Monday, December 20, 2010

Grandma Moses: An artist for all ages!

All of the seventh grade art classes are working on a group assignment that will result in large-scale landscape paintings inspired by the folk art of famous American painter Mary Anna Robertson Moses.  Born in 1860 in upstate New York,  Mary Anna was the third of ten children .  She lived a good life, surrounded by family and animals on her parent's farm.  Although she worked very hard, she enjoyed using her hands to do everything from making jam, churning butter and making pictures from embroidery yarn.  She married and moved to Virginia where she and her husband had five children and ran their own farm. 
Eventually, her children grew up and Mary's husband passed away.  She realized that she now had enough time in her life to work on her love of making art; she would paint!   Mary was now old, but she was not ready to slow down!  She got her ideas for her paintings from fond childhood memories of the changing seasons and all of the activities that went on at the farm. 
One day a man was traveling through her town and noticed some of Mary's paintings that were on display in the window of the local pharmacy.  He loved the simple subject matter and the use of shape and color in her paintings so he bought them all!  He took Mary's paintings to New York City where he showed them to some friends he had who were important people in the "Art World."  Soon, Anna Mary was known as "Grandma Moses" and she was a popular artist whose work was featured in many art shows.  To meet the demands of collectors, she worked very hard to make as many paintings as possible, even making twenty-six paintings after the age of one hundred! 
Grandma Moses lived to be one hundred and one and her work is still sought after by collectors of folk art paintings.  People appreciate the good times that her work shows and they recognize the special talents of this simple farm wife from upstate New York.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Final worksheet example

This worksheet belongs to Nicole M. and shows all of the thoughtful answers that she gave as she reflected on her artwork.  I require my students to complete final assessments as a way for them to explain their work in greater detail and give evidence of what they've learned beyond the artwork. I am usually surprised to read about the personal meaning behind each picture and I consider these responses carefully in the grading process.

Show me your final four!

Avery did an excellent job with making his personal interests a strong part of his pictures.  I especially love the strong sense of movement that he shows in his second picture of the moment-to- moment motorcycle jump over the road in the desert.  His road trip in picture number three shows unity, which means that all of the parts work together as a whole.  The final picture uses magazine collage and oil pastels to create a pattern.  A pattern is when the artist repeats an object or design in an oganized way. 
It is interesting to note that although the students needed to select only one art principle for each picture, they found that many pictures have more than one art principle used in the composition. 
    Do you see evidence of this in any of Avery's pictures?

Lauren's four pictures are colorful and fun!  The images range from a macaroni dinner, her interest in writing stories about animals, her love of reading and her future plans to visit Paris.  These pictures show the art principles of balance, variety, repetition and unity.  Can you guess which word goes with each picture?

These great pictures belong to Nicole M.  If you would like to see her responses to the questions on the planning worksheet look back a few posts and her worksheet is there.  I am impressed by the details that Nicole was able to fit into these little pictures...equally impressive are the combinations of media!  Check out the close-up of her third picture of an egyptian women in front of a huge pottery jar. Notice the way the collage in the background makes everything really pop!

Pictures showing art principles!

Nicole Q. shows balance in this picture of her favorite meal.

Let's take a closer look at some individual examples of student artwork that show evidence of a strong understanding of the art principles that we learned about.  Each student was required to make four small format pictures, so you are seeing only a sample of their work here.

Maddie P. made this picture about her favorite meal, tacos!  She is showing evidence of the art principle emphasis. In art,  emphasis is the part of the picture where the artist wants the viewer to look.   Here she used magazine collage to create a huge taco while four small guys look at it from the background.   Placing an object right in the center of the picture can be a smart way to create emphasis .  Nicely done, Maddie!

