As much as I LOVE spending my summer with my family and friends, I love coming back to the school and look forward to reunited with all of my students. Just like most students, I start to feel that back to school excitement creep up when the end of August rolls in. As the night air gets cooler, I am reminded that summer is coming to it's inevitable close. I am also reminded how fortunate I am to return to an amazing community of students and staff.
I spend a lot of time at Cape Cod beaches and travel across the state to take in all of the beauty that Berkshire County has to offer. These scenic areas were perfect subjects for the photography class I attended over the summer months. I look forward to incorporating some of the images into upcoming lessons. It's a wonderful way to summer memories alive and well.
As we begin the new school year, students will celebrate "International Dot Day". The K-5 artists will be reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. After discussing the book, the artists will be creating a dot of their own. Each grade will be represented by a color. (Primary and Secondary colors.) Kindergarten is red, First-grade is orange, Second-grade is yellow, Third-grade is green, Fourth-grade is blue and Fifth-grade is purple.
During our first class we discussed what collaboration means and decided to make and individual piece of art that would be assembled with peer artists at their school to create a larger, collaborative artwork. This installment represents each student as a single dot that is part of the larger school community.
Each dot is unique - just like the artist. Together we make a beautiful community.
March welcomes the promise of Spring. Which on some days is hard to remember when the temperatures are raw and the ground is covered with snow.
We will start the month celebrating Read Across America day and Dr. Suess' birthday. All grades will be having fun creating Dr Seuss characters of their own this month. We will be sure to use many of his whimsically illustrated books for inspiration.
Books are a big part of our art room. Aside from the beautiful illustrations found in most children's literature, they also may offer moral lessons, make connections to art history, offer exposure to each others cultures and so much more. I am consistently looking for books to incorporate into the art curriculum that will enhance a lesson (or inspire a new one) . If you have a favorite children's book that you would like to share, please let me know!
Our Kindergarten artists are celebrating Dr. Seuss this month by creating some very unique fish inspired by the book One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. They used paper and paint sticks for this project. They LOVED the paint sticks - they look like glue sticks and the paint dries relatively fast. Ask your kindergartner to tell you about them (and their fish). We are also talking about visual texture and creating a landscape using texture boards.
First grade was introduced to artist Vincent Van Gogh. After reading Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt the artists created their version of Sunflowers using light blue paper and oil pastels. First grade is also working on an owl study.
Second grade artists are still working on thier "winter selfies". This project combines, portraiture, printmaking, fiber arts and collage. We read The Color of Us by Karen Katz and learned about different skin tones before sketching our portraits. The next step was to create the prints that eventually will be hats and mittens. The artists carved patterns into a foam "plate" and used a brayer to apply ink and then make a print (and a ghost print). The scarfs will be covered in pattern and then students will add tassels to finish.
Third grade is focusing on printmaking this month and architecture. We read Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and also A Walk in New York by Salvatore Rubbino and discussed many types of buildings and cityscapes. The third grade artists divided water color paper in half and used water color to paint one side in warm colors and the other in cool colors. The created a city scape with many different types of buildings on a foam printing plate and then inked the "plate" with black printing ink to create a city sky line and reflection.
Fourth grade are busy as bees creating a hexagonal honeycomb background for their collograph print. The students learned about why bees make their honeycombs using the hexagon shape (Ask them - they will love to tell you.) After they have created the "honey comb" with crayon, they will use watercolor paint for a colorful background. The next step was to create a bee Collograph. We looked at the anatomy of a bee and how many sections, legs and wings the bee has. They recreated these "parts" by cutting foam and attaching these to cardboard pieces to make a collograph. The students inked the collograph with a brayer and made prints of bees all over the honeycomb backgrounds.
Fifth grade continues with portraiture this month. They will be creating 3 dimensional self portraits.
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s A
February is a short month filled with so much celebrations. February hosts, Black History Month, Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Valentines Day and Presidents day which leads us straight in to vacation! We were inspired to bring much of that celebration in to the art room.
