Thursday, December 19, 2013

Miro Mobiles

I love Joan Miro.  I love his bold black lines and also the surreal and innocent quality of his work.  Miro very much admired the artwork of children and this is reflected in his use of shape and color.  He is said to have believed that all things, even inanimate objects, have a hidden life that is both strange and beautiful.  Perhaps wondering about these hidden worlds gives his work its surreal quality.    

Students visited Miro's world and analyzed his paintings to identify his preferred lines and shapes.  They noticed moons, stars, spirals, hash marks, as well as organic and geometric shapes whose arrangement sometimes suggest figures and animals.    

Students received a Sharpie and a piece of drawing paper to create the symbols and figures for their  mobile.  Here are some of their creations.

They created a lot of designs

When they were done they flipped their papers over to outline and color-fill the back of the page.
I adore this young artist's "Alien Babe" (above) and think Miro would like it too.

When finished students "bubble cut" around their shapes.  Using a hole punch and florist wire the shapes were hung to balance.  More mobiles to come.

Here I found a wonderful resource for all things Miro.  Click on "Play Miro"  for a great kids corner.

Thanks for looking.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fashion Drawing Fifth Grade Love

Fifth grade fashion design drawings.  This work is beginning to amaze me.  Just a few weeks in and I am seeing greater control, imagination and sophistication in the fashion drawings.  

You can tell the earliest works.  The figures look a little stiff and the artists tried hard to avoid drawing hands. But with time and practice the figures look more graceful, and the hands are apparent and begin to overlap the outfits. 

Once they mastered the model, students were encouraged to move away from the body-con look, which we all agreed was a great first step.  They are now striving to design and draw the drape of clothing and are working on adding texture, pattern and detail to their designs.  

One student brought in her collection of  BARBIE clothes for inspiration.  The served as a great jumping off point for inventing new fashion designs.

We are moving away from the standing pose and working on a stronger fashion pose.  Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Peace on Earth

The Lion's Club is very active in our community and supportive of our school.  Each year they solicit contributions to the international peace poster contest and the theme this year is "Our world, our future".  I have mixed feelings about the contest.  I really love the idea and support the cause, but the timing is not great for me.  This is a BIG project in size and in scope.  The theme is abstract and the rules are glue, no words or letters, and sized at least 14 X 20.  I like to provide a lot of latitude to students to develop their ideas in the media they wish, but we are pressed to get work up and running to meet the deadline without adequately covering clean-up procedures in an effective way.  In a's chaotic.
Students are sometimes less than enthusiastic about the contest, so this year I offered it as as a choice secretly hoping that fewer participants would make it more manageable.  To my surprise many students chose the poster option.  It was still chaotic, but gratifying to know that they were fully engaged and following their interests and we had many beautify entries this year.  Students used the contest guidelines as the project criteria to assess their work and students were required to research, develop a draft, complete their poster, and reflect on their work.  I love the interpretations. And, I think, a good time was had by all.

I really love this one...wouldn't it make a fun Christmas Card?

World peace in the belly of a dove.  Wouldn't it be great if the world were all happy faces and rainbows.

And yes, the world needs more cows eating hay bales on rainbows.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Peter Max at the Nassau County Museum

Looking for a great Peter Max Slide Show to share with your students?
Check out my photos taken at the Nassau County Museum in Roselyn, New York.  The museum is the former Frick Mansion and the grounds and sculpture gardens are lovely.

I enjoyed roaming around in the sunshine on an unusually warm and sunny late fall day in the company of my nearest and dearest friend.  Thanks so much to Barb for sharing this treasure with me and to her neighbor, Fran who gifted us with tickets to the show.  Here is my gift to you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pre-K Lions

Pre-K Lions

I love meeting with Pre-K each week, but these kids are little and it's a challenge to find things for the little ones that are within their capabilities and that will maintain their pint size attention span at the same time.  This project is so simple, but it was a bit hit.  Each child was given a sheet of paper with a lion face on it and used their crayons to add the mane.  Look how cute.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Middle School Name Sculptures

These are pretty self-explanatory.  Students, who had practiced expressive lettering styles in a previous lesson, wrote their name on a long piece of paper.  They filled their letters with color and pattern and cut each letter out then flipped the letters over to decorate the other side.  The criteria was to create a sculpture of at least 8 letters, so some students wrote their names 2 times.  Others got creative and added symbols to meet the 8 character criteria.  They were required to use the tape discretely.  The sculptures had to look good from all sides and pass the "shake test"...nothing should come loose when turned over and given a firm shake.  That's sculpture.  Simple yet interesting results building and bending the flat forms into a construction.  Remind me of George Sugarman.

