2nd/3rd Grade: One with Nature

In the Second and Third Grade class, we rejoiced as the mosaic pieces came to completion just in time for the art show. They looked fantastic, and were really popular with all of the visitors at the show.

That meant it was time to move on, so we have begun looking at American Indian Art. They often used abstract symbolism to represent both natural and spiritual objects, so we started our next project by sketching abstracted types of weather. Then, we discussed how Native Americans primarily used natural resources as their mediums. With that in mind, we then turned our sketches into sand art! The students are working on each section, one color at a time to fill in their white paper with colorful sand.

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4th Grade: Across the Map

Fourth Grade has been working hard on their Islamic tiles. They started by drawing a geometric pattern or an abstract, plant-like pattern on a small triangle, then repeated that pattern all the way around a tile. They can use the triangle to make as many copies as they like, but we stuck with just one for class because it’s a time-consuming process to draw and color all of the patterns.

Afterwards, we drew the Taj Mahal and discussed the different parts of its architecture. These were done with sharpies, and also included a reflection in watercolor paint and oil pastels.

Now, we’ve moved on to look at the art of Africa. Since African art features many materials from nature, we’ll be doing a mixed media painting of zebras. The drawing itself is in sharpie, the sky and grass is in watercolor, the trees and horizon are in oil pastels, the border will be in acrylic, and the designs on the border will be in chalk pastels. Finally, we will add dried grass to give it an interesting sense of depth, as well as a direct connection with the natural world.

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Kindergarten: BAM! Pop Art!

In Kindergarten, we’ve been looking at famous artists and recreating their work. We started with Piet Mondrian, who used primary colors (and neutral colors, as one of my students was quick to add) to paint squares and rectangles in box-based patterns. His most famous work from that series is the Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow, so we used that one as an example. Since painting straight lines can be hard, we did tape paintings instead, and then cut out black rectangles to make the outlines for the shapes.

Next, we started looking at Pop Art. Andy Warhol was our artist for that movement, and we drew his Soup Cans series. I was amazed at how well the class did with their drawings, and with replicating those drawings four times. I had them draw one with me, and the rest on their own. Pretty impressive results! Finally, on the topic of Pop Art, we looked at some comic book art and how the noise-words pop off the page. Things like BAM and POW are always shown in a spiky starburst shape. They show action and imply sound. Following our discussion, we started doing Batman drawings that included one of those action words. They’re still in progress, but they are coming along nicely!

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5th Grade: The Great Outdoors

For the past couple of weeks, Fifth Grade has been studying American art, and specifically the landscapes of Thomas Cole. He went out into nature, sketched what he saw, then returned to his studio to compose his paintings. With that in mind, we went outside to do some sketches of nature. Once we had a good selection, we brought them back inside and started combining the images into one finished image. The drawing was supposed to be a little bit surreal, since it was made up of an assortment of bits and pieces from observation and imagination. That produced very different sketches throughout the classroom. The second step to the project was including a painter in the landscape. Thomas Cole painted himself into The Oxbow to let us get a better perspective on how massive and powerful nature is in comparison to just one small man. So the students took turns sketching each other from a top-back view, as if we were peeking over their shoulders. Finally, we did a crash course on how to paint grass, leaves, and clouds with textures, shadows, and highlights, and set to work on the final product. They got finished just in time for the art show, and they looked magnificent!

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1st Grade: Studying Styles

First Grade has been covering a series of famous artists and art styles this past month. The first two styles we looked at were Pointillism and Impressionism, which are very similar. Each student was asked to make their own Pointillism creation using only dots (no outlines as guides). The entire paper was to be filled up with dots, so it was quite a task. At first, they request seemed daunting, but as they started to work, they gradually realized it wasn’t so bad, after all. In fact, these became one of the most popular drawings of the year! For Impressionism, students drew The Starry Night completely on their own. I provided a picture reference and a brief reminder about using short dashes, not scribbles, and then let them at it! The images were amazing! Like with Pointillism, they were a bit alarmed to be given free-reign, but once they gave it a try, they realized that they were more than capable of drawing the picture all by themselves.

After that, we took a look at Piet Mondrian and his Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow. The most important features of his work are his color choices and his attention to detail, so we made a point out of learning to use a ruler to draw perfectly vertical and horizontal lines by lining the ruler up with the edge of the paper. Once the lines were drawn, it was smooth sailing for the coloring part.

And finally, we looked at Picasso’s cubism portraits. It was a nice break from the very strict rules of Mondrian’s art, since the cubism faces aren’t supposed to look perfect, and they offer a huge span of color choices. These should be done later this week, so in the meantime, stay tuned!

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PreK: Variety Pack

Several weeks ago, PreK got to study Michelangelo and how he worked on the Sistine Chapel. After explaining how he laid on his back, I had the class abandon their chairs and climb under the tables where I had papers taped up. We then spent the entire class just drawing and coloring the same way that Michelangelo painted.

The PreK class also took a look at Matisse’s cut paper collages. They were just colored shapes arranged in a purposeful way. With that in mind, we made some of our own. Some of my friends used big shapes, some used small shapes, but they all made great collages.

For Dr. Seuss’ birthday, we drew the Lorax and Horton, and then colored in the pictures. Horton was my personal favorite. He came out adorably.

And finally, we looked at Jim Dine’s heart paintings. They’re bright, colorful, and a little abstract, making them perfect for my little PreK artists.

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