an annual contest that the journal puts on where students design an ad from participating local businesses. There are about ten schools in the area involved in the contest and also about ten businesses. The businesses will each choose a student winner who designed the most effective ad and these student ads will run in the newspaper on 3/21.  The presentation was fun as the 5th graders, as a group, chose a local business and then with the help of Mr. Stopeck, created an effective advertisement.

The steps we learned to create an advertisement, and the steps students need to use for their ad are:
1) What problem does your business solve? (hunger, back pain, transportation, etc).
2) Create a short and sweet headline that addresses the problem
3) Create a simple illustration/drawing that supports your headline
4) Finally be sure to include name, phone number and address of business

All 5th graders are designing an ad as an assignment. Ads most be in black and white only. Class time will be given. All ads are due to Mr. K  by 2/29. Good luck!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jim Dine Pop Art

2nd graders learned about the life and the art of pop artist Jim Dine. Dine used repetition in his artwork. One of the themes he often revisted is hearts. We talked about the texture of his hearts. We talked about the mood of his hearts--some looked happy; some sad. Then we talked about foreground and background. Our hearts are drawn in pairs, with alternating foregrounds and backgrounds. For example the red heart on the top left has polka dots in the foreground and zebra stripes in the background. The heart below is reversed, with zebra stripes in the foreground and polka dots in the background. We finished this one day project off using complementary colors that alternate just like our designs.
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Monday, February 13, 2012

4th Grade "Op Art"

4th grader artists looked at the artwork of "Op" artists Bridgey Riley and Victor Vasarely. Th ese artists used science and math to try and create the optical illusion of three-dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. Typically their artwork either receded (fell back) or advanced (came towards). After creating our drawings we reviewed the color wheel and used complementart colors to really make our drawings pop. Finally we added some value (light to dark shading) to our drawings with colored pencils to further create the illusion of a curved 3-D surface.
I found the idea for this lesson here.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wild Things!

Kindergarten Artists read "Wild Things" by Maurice Sendak. We paid special attention how Mr. Sendak created texture in his drawings. We found different textures in the wild things' hair, skin and even their feet! We drew our own wild things using the drawings in the books as inspiration. We outlined in sharpie and added our texture in sharpie as well. We used lines that we already knew how to make (like zig-zag, wavy, and curly) and learned how to cross-hatch to add texture as well. We finished our wild things in water colors.
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Monday, February 6, 2012

Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 – Plog Photo Blog

Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943 – Plog Photo Blog

These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.

Kindergarten Snowflakes

Kindergarten artists read the book "Snowflake Bentley". We learned about the life of photographer Wilson Bentley. According to his website ( many of us can remember hearing the phrase "no two snowflakes are alike". This discovery was made in the small rural town of Jericho, Vermont by Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931).
A self educated farmer, Bentley attracted world attention with his pioneering work in the area of photomicrography, most notably his extensive work with snow crystals (commonly known as snowflakes). By adapting a microscope to a bellows camera, and years of trial and error, he became the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885.

Kindergartners learned to fold square paper twice to make a small triangle. We drew small, simple shapes on our triangles and cut these shapes out. We then carefully unfolded our creations to see what we made!
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4th Grade Relief Scupltures

Fourth Grade artists looked at the artwork of renowned sculptor Louise Nevelson. Nevelson was a Russian immigrant. Her father was a wood worker and because of this Louise began using his scrap wood to build assemblages out of these found objects. Her sculptures typically featured hand-built wooden boxes filled abstractly with pieces of wood. Her sculptures were also painted one color, usually a neutral color. She did this because her artwork was about shapes (2-D) and forms (3-D)--it was not about color. 4th graders built a box out of scrap mat board. We used scrap wood and found objects sent over from the middle schools to build our abstract sculptures. Mr. K spray painted all 80-something boxes black and students were able to choose one metallic paint to give their work just a touch of color using sponge brushes. Every 4th grader has a sculpture hanging outside the art room creating one large relief sculpture.
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

3rd Grade Illuminated Letters

3rd grade artists created their own Illuminated Letters. We looked at the Book of Kells and discussed how "illuminated" means filled with light. The original illuminated letters used gold leafing in the illustrations, so as the pages were turned the letters reflected light and appeared to be glowing. These manuscripts (manu meaning 'by hand' and script meaning 'writing') were made by many people. A parchmenter made the paper out of leather, a scribe wrote every word by hand, an illustrator created the drawings and a book binder sewed all the pages together. Only people with great wealth and power had books. Illuminated Manuscripts had fanciful artwork that matched the story in the text. We chose one letter, created a pattern around the border and filled our drawings with images that matched our personalities. These were created with markers and watercolor paints.
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2nd Grade Penguins

Second grade artists read two non-fiction books and learned about penguins. We learned why they have white bellies and black backs. Ask your student! We learned about how they feed their chicks and the habitat they live in. We watched some National Geographic videos about Penguins on youtube. We then drew penguins (some drew emperors; some macaroni) and drew their habitat as we reviewed what a horizon line does in a drawing and the parts of a drawing--the foreground, middle ground and background. After outlining in sharpie, we use water-based markers to color our sky with warm colors and cool colors for our water. Then we used wet paint brushes to blend the colors of the sky and water together.
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First Grade Snow Flakes

First grade artists learned about Andy Warhol and "Pop Art". We learned that Warhol was an artist who made prints of popular things (thus the term "Pop Art"). He used repepition in his artwork, often repeating the same image. But he also used variation by changing the colors of the image. Inspired by his images of Mickey Mouse and Marilyn Monroe, we talked about what is currently popular. If Warhol were alive today, who do you think he what put in his artwork? Students had great responses like Elmo and Lady Gaga. We used colored construction paper and learned how to fold and cut geometric and organic colored snow flakes.
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