All art is metaphor, if one wants it that way, but then so is any object. To escape from metaphor, artists have often chosen other ways: sheer physical stimulation or the insistence on a system of formal relationships that has meaning in and for itself. Metaphor, stimulation, formal relationships, three ways to meaning. Is it necessary to choose? 
George Sugarman, 1974


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kindergarten Name Design

Here's a little assessment I'm using with my Kindergartners this year.  It's a name design and it will make a sweet addition to their hallway.  The skills I teach and assess in this project are:
  • Holding scissors with fingers in the large hole and thumb on top.
  • Passing scissor do a partner with blades closed in fistwith the point facing down
  • Cutting small squares from a strip using a guideline
  • Cutting small squares from a strip without a guideline
  • Opening and closing a glue bottle
  • Controlling glue bottle to produce a drop of glue

We're also reviewing primary colors and building fine motor skills.  
On day two I'll put out some sequins for students to place between their paper squares.  

These skills seem pretty basic, but believe it or not I've had fourth graders hand me a glue bottle and say it's not working because they hadn't opened it.  Yikes.  Not to mention the strange affinity children sometimes have with copious amounts of glue.  Maybe I need to repeat this lesson with some fourth graders this year?  At any rate these kids know how to open the glue bottle, close it when finished and use a reasonable amount of glue! Yay!

Little bottles for little hands.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Falling Leaf Batik

Well, I guess we've seen the last of the falling leaves around here, but leaves are still blowing and falling around the art room as third graders are finishing up their falling leave batiks. There is a lot of info out on the net about making glue batiks and I wanted to try one after seeing this this on Spoonful.  Last year this same class did a Blowing Leaf Watercolor Lesson that works up in a similar way.  My batik method is a little different than what I see others doing so I'm sharing it with you today, because it makes managing the materials very easy.

To start your batik cut your fabric to size...I used old white cotton sheeting that I had on hand.  I found my fabric up in the attic and it had some odd marks on it even after washing because it had been up there for quite a while.  The fabric doesn't have to be pristine because it's going to be painted so old sheeting works well for this you can source this at tag or second hand shops if you don't have an attic like I do.  Cut your fabric to size if you're particular.  If you're always feeling rushed to get things done then make a little snip and tear your fabric to size.  Pull away any loose strings and you'll have a soft frayed edge.

The secret to our success with this project is freezer paper.  Notice the package says plastic coated.

Cut the freezer paper to the size of your fabric.  The paper has a smooth papery side and a shiny waxy side and that's the trick.  Students design with Sharpie pens on the papery side.  For this project students drew a set of leaf templates that they arranged onto the paper and traced with the pens.  If you don't have falling leaves you can print and cut out or trace mine.  Or make whatever design you like.

Step three:  Place the waxy side of the freezer paper against the fabric and iron the two together.  The paper will stick to the fabric and the Sharpie lines will show through as you can see in the picture below.

 I use the little bottles of Elemer's glue in my classes.  Yes, they need to be refilled more frequently, but they seem more manageable for little hands and don't seem to clog as easily.  Trace over your lines with glue and let dry.  You can easily manage the project because the paper is adhered below.

You can also use Elmer's blue gel glue, but it's more expensive.  I'm using all purpose, because it's what I have on hand.  A word of note.  Have the children practice making a glue line on paper before moving their fabric.  Show them how to hold the nozzle on the fabric to get a controlled line, otherwise they may be tempted to lift the bottle up and drip the glue down which could spoil their lines.

We used warm and cool colors to work up our designs and a great occasion to review color families as well as positive and negative shapes.  We used watered down acrylic paints on these.  Make them very watery they should spread when touched to the fabric.  Paint the leaves and set aside to dry.

 Provide a selection of cool colors and paint in the negative spaces and set aside.  After the paint has dried, peel off the freezer paper, soak in warm water to wash out the glue and reaveal the beautiful white outlining. We haven't washed ours yet, but I'll post the final result when I return to school after the weekend.