In this picture, Madison Y. is using the art principles of emphasis and repetition.  She made this image in response to the worksheet question that asked about each student's future plans.  She used the graduation cap to symbolize her plans to graduate from college.  She shows evidence of emphasis by making one cap very large and in the middle of the picture.  She uses repetition simply by repeating  a smaller version of the cap many times.  I really like her decision to use tempera paints on the caps and oil pastels for the grass. Good work!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Small Format Assignment

Here is a sample of the planning worksheet that we used to organize our ideas!
 It's second quarter and this is the first lesson that we have completed!  I call this lesson "Working Within a Small Format."  The art assignment is for students to make a series of four small pictures, each only 4 x 6 in size.  For this lesson they learned about important art vocabulary words called the elements and principles of art.   
    The students needed to select four vocabulary words from the list on the back of the worksheet and then demonstrate their understanding of each word by making a picture to illustrate its definition.  The word bank at the bottom of the worksheet asked the students to choose the media that they would create each picture with.  Each media is an art material, and more than one media used together results in a mixed-media work of art! I asked the students to think carefully about how they could combine media to produce different results. 
   Next, everyone drew a rough draft of their four pictures and then used the light table to trace their work onto a white final draft paper.
The light table is a useful tool to save time, but it requires concentration!
Jeremy's work looks awesome with marker outlines!
     Once their final drafts were drawn in pencil, the students moved on to outlining each part with a black sharpie marker. This step was very important because the black outline helped every small detail to really show up !

Selina used oil pastels for her first picture.
    Over the next few class periods, everyone worked hard to add a variety of media to each of their small format pictures.  Some of the media choices included oil pastels, colored pencils, crayons, magazine collage, watercolor paints, and tempera paints.  It was exciting to watch the different ways that each student chose to combine the media to achieve the results that they were looking for!
Caitlyn decided to work on many pictures at once!  Notice the way she is adding collage to her bottom picture.
 Be sure to check back soon to see the end results of this assignment and read about the ways that the students learned about the elements and principles of art!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dan's The Man !

Ok, so some of the boys in my classes can't get away from their love of sports...even for a minute!
Even so, in his picture Dan R. has managed to produce an exceptional picture that meets the criteria for this lesson and stays true to his personal preferences.  I told him that no one would mistake this house for being made by a girl!  It radiates masculinity, but still has a sense of fun.  Check out the basketball guy doing a lay-up with a huge pickle spear!  I also love the orange of the house against the light blue sky; way to create contrast, Dan!

Derrick's Details Rule!

The students didn't have to make a house that was traditional in size or shape.  In fact, some students chose to have some fun distorting the architecture!  In this picture, Derrick has created a house that has so many crazy details that the whole thing looks like it is bursting with movement!  Look closely at the super little drawings of animals and other things that he has added to give the viewer as much to look at as possible. Derrick, you rock!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Erin's House of Weirdness!

Here is an excellent example of an awesome house that was created by Erin P. This picture is very detailed and each room shows something highly unusual and interesting.  I especially appreciate the extra work she did by constructing the stairway.   Look at the amazing variety of colors that she used! This picture is anything but boring!  Way to go, Erin!
A super cool close-up of Erin's work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This is Surreal...

In this image, Thomas combines three magazine pictures with his own drawings to make a thought-provoking image. Is this guy trying to deposit his brain into the jar? Maybe he is trying to suck out the brain that is already in the jar becuase he needs one for himself!
Whatever way you view it, Thomas has made an image that makes people think and that's always a good thing to do when you're making art!
Posted by Picasa

Weird and wacky images...

  Here are some close-ups of some interesting images that Larissa, Adrian and Michaela made!

Crazy lady jack hammers her sandwich!

The "Watch-man" comes downstairs to "Watch" TV!

                           Bulldog trapped in icecream drumsticks!

Michaela adds details...

I really like this picture because you can see this artwork in progress.  At this stage, each of the rooms has an
interesting combination of magazine pictures.  When we cut, arrange and glue magazine pictures together to make art we are creating a collage.  I love to use collage in my pictures because this technique lets you take a break from drawing everything.  You can also see that she is adding details and background color with several different colored pencils.  Fot this assignment, the students were asked to use at least eight different colored pencils to add background color or original drawings to the rooms in their houses.  It looks like Michaela is well on her way to creating a very successful picture!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The giant eye!

Once the sticks were arranged and glued to form the rooms of their houses, the fun really began when they searched for magazine pictures.  I asked everyone to find different pictures that could be glued together in unusual combinations.  Does this picture make you say "Hmmmm...I wonder that's all about?"  If it does, then Felicia did a great job on this part of her work!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Noelle adds more color...

