Fifth Grade thought they had won a prize last week. They walked into art class and were told they would get to play with Play-Doh. The children’s equivalent to clay made a great tool for learning about the different processes used to make ceramics. The day of Play-Doh was a practice day for the coming project. Fifth Grade would be making a cup or bowl that is also something else. For example, they could make a goblet that is also a dragon claw, or a bowl atop a turtle’s back. The subject was up to them, but they had to be able to make it in one day, because we would be using air-dry clay, which would be mostly dry by the time they returned for the next class. That part made this considerably more challenging. But, by the end of the week, we ended up with some very unique results! There was a mug in the shape of Squidward’s house, Spongebob holding a tea cup, a bowl with a turtle lid, a turtle mug, and a bowl in the shape of an open mouth. Once they are completely dry, we’ll take a day to get them painted. But, in the meantime, we’ll be moving on to our first art history lesson: the art of Japan!
Fourth Grade has been working hard on a class project for the past two weeks. It was a large-scale relief sculpture of a landscape. Each student was responsible for a certain piece of the image, but they were allowed to help each other out if somebody finished up early. The project involved cutting foam core boards into the pieces we needed. While the class came in thinking it would be a piece of cake, that was a quickly discarded thought when they tried to cut the thick boards. However, art class is about getting creative, and that’s exactly what we did. By sketching a line as a guide and then poking holes into the board along that line, it weakened the material, making it much easier to cut through. The process was long and difficult, but they did get a taste of how much of a challenge making a stone sculpture would be, considering they were only working with foam board and it was already a struggle. However, victory did come in time, and with some paint to spruce things up, the sculpture came together wonderfully. All of their hard work made them appreciate it more, and there were even rock-paper-scissors challenges over who would get to keep it.
At the end of this week, we moved on to the Art of China, where we got to try out some calligraphy and ink washes. The class was oddly quiet while they practiced. Everyone was extremely focused on trying to figure out how to control the thickness of a line, and how to turn black ink into the perfect shade of grey. I look forward to continuing their paintings next week!
Second and Third Grade finished up their positive and negative space projects last week with some interesting results. We talked about the final products and discussed how the magazine strips in the positive space draw more attention when they have brighter colors and more details, and how the negative space (the silhouette in this case) is easier to identify when it has a lot of defined edges with less details. Scissors, for example, were easy to recognize, but a koala in a tree was more difficult.
Before moving on to the next project, we also took a day to paint some ornaments for the school’s entry for the festival of trees.
This week, we moved on to lessons on landscapes and how the painting style varies by time period and location. We looked at American landscapes versus Japanese ones, and talked about the different subject matter for each region.
After finishing up our friend portraits, First grade started their lessons on texture. We covered how to draw soft/fuzzy, rough, smooth, and shiny surfaces with pencils, and then started the process with colored pencils. We are currently working on drawing a cat, or a dog, face. The fur is soft, the nose is smooth, and the eyes are shiny. It also gives us a recognizable image to work with when learning about fur. Everyone was encouraged to think about a cat or dog that they have seen in the past and how their fur goes in certain directions. By following the direction of the fur growth, they can make their pictures look more realistic.
Last week, Kindergarten worked together to build a totem pole out of their own individual totems. The completed totem pole represents the creation of the Kindergarten class. It is made up of a large group of unique individuals that all came together into one place; just as our different totems all came together to build the totem pole.
This past week, we moved on to the last lesson on Sculptures. This time we are working on hanging sculptures, or Mobiles. The best way to experience a mobile is to be able to see and touch one in person, which means that we needed to build one. To keep in the spirit of sculpting, we made paper sculptures (otherwise known as origami) to make the hanging pieces of the mobile. The class was tickled to find that they could make so many different animals out of just a small square of paper. Next week, we’ll be doing the actual building part of the project, where we hang and balance the mobile and its many pieces.
The PreK class has been exploring famous artists for the past couple of weeks. Last week, we looked at Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue by Piet Mondrian, and this week, we studied Vincent Van Gogh’s the Starry Night.
We studied the color choices and the processes for each work, and then tried a simpler version for our own creations. I think the best part of the process comes at the end, when everyone gets to share what they made with the rest of the class. Their enthusiasm is a great thing to see.
The Preppers tried out Pointillism last week. Filling up an entire picture was a bit much, so we just worked on trying to use dots instead of lines to add color to the different sections of the coloring pages. This past week, we did drip paintings with eyedroppers. Outside of just being a fun way to splash some water around, it also provided practice with motor skills and color mixing. Between activities, we also took some time for painting with other unusual items, like forks and spoons.