Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fourth graders have been working on drawing wooden artist's mannequins. This was a mini unit where we first used our eyes to break down the components of a mannequin's shapes into ovals, trapezoids, circles and squares.  We noticed that anywhere a mannequin moved, i.e. any joint, was represented by a circle of various sizes. We practiced drawing them in different poses.

Mannequin shapes week one.
The following week we discussed  the elements of art, and how line is the most basic element of art. That when lines close a shape is formed and how how shapes are 2-D, and forms are -3D , and that artist's use VALUE ( lightness or darkness of a mark or color) to create form.  We practiced creating form in our drawings of mannequins using only a crayon. The results were very satisfying and every artist was able to leave class feeling a sense of accomplishment.
Here are some student examples from Mrs. Fier's 4th grade:

Using a crayon is surprisingly much easier to shade with than a pencil.  While many kids were skeptical of this lesson at first, they all trusted the process and tried the instructions and I was very proud of them for doing it. Most of them were stepping out of their comfort zones in this lesson and yet at the end of class felt very good about their work.  A personal goal as an art teacher is for me to know kids feel empowered by the lessons I teach and this is one that empowerment was evident.

Our second round of 3rd Grade team hour is extending our lesson of Picasso' one-liners. We read the book Follow the Line and A Line can be.... by Laura Ljunkvist.

Both books are extended one-liners that travel the length of the books.  Each child got their very own mini one liner book. They titled them and their visual adventures began... One child wanted to title her " One Liner Adventure" which was inspiring, so I officially changed the name of the lesson to "Our One-Liner Adventure".   If you haven't seen your child's book do ask them about it. 

The process of creating in one-liner format is a very focussing activity; I am not sure what happens with my brain when I work in  one-liner mode but I do know its challenging, satisfying and getting me to think and create outside my comfort zone.  Kids, without exception seem to really get into it to.  I you want to try this at home keep it simple and make it a game... seems to work best that way.  

A oneliner figure, colored in....

A one liner starting off with an abstract scribble warm- up.... literally taking a line for a walk, 

Second round of Second Grade Team Hour has begun and for this unit we are exploring our worlds as Scientist-Artists, or " Sci-Artists".

We discussed that artists and scientists share many traits:
Artists and scientists both;
  • look carefully at their worlds
  • slow their eyes down to observe details
  • make drawings that inform a viewer
  • use colors that are close to the object
  • often draw objects and details to help them remember what something looks like

For this lesson we first  practiced using a jeweler’s loupe.  A loupe is a small magnifier that one has up close to one’s eye. It takes a bit of time to get the knack of  using a jewelers loupe so we first did that.
Then we gathered leaves, or sticks or other natural items from outdoors, and brought them inside.
We did careful , observational drawings of the items ‘ as is’ and then looking through the magnification of the loupe.  
In science second graders have been working with Deb Landry, a science consultant for the district, on seeds & seed pods and they looked through magnifiers through a kind of microscope that hooked into a computer.  We made the connection to that lesson and next month during the Art Share team hour, we will be looking at the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, who not only looked closely at her world but she also, changed forever how others see the world.

A note about the loupes: Each child used their own loupe and after each class I sterilize the loupes with  lysol wipes.  Kids always are excited by these simple, but very powerful and versatile  magnifiers. If you are curious about them a set of 3 different magnifications ( 2.5 x, 5x and 10 x) go for about $5.00 on Amazon. Kids usually ask me about that, that is why I am including it here.
Looking closely, with a loupe to the artist's right side.

Below is the observation sheet we used to focus our seeing and drawing.

Artist-Scientist Observational Drawings

I looked at ______________________________

  As is:     Magnified:


Magnified ____ x

 I noticed _________________________________________




Sunday, October 11, 2015

Our first art TEAM hour focus was on Pablo Picasso and his one-liner drawings.  If you are at this link you may have already seen my note from the studio on what we learned.  In my " SHELFARI" book list at the bottom of the page is a listing of the fabulous book, Picasso's one-liners which was a huge discovery for me years ago.  Its out of print but worth looking at especially if you are a fan of the whimsy and joy of one-liner drawings.

And here is more information on what we learned and links to Picasso drawing on glass and the THINK DIFFERENT Apple computer ad he was featured in in 1997.

Here is a slide show I created to introduce Pablo Picasso and his one-liners.

Following our work with The Dot, all classes watched the animated version of ISH, also by Peter Reynolds.  It’s the continuation of The Dot.   It takes place a few years after The Dot, and we find the little boy, whose name we find out is Ramon, now has learned to LOVE to draw.  That is until his older brother makes fun of his work and hurts his feelings and makes him sad and mad all at the same time.
We discussed how sometimes we can get so sad that we get mad. A fellow teacher in the room told us that some people call that being " in the purple zone".... sad is blue, and red is mad and put them together you get purple....
But back to the story of Ish the good news is Ramon's sister sees his work differently and  Ramon learns to appreciate his work in a whole new light. I told the students that if I wanted their drawings to look like a photograph I'd give them cameras. We also talked about how all of us are different, have different voices and handwriting, so our art works will all be different. I reminded students of my first studio rule, be safe with our words and actions, " kind words".  Ish is about many things but one is the power of kind words and positive thoughts to ourselves and others.
  • For our mini-lesson I taught kids a new skill, to ‘ air-draw’. Air drawing is a term I came up with years ago, to help kids ' flatten space' and see the lines in an object they are drawing. Artists do this all the time, but I had heard it called " siting the lines", not very fun. Air-drawing is something they can get into. We close one eye, and essentially flatten our depth of field. Kids tried it with one eye and it worked, they realized with two eyes their vision was blurred ( binocular vision).  We discussed why artists need to flatten space. We realized that the world is " 3-D" and paper is flat and thus '2D", and so artists are continually faced with this problem. How do we solve it? We flatten space by tricking our eyes, and ultimately every time we draw we are problem solvers.
  • I recently looked air-drawing up and found there is an iPhone app, that allows you to draw in the air and the marks are recorded on the iPhone. I will need to check that out. .. 
  • But I digress finally back to our lesson, created ishy floral still-lifes, directly in Sharpie, we learned to " oops out'" any supposed mistakes. I helped some kids on this. 
  • The following week we added water color crayons and the results are unique, beautiful, powerful and all different. They truly made me smile. I will be posting a bunch when I get back to school.