Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tots on Tour: Reindeer Collage

When I walked into the East Gallery, I stopped in my tracks and then proceeded with a huge smile today. In all of my years teaching my monthly Tots on Tour class, I've never been in such a gorgeous space! Our normal art room in the Education Center, which is nice, is under renovation/expansion until early 2015. In the interim, I am running classes from other spaces at GFS for a few months. Today, we are in a huge space with leather couches, amazing floors, beautiful murals and surrounded by windows. Breathtaking. 

Tots on Tour is always a fun time. Here are 5 young artists all set to work.  They look like models in their pretty clothing- 2 for Crew Cuts and 3 for Gap Kids :) We had to put aprons on to protect those nice outfits!

I read a story to the group with the best backdrop and demo-ed our mixed media lesson about reindeer.
It was a smaller group today with the first morning session. To be expected with the holidays looming- but we had great conversation about all sorts of things from animals to reindeer and fried zucchini. 
Here is Nina writing her name on her work so nicely. 

Talking to the children, meeting so many neat parents and working with a fantastic group of volunteers makes each month magical. Grounds for Sculpture IS magical. Carrie and I talked about how we have to stop and just be mesmerized sometimes because the grounds have changed so much since we joined the staff. Things are so different but the heart is the same- beating hard and glowing in a way unique just to GFS.

For the project, we created a wet-on- wet watercolor background using my fav liquid watercolors. We added collaged papers into the background and created a reindeer with assorted paper. The paper crimpers munched the legs to give them texture and all pieces were glued down. 

My favorite part of today was actually observing one of the children excitedly take pictures with her camera while on our tour. I thought how awesome her parents were to give her a camera so that she could view the grounds (with which she is very familiar) with a new lens.
Last month as the 5th graders explored GFS with their cameras, I found myself really valuing switching up perspectives and empowering children to adventure and capture their perspective via photography. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Grade 3: Leaves, Lines and Repetition

I love this lesson as it touches on many subjects that I enjoy (fall leaf colors, repetition, warm/cool colors and resist). Last year, we worked smaller- on 9x12 horizontal paper. This year, I bumped the size up to 10x16 and we created a vertical composition that had between 3-6 leaves. 

 We discussed warm/cool colors, line, repetition, contour lines and fall leaf colors for this project that couples oil pastel and watercolor. Originally, the cool colors were to be in the background and the leaves were to be painted in fall/warm colors. Last year, I was quite impressed that my students asked to use their artistic license and deviate away from this plan. I had just designed this lesson and was curious as to how it could change into a better lesson.

 I had a boy walk up to me with a straight face and say "Mrs. Johnson, I feel that I need to use just a touch of warm colors in my background. I think that it will make the painting look better..." This year, I mentioned to students to use the colors that they felt were best at the right time but to utilize cool colors as much as they were inspired to. Some students even added in black with great success. They excitedly asked my opinion of their use of color. I love discussing art with children in a way where it's a consultation and they know that their opinion about their art matters the most. So, taking risks, and use of artistic license is what they did and I am, yet again, quite pleased with the results.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Grade 2: Architectural Prints- Skyline Reflections

Here is a project that we completed quite some time ago that was a ton of fun. 

We read one my favorite stories 'Iggy Peck, Architect" and then explored drawing and making prints of simple city skylines that we created on styrofoam.

I modified this lesson based on one by an Art Teacher named Mrs. Hare who teaches older students. We painted our backgrounds with watercolor and discussed warm and cool color schemes. While the backgrounds were drying, students worked on drawing their cities being sure to cram the buildings in close to each other with as few gaps as possible. 
Demonstrating using the brayers was fun and each table had their own set-up to make the printmaking process a comfortable one with little waiting. 

Sleeves up!! My second graders thoroughly enjoyed inking, pressing and pulling their prints. They flipped their design upside down and pulled a second print to create the reflection on the cool colored portion. 

Grade 5: Red Clay Spoons

Discussing functional art and texture, my 5th graders made these cool looking spoons today using red clay.
I love hand-building in clay because it serves as a reminder of just how powerful our hands are as a tool. 

I began the demo by showing the students how to create the bowl of the spoon and techniques for shaping/smoothing the inside. This was the most challenging part and I was interested to see how each student made this part their own. Next was creating and properly securing the handle which had to have a texture on it. It was neat seeing how my students created such unique spoon handles and added some really awesome characteristics to the handle and positioning of it. We poked a hole at the top of the spoon handle so that we can add a pretty ribbon to them when complete. 

