Saturday, April 28, 2012

Art Room Posters

One of my favorite things in the art room is this poster that I made earlier in the year. It reads: "Are your words True? Kind? Necessary?"
I am glad to report that I do not have to refer to it frequently but on the days where a student says to me with hurt feelings "Mrs. Johnson, so and so said such and such" I can refer to the poster with "so and so" and they realize quickly and easily that they did not choose the best words. An apology to the student with hurt feelings follows.

I have noticed students really looking at and thinking about the words on this poster throughout the year. What posters or sayings do you have in your art room that you feel are particularly helpful and meaningful?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grade 5: Slimy Start to the Day

I was mixing art paste (slime) before 8 am this morning so that my 5th grade art enrichment kids could create their vase structures today. Next week will be more of the same. What was neat is the fact that we are using plaster in 5th grade classes so the Art Enrichment kids could feel the incredible difference in the two materials.
They had a lot of fun working with the incredible wet material that is harder to control than plaster. 

The final product is a paper vase made out of colored magazine strips that the kids folded prior to the art pasting.
Art paste is a great material compared to traditional paper mache BUT it takes a few days to dry compared to plaster which is 6-24 hours. Huge difference in materials. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Grade 1: Blue and White Vases

I guess with it being spring, it's hard not to focus on projects relating to nature: trees, flowers and of course flowers in vases.
Tim and Jaina working hard
I saw a glimpse of a project at my daughter's school that her art teacher Ms. M worked on with students. It was a simple blue vase with flowers. Blue and white pottery is one of my favorite kinds. You should see our dinner plates! Anyway, I decided to teach a lesson incorporating geometric and organic shapes using the iconic blue and white colors. The kids seemed quite interested in hearing how in Ancient Greece the potters added designs to their vases in bands. We talked quite a bit about Contrast in art and why it's important. I also taught the 1st graders how to draw a vase in several ways. They all did an awesome job.
I will take more pictures in the next week and post the progress.
The green paper is for the background which kids divided so that their vases will actually look like they are sitting on a table. We will fill these vases with paper or painted flowers.

Flowers on my bookcase

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grade 3: Pastel Vases

I try not to repeat lessons with much frequency from year to year as there is no need. There are a million and one ways to teach the same concepts and explore materials.
This pastel vase with painted flowers lesson is one that I will never tire of. This is the 2nd spring that we have created these vases and I believe they will be a 3rd grade spring staple. The kids love 'em, I love 'em and families love them as well. I wish I could take credit for designing this lesson but the honor goes to Linda Bradshaw who retired last year from HES.
Chalk pastel blending techniques
We will finish these up next week and I will send them home for kids to give to someone special around Mother's Day.
A finished vase

Finished vase
We took a look at vases sitting on a table by Van Gogh to understand where to begin drawing so that the vase actually sits on the table.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Exhausting but worth it!

Can you believe that we started and finished all SIX of these 8"x10" paintings yesterday at TGG??! I am surprised myself considering that we were working on individual projects at the same time. 

These paintings were collaboratively completed by my 1st through 5th graders (all hands on deck) and will be framed and given to the six 2011-2012 HVRSD Teacher of the Year recipients. Each year a teacher is selected from each school in our district. 
The paintings will be given out on Monday, April 16th at a small reception being held for the recipients at Toll Gate. 
I chose the tree as the theme for these paintings because each recipient has shown characteristics that trees possess.... strong, unique, important for our environment & beautiful.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th paintings from the left were made using the kids fingerprints.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Falling in love, again.

I have never considered myself to be a gushy person and definitely not a groupie but in the past 2 years, I have been both. In the past few years, I have developed a strong inclination for art with recyclables...reusing materials in a creative way (thus the Bear Tavern bottle cap mural). The plastic bottle caps was timed well with my viewing and falling in love with 'Up the Decibel' by Sculptor Katie Truk who I stalked, admired and became a groupie of. She uses pantyhose and wire to create the most amazing abstract sculptures that are so strong yet delicate. Timing was perfect, it was destined and Katie came to Bear Tavern to present a workshop to my 5th grade Art Enrichment students in early 2011 and then exhibited her work alongside theirs in an art show hosted at RiverStone.

Chakaia Booker is another Sculptor that I really admire. She sculpts with tires. Have you ever tried to shred or even cut a tire? It is extremely difficult and dangerous if the proper protective equipment is not worn. 
Her sculptures are incredible. Again, I love the creative way of reusing a material that so easily pollutes our environment but in a unique way that sends a message. Love the uniform color of the tires as well.

Now, for the newbie. Brittany Watkins. Whoa! I don't know much about her but looking to find out more. She is a recent graduate of Montana State University and is displaying a piece at Grounds for Sculpture. Last night, I attended a Focus Group meeting at the Grounds to discuss strategic planning for the education department. I had viewed her untitled piece prior but during museum hours when the building was busy. 
Last night, I was the only one on the first floor of the Domestic Arts Building at 8:30 pm, on a day the entire grounds are closed. 
I was able to really inspect the sculpture without feeling odd. Basically, Watkins collected and melted hundreds of white plastic bags to a point where they are connected, layered and take on a fabric look. Honestly, at first look, I thought I was viewing a beautiful white comforter that could be sold at Anthropologie. 
The way that Watkins has molded the bags together is so unique. There are lace-like holes in many spaces where the heat melted through. These simple, white plastic bags are altered just enough that the everyday item becomes nothing less than beautiful.
The sculpture, which is really in the category of Installation Art, is not one to miss if you appreciate the use of recyclables. 

All three of these women have been a huge influence on me...and actually, make it four because I can't forget Installation Artist Tara Donovan who inspired a fun sculpture experience for my 2nd graders this year. 
Each uses everyday objects in a way that forces us to respect the materials in a way that is had to conceive. Tires, throwaway bags and pantyhose....Styrofoam cups. 

Tara Donovan: Installation Art

I am in love with the ideas these women have and how they piece together a single material in a way that brings attention to the environment, social issues and our everyday lives. Each sculpture portrays how delicate yet strong female artists are. 

In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.

Update: 4/4/2012  I went back to GFS today to visit a few friends and bring my son over to say hello and looked at 'Untitled' by Brittany Watkins again. The day prior, I was testing out melting white plastic bags with an iron to see how quickly the process worked. I had to place a thin barrier in between the iron and the plastic to protect my iron but even so, the bags took some time to melt together. Looking, again, at Watkins' piece, I was struck by how seamless the plastic looks and how the plastic took on more of a tissue paper look hanging there on display. 
I understand that not every viewer is as taken with this untitled piece but the more I dig and find out about the process, the more intrigued I am. Still in love.