Our Younger students read Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryant . This book is full of bright colors and shares an appreciation for beauty and one’s heritage. The message of the black bird was that “color on the outside is not what’s on the inside.” The students created a paper collage that paid homage to the cover of the book.
They also learned about American Pop artist. Jim Dine and created art work inspired by his use of heart shapes.
First grade focused on portraiture. We read Do you have a Hat by Eileen Spilnelli. We read about many historical figures and their hats. In the spirit of that, the artist drew oversize hats and then drew full body portraits before using crayon and watercolor to finish the piece.
Our Third grade artists learned about composition when creating their winter silhouettes. They created a water color wash for their background using a variety of colors. They divided their paper into thirds to create a foreground, mid ground and back ground. They created silhouettes of winter trees, fences, horizon lines and shadows using black paint. Their proud work was hung in the Stoughton Superintendents conference room.
Our older grades learned about Brazilian artist Romero Britto and loved his use of vibrant color and bold patterns. They created their own Britto style hearts using a variety of mediums.
Fifth grade also started working on "I am" posters. For this project, the artists chose 5 adjectives that they feel describes who they are and will be creating whimsical lines and fonts in black crayon and then choose a variety of watercolors to paint creating a wax resist painting. Fifth grade will be starting 3D portraits next.
After the holiday season is over and we start a new year, our artists focus on another New Year... The Chinese New Year! It’s a wonderful way to introduce Asian / Eastern Art and also start making connections to art history.
In grades K-2 we learn about the customs of the Chinese New Year and also learn about the Chinese Zodiac. 2019 is the year of the Pig . All grade levels love learning what the animal was on the year they were born.
The Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade the students learn about different types of Asian art starting with the sculpture dating back to 150 AD. After looking at many different types of Asian art, we discuss the importance of nature in Asian art. We look at calligraphy as an art form, explore scroll paintings, and also the wood block prints of Hokusai. After the class has learned about the history of Eastern art, they dive right into Asian inspired multi-medium art projects.
The art room has been a flurry of activity this month. The children are full of all the excitement that this holiday season brings. Although we haven’t experienced the white winter scenery just yet, the artists have been creating many winter inspired projects to compensate.
In Kindergarten, the artists are creating snow men and women. We read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. The students are using their cutting skills to cut out a circle and a half circle to create the body and cutting a triangle for the nose and also cutting very long rectangles for arms. They also made decorative scarfs to keep the snow people warm.
First grade and Second grade have been focusing on making secondary colors from primary colors. The First grade made “color birds”. The second grade was inspired to create a giraffe painting after we read Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. The artists sketched a giraffe and then mixed primary colors to make secondary colors to complete their painting. They were so proud of their work!
The Third Grade studied the animals painted by American artist Charley Harper and then created a winter collage. They drew a Charley Harper inspired cardinal on red paper, created birch trees from Let it Snow music sheets. The collage was finished with “snow” paint and fresh tracks from their birds.
The Fourth grade students learned about the whimsical work of Wayne Thiebaud. He was best known for his paintings of cakes and desserts. The artists created cupcakes using oil pastels. They the blended the oil pastels to show value and also used chalk pastels to create highlights and shadows. The outcome was delicious!
Fifth grade learned about Analogous colors (3 colors next to each other on the color wheel). They created “angry monsters” and used analogous colors in their monsters. In the next month, they will create plush creatures inspired by their drawings as they learn some basic sewing stitches.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!
November is always so colorful outside and that color seeps into every corner of the art room.
This month the artists have been creating art based on shape and color.
The Kindergarten artists are beginning to mix their Primary colors (red, blue and yellow) to make secondary colors (green, purple and orange) They created some pumpkins by mixing red and yellow to make orange and blue and yellow to make green. They even highlighted the pumpkins with oil pastels to make them look as if they were waiting to be picked under a full moon! We are also learning about shapes in a new way. Geometric shapes have rules, organic shapes do not. We are having a lot of fun experimenting with those types of shapes in the art room.