Next week we will explore some beautiful glazes that I've been waiting to pull of the shelf.
Fun Day!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Grade 5: Op Art

After working so hard on their candy paintings, my 5th graders needed a project that was far less labor intensive. They worked SO hard on the candy paintings that this simple (in comparison) Op (tical) Art project was relaxingly perfect and they loved making these illusions. 
After viewing, dissecting and discussing the work of Bridget Riley... and then giggling at my reaction as my eyes had a hard time adjusting to some of the Op Art images we viewed on the Smart Board, we jumped right in. The task: to use the Element of Art: LINE to create dimension.
Here is the display heading towards the 5th grade hallway. 

Once complete, my students began to create their own Op Art design or tried to recreate one that they found on the iPads.


I hope you enjoyed viewing these as much as we had fun making them!

Grade 1: Pinch Pots

Every year in first grade we create a simple pinch pot. Sometimes I couple the lesson with a holiday (Diyas from India or other types of candle holders) and sometimes I make the lesson part of a larger clay unit. Whichever direction we go, this is a project and experience that I cherish as much as my first graders do. Symbolically, teaching my students how to create a pinch pot reminds me of the journey of art-making that we will go on together for hopefully 5 full years.
Using their hands a primary tool, they shape and smooth the clay into a functional container. Motherhood has influenced so much of who I am as an art educator and on this project, I purposely do not require my students to smooth out the ridges where their fingers pressed and shaped the clay. I view these marks as adding character and creating a statement of "the beginning" and youth. As a mom, those little fingers grooves are so special and I prefer them to a perfectly smoothed pot.
If you are interested, feel free to look at previous posts about pinch pots. For this years post, I would like to share just two photographs. My hand underneath those of a student named Anna who is holding three pinch pots. Our hands together represent my influence and support in the art room. The other is just a photo of a few pinch pots.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

As I reflect on my blessings, being an art teacher is high up on my list. I feel so fortunate to be a part of a wonderful school community that has incredible people (students, staff, PTO and families alike) to make each day uniquely special. In the art room, we are excited and busy exploring art making together. It's the greatest thing in the world. We challenge each other to think about things differently while learning about each other. I absolutely adore my students and am thankful to have such great ones. 
Anime style turkey drawn at home by Sylvia, Grade 5

I hope that you all have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday- see you next week!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Exploring Grounds for Sculpture

George Segal's "Depression Breadline" continues to be one of my favorite sculptures (on a long list) at Grounds for Sculpture. The depiction of the five men standing in line conveys the era so well. Our mood this week while visiting GFS was quite to opposite. My Art Enrichment students, who just visited GFS last year, were as happy as can be exploring the Grounds once again,,,this time with a different lens.
Here are the girls in the Johnson/Kopcow Fantastic Five group interacting with Segal's sculpture. 
This sculpture has changed little since I met it 14 years ago (a bit more oxidation) but each year as my students line up and pose with this sculpture I feel as though I am seeing it for the very first time along with them.
 Segal conveys the mood so well in bronze capturing the heaviness and sadness in their clothing and faces. The brick wall and closed door rounds out the mood of the installation.

 My artsy explorers amazed me during the trip figuring out some neat angles and perspectives in their photography. 
What I love so much about GFS is how the landscape is just as intriguing as the actual sculpture.

For the Tuesday trip, the weather allowed for short sleeves. The day felt more magical because of the weather. Later in the week, the temperature was quite chilly but we were warm in spirit and didn't feel the cold in the least bit.

A special surprise for my students was a private tour of Gyuri Hollosy's studio. He is a lovely, incredibly talented man that I have met a few times. I taught his talented daughter for an honors class in middle school. She is a chip off the block... intelligent, skilled and personable.

This tour was a true gift from a friend and Bear Tavern parent who is a phenonmenal Sculptor as well, Rory Mahon. 
We toured Hollosy's studio intrigued by his works -in- progress, collection of amazing sculptures, paintings and drawings. It was the kind of space that you could sit in and do nothing but stare around at the wonders of the inspiring space.
After autographs and pictures of Hollosy, my students and his ox "Augie" or "ArtToro", we wandered off better, more inspired people.

Grade 5: Finished Candy Paintings

It has been a truly Sweet Year and these candy paintings make the hallway at Bear Tavern all the more colorful and sweet. 
Earlier this month, I blogged about the candy paintings that my 5th graders were starting and the similar lesson that I taught during Art in the Park over the summer. Read more in the original post Click Here

Here are the delicious results that I hung in the hallway yesterday, Can you recognize the assorted wrappers?

Nice job Fifth Graders!