Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Second Graders … or Interior Designers?

After studying Henri Matisse, second grade students tried out interior design as a viable career option. Well, not really. But, they did design their own interior spaces using printmaking and collage. Following a presentation closely looking at Matisse’s interiors, students began tackling this project in many stages. From the wallpaper to the window treatments, every element in the interior space was created with originality and skill. One of my favorite parts of this project is that each room ends up taking on the personality of individual students. Take a tour of each room below. Be sure to take a close look at the windows, specifically the views outdoors.

Imagination and Observation Drawings

I found inspiration for this project on an art education blog, and it really fit in with our third grade curriculum. To begin, I handpicked several everyday objects and put them in a large box. Students selected an object, and initially drew it from observation. Then, after looking at how surreal artists Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte manipulated everyday objects, I asked the third graders to transform their own everyday object using their imaginations. Below are a few examples of their creative minds at work!

Digital Flowers

As the final project of the year in fifth grade, I showed the students some of the basics in Photoshop Elements. We first gathered inspiration from Georgia O’Keefe’s artwork, and applied it to a challenging digital art project. I had students alter a single high-resolution photograph of a flower as their subject. Then, students layered the flower to create an O’Keeffe-like appearance. For a final touch, each fifth grader experimented with a background layer to enhance their flower. This was the first time I tried this project, and I must say, it was a lot of fun!

Artist Posters

Fourth graders ended the year studying artists. Each student chose a random artist out of a hat, and read biographies on the artist with a partner. They explored the artist’s life, childhood, and the style of their work. Then, we learned about posters, and how they excite, inform, and capture our attention. Specifically, we looked at artistic qualities of the poster, and their use of composition, text, and complementary colors. Fourth graders picked from three simple compositions, and created eye-catching posters to feature the artist that they studied. I was amazed at the results of these posters, and I hope you are, too! Below are a few of the many outstanding artist posters.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Henri Matisse!

In second grade, students have been working on a multiple step project inspired by Matisse. While students are not finished yet - I found a really neat interactive learning experience through the Baltimore Museum of Art's website. Check it out:

Observational Band Instruments

Fifth grade art students found inspiration from something very familiar… their band instruments. At our school, all students are required to take band in the fifth grade, so they have all been getting to know their new instruments. In art class, students created observational drawings of their instruments looking closely at small details, highlights, and shadows. As a group, we talked about composition in relation to art, which is very similar to composition in music. Students chose an open or a closed composition to feature their instrument. They also made important decisions regarding the arrangement of their subject to create a visually interesting composition. They drew their final piece in sharpie, and then brought in some color using colored pencils. Well done, fifth grade!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tote Bag Awareness Project

In fourth grade, students took on a project that explored the individual in a different way. This project’s focus is on how students, as individuals, can make a change. I created the Tote Bag Awareness project as a way to show students that art can be a means of communication. No matter how old you are, you can make a change. First, we watched a clip of Planet Earth, and enjoyed the beauty and uniqueness of the deep oceans. Then, I presented a lesson on plastic bags. We discussed: statistics about plastic bags, the Great Eastern Garbage Patch, plastic bag bans, and how to remedy the negative impact of plastic bags. Next, students created a drawing that communicates something about the environment to promote a change. I strongly discouraged students from using words, to highlight the importance of telling a story using pictures. After creating drawings, students transferred their drawings onto soft-kut printmaking blocks. Once the image was transferred, students carefully cut into their drawing, then inked their block, and printed the image.

Initially, students printed on colorful paper to get the feel for this printmaking technique:

The final print was transferred onto a canvas tote bag. The result: students made an artistic statement in their school and in their community. Wherever they go, wherever they shop, whenever they have their tote bag, they will have a piece of art that stands for something that needs addressing in the environment. What a big statement for someone so young!

*Tote bags are NOT washable!

*Tote bags are NOT washable!