Friday, October 31, 2014

day of the dead portraits and what some lazy art teacher wore today.

The 5th graders have been working with shape the past couple of weeks. Last week they focused on creating a symmetrical border design for a portrait and this week they moved on to making shapes look 3d by using curved lines and shading.

The inspiration was an image by a Mexican illustrator that goes by the name Mostacho. It was part of a series of 100 portraits in 2 months that he was working on.

Most of the kids did a nice job with the project. As the week went on last week, I made a couple modifications in materials and size that made the project more manageable. I had the first class construct their character out of cut paper, but that was taking too much time. I also scaled back the size from 12x16" to 10x15". It seems like a small amount, but sometimes those few inches make a big difference in project completion. Their exit slip consisted of 2 questions about their project, plus a paragraph about their character. What was their name? What did they do for work and fun? How would they want to be remembered? Most kids approached this last piece as fiction writing, but there were also a few that wrote about family members that had passed away.

What some lazy art teacher wore on Halloween. This morning the south campus bowed down to Macho Masse in all his misguided glory!

The ensemble- 
mask and belt- amazon, shirt- walmart with felt shapes added by me, cape- our household halloween stash, with red pompoms that I added, tights- amazon, shorts- ladies active wear section at target, boots- I started with an old pair of converse all star low tops and used duck tape and socks to get the desired wrestling boot height.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

an artist answers:)

A couple weeks ago, The 4th graders did a line drawing project that was inspired by the work of James Marshall (aka Dalek). Instead of doing the usual exit slip, I had the kids write a letter to the artist. They needed to use a few of the vocabulary words we were learning about in their letter. I encouraged them to think of a question they would like to ask him and include that in their letter.

When I wrote my post about the project I selected 3 letters to include. I then emailed James the post and he generously took the time to write back to each of the students. Very cool stuff! I then sent his responses to the students' classroom teachers, so they could share them with those students and their classes. 

We have heard back from artists before, but this is the first time individual students have gotten a response from one of them. I look forward to continuing with the letter writing exit slips from time to time, to give students a more personal experience with writing about art.

Below are the letters and James' answers. Thank you, kind sir!

In response to Andre's letter: I have tried to simplify the tools and ideas
to make it easy for people to connect and get involved with the process. Its
important for me in art to show others that art isn't as complicated as they
may think and to encourage everybody to express themselves creatively.
We use house paint tape and paint rollers as the primary tools. We also used
a chalk line to mark our lines before we paint. So we will measure on the
wall and then pop a chalk line from one point to the other and then tape off
that area and paint it. I learned from watching and working with other
artist as I progressed. So in all things being open to learning new ideas
and trying new processes will help strengthen your abilities.. I think it'd
be great if the world had more artist.. So I hope you and many of your
classmates continue to work on art and develop your skills..

In response to Nevaeh's letter : I definitely like to draw for fun and to
explore ideas. Sometimes I will think of something in my mind.. Or see or
hear something that is striking and it makes me want to draw it out and
think of ways to put it together into a painting.

In response to Sofia's letter: I enjoy abstract ideas because they have more
freedom for exploration and interpretation for me. I enjoy ideas of light
and space. Those simple things that strike us in our environment that we
aren't really sure why but they have a profound effect on us. With the mural
in colorado I wanted to capture the idea of the late afternoon sky in
colorado which is full of these pinks and purples. The rays of light
breaking through the clouds and over the tops of the hills. And also to
capture the fading of it from bright to dim as the night sky rises.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

moonlit nights and what some lazy guy wore to art class today.

For the 2nd graders' second project in their shape unit, we focused on identifying and using natural shapes in a drawing. We also took some time to talk about and identify positive and negative shapes in our work, too.

This project was pretty easy to execute and the results are pretty terrific. I found the project on pinterest. No info except for four student examples in a photo. The drawing took us about 40 minutes to do, which left 10 minutes for our exit slips and 10 minutes for choice centers at the end.

The moon shape was made by laying down a circle template and pushing out away from it with the side of our color sticks. I pointed out that the shape was NOT outlined, but showed up because of the difference in light and dark along that edge. This was their first experience with creating implied instead of contour lines.

We then drew out our tree trunks, trying to make them go from thick to thin to make the scene look more 3d. We filled them in with the wide side of the large chisel tip sharpie markers. We then added 10 big branches, then 3 smaller branches, and then one small branch to the drawing. We could also add a few animals (natural shapes) to the scene, as long as they were completely filled in to be consistent with the rest of the drawing.

Since the skull painting project went long last week, the first exit slip questions was to tell me which of these projects showed symmetry and how did they know that was the case. Their second question was to identify the types of shapes they used in their tree drawing.

One of the second graders made a moving monster over at the monster block center at the end of their class! Very cool:)

If you are active online, checking out projects by art ed bloggers around the country, you are probably familiar with the work of Cassie Stephens. She does some amazing work with her kiddos and she makes a whole lot of awesome outfits in her spare (ha!) time. Anywho, she does this "What the Art teacher Wore" series and I thought I might spend a minute here or there sharing what a lazy, yet somewhat creative and silly art teacher wears out here in San Diego. Starting things off is this fab ensemble;)

shorts- Old Navy, glasses- Nike, shirt- Target, gray hair- Mother Nature

Monday, October 27, 2014

skull symmetry.

Last week, I started my shape unit with my second graders and we focused on geometric shapes and symmetry in art.

Before starting, we reviewed how we used line in our previous 2 projects- to make shapes with contour lines and to make patterns.

We started the lesson by looking at some sugar skulls from Day of the Dead celebrations and talked about what the holiday is and how a lot of the skulls have symmetrical designs. I then showed them an illustration by British artist Supermundane and we identified symmetry and geometric shapes in his work.

We drew out our abstract skull designs on watercolor paper together. At each step, students had choices- what geometric shape head, what geo shapes would the eyes and nose be, what patterns would they add to different parts of their design?

We traced all the parts with a black sharpie and then added a couple more patterns with white crayon to create some patterns in white, too.

We painted the drawings with watercolors. I emphasized that they should use a little bit of color and a lot of water to make light colors, so their designs wouldn't get lost under opaque colors.

This project took up the whole hour, so this week, students are completing an exit slip that has them comparing their new project and this one:)