     At this stage in the lesson we can see that Noelle is adding color to each interior by using colored pencils in contrasting colors.  Contrasting colors are like color opposites.  For example, if she had a blue ocean then an orange fish would show up well in the picture.  Some of the magazine pictures were difficult to see, but the addition of contrasting background colors really helped make these pictures show up better.
     To see an example of contrasting colors on a wall in my house you can click on this link:
By the way, have you joined the one little deer blog yet?  If you follow that blog you can show me that you are interested in what I am posting by leaving comments about what you see! Check it out..

Kevin gets to work...

     After being inspired by the art of Surrealism, I decided to teach a mixed-media lesson that required students to show the interior of an imaginary house.  Here we see Kevin H. as he works on the assignment.  The perimeter of the house is formed by arranged craft sticks that are glued onto the paper.  The characters and objects inside the house are magazine pictures that have been carefully cut and arranged within each room.  He is starting to add his own drawings to each area to help complete each section.
    The students were asked to make unusual combinations of parts, similar to the style of Surrealist art.  Lets' see how each student added their own unique ideas to make a house that truly has "Rooms Full  of Imagination."  Catchy title, right?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Everyone has the right to be crazy." ~Salvador Dali

"I am Salvador Dali and I think that Mrs. D. looks amazing in her mustache."

"It's unreal, how surreal,  I feel."~ Mrs. D.
  Ah, yes...  I feel the need to share this photo of me wearing a mustache while I think about the art of Salvador Dali.  Who is he, you ask?  He is a very famous and popular painter that you should know about!  He was part of a group of artists who started an art movement called, "Surrealism".  Surrealism is all about combining things in unusual or thought-provoking ways. 
 Dali was an artist who was interested in creating paintings that showed objects in mysterious, strange and unusual combinations.  His paintings can be difficult to understand because many of his ideas came from his dreams or just popped into his head.  Dali and the other Surrealist painters hoped that their art would make people think in new ways and stir up emotions and feelings.
I hope you are interested in learning more about Surrealism and Dali.  You should check out these cool websites!
(and enter Dali in the search box.)
Then go see : 
A museum in Florida is dedicated to his art.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Grand Display!

This is the showcase upstairs from Room 9.  It is a great venue to display all of the wonderful art that the students create in 7th Grade Visual Arts class because it is in the main hallway across from the office. I have heard several teachers and students complimenting the work.  I like the way that I was able to squeeze in a nice sampling of written work, posters of masterworks, student drawings and student sculptures. The students are very proud of what they accomplished during this lesson and I am confident that they learned many new concepts while having a lot of fun!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What in the World???

What do we have here?  Is it human?  An animal?  Maybe a monster from another planet?
NO!  It's Emma V.'s incredible interpretation of a bull as inspired by Pablo Picasso's famous painting called "Guernica."  Emma isn't afraid to take on a challenge and I was thrilled when she chose to work from this poster which tells the story of some of the terrible things that happened during a war.  Picasso is famous for showing people and animals in a cubist style.  This style distorts the features and changes the placement of the parts of the face. Check the following images to get a better look at the images in the painting and then make comparisons to Emma's sculpture.  I especially like the way that her sculpture uses newspaper on the cone to represent the textures in Picasso's painting.
"I've got a face only a mother could love."

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Old-fashioned Romance?

Here are two more great examples of students who had awesome results thanks to their hard work and planning.
Check out Adrian's cowboy figure...Is it just me or does it look like he might be a little interested in getting to spend some time with Nicole G.'s lovely "Lady in the Pink Dress?"  You go, cowboy!

From Drawings To Sculptures!

Each student took many elements from the poster observation activity to develop an original drawing that I referred to as a "visual map". Each drawing would serve as the plan for their sculpture. Although students were able to have artistic freedom to adjust their plan when it became a sculpture, you should still be able to see a strong relationship between both pieces of art.  It was important that students understand the concept of making art as a process that takes planning, thought and the revision of ideas.  This concept is evident in the circus elephant by Danika, the Native American figure by Daniel R., and Degas' Ballerina by Claudia. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Same inspiration: Different Results!

