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. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Welcome Autumn!

I try to enjoy as much of the nice autumn weather as I can, because before you know it the leaves will fall and there will be snow on the ground! Why not head outside and take a sketchbook with you to record your observations? Draw anything that you see that is interesting to you! I like to surround myself with nature and take my dogs on hikes through the woods or to the beach.
In this picture Tamari and I are heading off on a trek along a trail at a farm in Johnston, RI.
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Timeline assessment

When students had finished the collages, I asked them to show evidence of their understanding of the art history that I had presented about Louise's life and career.  They re-visited the handouts that I had made for them, where they located important information.
Instead of filling in a worksheet, I decided to ask them to create a visual timeline of the key events in her life. This is a close-up of Ethan's timeline that shows the first half of the artist's life. 

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One last BIG view!

This is as much of the huge bulletin board display as I can fit in one picture.  I am so impressed with the variety of shapes, the use of pencil shading and the creativity that everyone expressed.  I hope that you enjoyed learning about Louise Nevelson and making this amazing group collage.  I had an awesome time sharing my ideas with you and helping to guide you throughout this assignment.

Do you see what I see?

Here is another view from the group display on the bulletin board.  I noticed that there are several really cool shapes in this section. 

Look closely to see if you can find these things:
A star, two lizards, a mask face, a peace sign, a snake's eye, four ringing bells and two spades. 
Let me know if you see something that I missed!

I like the way that Spencer L. used large areas of black around his colored areas.  His art is in the upper left corner and includes the star shape. This was a great way to be original but still meet the requirements for this assignment. Well done!

All about Nevelson!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Group Display: Nevelson Collage

This is a close-up of a five-foot section of my bulletin board that features the work of many students.  Notice how the black paper underneath the artwork adds an interesting amount of negative spaces. 
Keep in mind that all of the black areas are construction paper and all of the colored areas are colored pencils. To complete the assignment, the students learned how to shade with colored pencils to show a range of values from light to dark.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Adding shapes!

Madison B

Alexis C

Here you can see that the students have added a variety of free-form and geometric shapes in each box. Free-form shapes are shapes that are irregular and blob-like.  In other words, you can just make them up!  Geometric shapes are common regular shapes such as circles, squares, triangles and more. 
   I challenged the students to cut negative shapes into some of their solid shapes.  Negative shapes are the shapes formed by the hole that remains after cutting.  Have you ever noticed that a hole is a shape, except it is formed by the space that remains inside the solid?  It's a pretty cool concept and the students enjoyed experimenting with cutting a variety of negative and positive shapes.

Matthew W. works on collage

Here is another great example of the first step where the students divided their papers into five or
more sections using cut paper strips.  This picture shows Matt as he begins to add some geometric
shapes in one of the boxes.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Alexis works on collage

Students worked to divide their papers into five or more "boxes" that were square or rectangle in shape.  We used black construction paper strips of different widths and glued them on with a glue stick.  

Louise Nevelson

This is an assemblage sculpture created by a famous American sculptor named Louise Nevelson.  An assemblage is a sculpture made of arranged parts; it is kind of like a three-dimensional collage.  Nevelson's work has long been a favorite of mine, ever since I was a sculpture major at RIC which was long before I ever thought of being an art teacher!

Louise made her sculptures from recycled wood scraps such as old pieces of discarded furniture.  I thought that it would be interesting and challenging for my students to create a mixed-media paper collage in the style of Louise Nevelson's stacked assemblages.  The students were given art historical background information and various images of Nevelsons's sculptures.  We had a great discussion about her life and her art and then I went over the criteria for the assignment.

Read on to see how this lesson develops!