The first and second grades are focusing on color as well. They are beginning to explore how colors relate to each other.
First grade created a still life painting of apples that was inspired by artist Paul Cezanne. They looked at how many different colors are actually on an apple. First grade also learned about monochromatic color schemes. We read Why is Blue Dog Blue by George Rodrique and then created a "blue dog" inspired dog by sketching "blue dog" in black and then using a monochromatic color family to finish the piece. The artists had a lot of fun naming their dogs!
Third grade created a Winter Silhouette watercolor painting. We observed and discussed what foreground, middle and background was in various artworks. The artists created these in a watercolor background. They painted silhouettes of trees and fences and then finished with shadows.
Fourth grade made a color wheel eyeball! The artists created a 12 hue color wheel using tempera paint - the tricky part was they only could use primary colors. They enjoyed creating the secondary and tertiary colors. They used construction paper to create a lens shape and added eyelashes. They "look" great!
Fifth grade also made a color wheel building on the color wheel from Forth grade. The fifth grade focused not only on color - but how different types of lines can create movement. We looked at vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines in art and created a rainy day water color background using oil pastels and liquid watercolor. During class each student had a photograph taken holding an umbrella. (It has been a very rainy month.) . The artists cutout the photo and color wheel and affixed those to the background to create a whimsical collage.
Looking forward to watching the next season roll into New England. I am especially excited to watch all of our artists creating art inspired by all of the beauty that winter brings.....
"Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all" -Stanley Horowitz
Autumn is in the air!
There is something so magical about the transformation of the seasons. We have been watching the summer leaves outside our window turn from their summer green to the beautiful colors of fall. Nature and Shape have been a big focus this month.
The younger artists have been learning about artists that were heavily inspired by nature. Those artists include Hundertwasser and his abstract approach to nature and architecture.
The First Grade learned about Georgia O’Keeffe and her style of painting BIG! They created larger than life flowers and used their knowledge of warm and cool color to make the colors pop.
The Second Grade was re-introduced to Paul Klee and his use of shape in his work. We read the book The Cat and the Bird and looked at a variety of his work before creating our own Klee inspired work.
The Third grade focused on the line and color of leaves and created some watercolor paintings using warm and cool colors (very similar to the weather we are having this month!)
The Fourth grade created an underwater adventure while learning about value. They made tints and shades for a background to support their translucent jellyfish families. Keep an eye out for these at the upcoming art show in the spring.
In Fifth grade the focus was on creating different shapes with geometric and organic lines. After a quick rock and mineral study, the artists created their own crystals and geodes with oil pastels and watercolor on watercolor paper and then painted those in warm and cool colors. We made a "soil" background using construction paper and paint.
The classes will continue to use Line and Shape as we begin to focus on our upcoming color wheel projects.
My goodness summer flies by quickly!
I hope you have been enjoying the beautiful weather of New England and beyond. As much as I love spending beach time with my family and friends over the summer months. I really look forward to getting back into the art room and creating some art with the students. I have been getting the room ready to foster a creative and safe environment that students feel free to share their unique style of art with each other.
At the beginning of each school year, I like to share a book that deals with a challenge. This year I choose A Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. It is a wonderful reminder that mistakes happen (especially in the art room ) and how a mistake can be turned into something wonderful. It is a fabulous book to reflect on over the course of the school year.
The focus of the year is teaching children the Elements of Art using a variety of materials. We will be learning about many styles of art and artists as well as art history as it pertains to our projects.
We started the year working on a collaborative art installment that is in process in the art room. After discussing what a line “is” (A dot that just keeps going.)and brainstorming all different types of line, each student decorated a feather using different types of lines. We will be building our "wings" as a community of artists.
The ELEMENTS of ART
Line and Pattern, Shape, Color, Contrast and Emphasis,
Movement and Rhythm, Value, Texture, Balance, Form, Space, Proportion, Unity and Variety.