This is the image that Matthew D. and Kaitlyn T. studied as they completed their observation worksheets at the beginning of the cone figure lesson.  I allowed only one student from each class to work with each poster, so it is interesting to see how each student came away with a different way of combining the elements that they were inspired by from their poster. 
This poster is about the cycle of life and uses symbolism to show the bond between three generations of males in a family.  This image is from a contemporary (living) hispanic artist and was painted with oil paints.
Here are the two- dimensional and three- dimensional interpretations of Kaitlyn's Skeleton figure. 
There are several similarities between her drawing and her sculpture, but you may also notice that she was able to use some artistic freedom by making revisions to the final version of the sculpture.

On the other hand, Matthew D. created an original skeleton with a whole different vibe and personality!  It'd obvious that he is more than pleased with the results of his hard work!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Madison with a new little friend!

   Here is Madison B. shaking hands with an excellent example of a cone figure that has exceeded the standards! Her character is of an old man who we all think looks like a college professor.  She did an amazing job of using the additive method to build out the facial features. Notice the way that the nose is three-dimensional! She thoughtfully added details to give evidence that she has made solid connections to what she observed from the poster she selected.
    Some of these details include the vines she painted on the clothing, the yarn she pulled apart to make his fluffy hair and of course, the neon green glasses she made from pipe cleaners.  Her figure is jointed, so that the arms are moveable thanks to the addition of nails that act as hinges. 

See if you can spot any of the other ways that this figure was inspired by this painting!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Period 2: We're having fun!

Look at this group of happy students!  Katie is showing her cone figure some love and giving the "thumbs up" to the camera, while Brianna's cat cone figure looks on.  Amber, Matthew D. and Anthony get in on the fun by making themselves a part of the background.  The poster that inspired katie's figure is included above. It shows a type of Folk Art called "Nesting Dolls".  These dolls were made in Russia and can be stacked inside each other as they get smaller and smaller.  Can you guess which parts of the nesting dolls inspired her cone sculpture?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Heads, arms and legs, OH MY!

Room 9 looked like an artsy version of Santa's workshop for the next several days as students worked on various body parts.  These mixed-media sculptures developed from the thoughtful application of different fabrics, acrylic paints, and discarded cones from the RI Recycling Center.   
   In these photos, there are works in progress by Noelle and Kaitlyn as well as Elias and Michaela B. Maybe your pieces are there, too!
Try to guess which characters they are making!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's make sculptures!

Here are some photos that document the early stages of an ambitious sculpture project that we are working on.  Students were asked to make careful observations from an art poster of their choice, and then develop a visual plan (a drawing) that featured a combination of several discoveries that they made through their observations and recorded on a worksheet. The drawing was to be of a figure, human or animal, and must include a cone shape for the body.  They would later be asked to translate their two-dimensional drawing into a 3-dimensional "cone figure" sculpture of their character.  This assignment required students to demonstrate a high level of creative problem-solving!

I will explain more details of the lesson plan after these sculptures are finished because it will make more sense to you, my readers, when you can see the students' art and can make connections to the skills I was teaching. In a few posts, you will see some of the amazing drawings, the posters that inspired the students and the resulting sculptures!

The first part of the construction of the sculpture was to form a newspaper head shape.  I demonstrated how to compress the newspaper so that it was as solid as possible.  Each layer had to be held in place with masking tape and then the process was repeated many times until the desired size was achieved.

The next step was to cover all of the newspaper forms with strips of plaster gauze.  Have
you ever had a cast before?  Well, this stuff is exactly like that!  To use it we dipped the strips in a tray of water.  It can be messy, but most of the kids loved working on this step.  It was important to overlap several pieces so that there would be no weak spots once it was dry.
In the picture above, Felicia is working on the head and wings of a bird.  The arms in the background were made by Ashley Z.
Can someone say OMG!  What are we looking at here? Well it's a great pair of bent arms and a man's head made by Kyle O.  Everyone's body parts started to look a little bit creepy at this stage in the studio activity.  I assured the students that it was normal for these parts to look weird and that we would be painting over the plaster to add skin tone and facial features.  In this picuture the hands are made out of a thin cardboard called chipboard.  They will soon be painted to match the rest of the arms, so it will no longer look like the arms are covered with casts.
Some of the students had specific problems that they needed to solve depending on the character that they were making.  Jessica A. was making a horse and she needed to work hard to make the newpaper and plaster take on the shapes that she would need.  In this picture, she has made a set of four legs with hooves and an elongated head with a snout. The facial details such as the ears, eyes and nostrils will be added later with fabric and craft supplies.