Wednesday, December 15, 2010


What a fun day, and a great way to wrap up before our 2 week break! In ATCs, kids did student-choice cards and then spent quite a bit of time trading at the end of class.
In Explorations in Art, we spent some time talking about the qualities of abstract painting and sculpture. We toured the gallery and discussed works by some very famous artists. 
Some of the artists featured this week were Marc Chagall, Constantin Brancusi, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso . . . 
. . . Paul Klee, Elaine Marie de Kooning, Henri Matisse, and John Marin.
Afterward, students created gorgeous abstract mixed media works using watercolor and Sharpee markers. Anyone who had trouble getting their "Abstract Groove" on was encouraged to use their non-dominant hand--always a great way to loosen up!
In Ceramics I and II we spent the entire class time applying glaze to our bisque fired works. The goal was to have everything glazed prior to our winter break, but we just didn't have enough time. 
We'll spend another class period in January just doing glazing. So, kids, if you have any ceramics at home that you still want to glaze, bring them in after break!
As always, we listened to some wonderful music all throughout class. Many kids were especially taken with a particular group, Mannheim Steamroller. So, if you asked about the music and can't remember the name of the group, there you go! :)
Just a reminder that we'll only have 2 more weeks of school before the end of the semester!
I hope you all enjoy your 2-week break, and return rested and ready to create some more incredible art!
Happy Holidays, Everyone!
See you Next Year!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Murals, Mixed Media Miniatures, and Last Wet Clay Day!

We continued our work with mixed media collage in ATCs, ACEOs, and Art in Miniature this past week. Students created colorful backgrounds, and then attached cutouts from magazines to create fun and whimsical mixed media miniatures . . .
Best Buy by Rylee, Mixed Media Miniature
These were a lot of fun to create, and will be displayed inside student portfolios at the end-of-semester Art Show. Don't miss it!
 More mixed media miniatures!
We continued our tour through Art History and The Gallery when we viewed and discussed the art (and history!) of Murals. Students learned about the various materials used to create murals, beginning in pre-history and continuing through modern times.
Woman Playing the Kithara, c. 40-30 B.C., Roman Mural
Following our discussion and gallery tour, young artists set about making a group mural. While we couldn't do "real" murals, which would require applying our creative talents to the walls of our classroom . . .
Running Horses from Cave of Lascaux 
About 17,000 years old! (France) Mural.
. . . We did the next best thing: Collaborated and worked on a VERY LARGE sheet of paper!
The History of Medicine in Mexico (1953), Mural by Diego Rivera
The "murals" themselves will be displayed in the hallways during the Art Show, but following is a Sneak Peek of what you'll see:
In all Ceramics classes, we wrapped up our production work during "Last Wet Clay Day" this past week. Because we will only have two more "working" classes before the art show, all of the wares need sufficient time to dry and get fired before the end of the semester.
Head from a Chinese Wall Painting, Yuan Dynasty 
(c. 1271-1368) Mural.
Miss Bobbi sent an email to all of the parents, 
but here's another reminder: 
Please bring in all fired works next week! 
We'll be glazing and painting works during the next 2 class periods in preparation for the Art Show.
Primavera di Stabiae, Rome (c. 89 B.C. - 79 A.D.) Mural.
One more reminder: The coming week will be our last week of classes before Winter Break, and we won't return until 2011! Wow, this year has gone by FAST! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Landscape, Still Life, and Collage

To recap what we've been doing the past couple of weeks: The week of Nov. 15th, just before Thanksgiving break, we learned all about Landscapes!
 The one featured above is by Asher Durand, an artist of the Hudson River School (HRS), and is titled Kindred Spirits. This painting paid homage to fellow artist Thomas Cole, and to the poet William Cullen Bryant. We talked about how this particular landscape combines elements of the Clove of the Catskills and also Kaaterskill Falls, becoming an "imaginary" landscape built from real locations.
Henri Rousseau's Landscape with Cattle
We looked at a number of different styles of landscape painting, comparing Durand's, and the HRS's romanticism-inspired works to Rousseau's primitive style . . .
The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh (1889)
. . . and compared these to the post-impressionism work of Vincent van Gogh. We marveled over the impasto of van Gogh's painting, and his use of curvilinear lines.
View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm--The Oxbow (1836) by Thomas Cole
Students learned about the Rule of Thirds, and how it applies to landscape. Then, we took turns pointing out the how this rule was applied in each work of art on display before creating our own landscapes.
Henri Rousseau's Virgin Forest at Sunset (1910)
After returning from Thanksgiving break, we learned about the genre of Still Life, and how this particular type of art allows the artist some flexibility--through arrangement, palette, etc. We talked about how this becomes a good "exercise" for the artist in terms of honing their skills.
Chardin's Still Life: Apples, Pear, and White Mug
We talked about popular themes in still life: fruit, flowers, vases, fabric--basically, things from everyday life.  We also discussed the works with regard to balance and symmetry, light and shadow, realism vs. stylization, warm vs. cool, and so on. 
van Gogh's Irises (1890)
We also discussed how, in a successful composition, the viewer's eye will first "land" somewhere on the painting, then "take off" and travel around a bit, before returning where it initially landed. We took turns talking about how each of us viewed the paintings, and then analyzed why our eyes wanted to go to various places first--what the artist did to manipulate the way we unconsciously view the work.
Cezanne's Still Life (c. 1890-1894)
For instance, Cezanne gives us an island of warm in a sea of cool. All of the wonderful visual texture surrounding the fruit makes our eyes want to look at, or travel around, the rest of the work, but those warm colors force us to come back. Brilliant!

Finally, young artists worked on a still life that was set up in the center of the room. I've said this before but it bears repeating: We have some fantastic artists in our school!

In ATCs, ACEOs, and Art in Miniature, we had a BLAST working on small-scale collage. First, we browsed magazines to find a small picture, or the single element of a picture, then carefully cut it out. Once done, we decided where this element would go on our paper and then carefully drew & colored in the background. Once this was done, our cut-out was glued down to complete the composition. We'll be completing and/or continuing these projects in the coming week, so check back next week for photos!
That's right! Our last wet clay day will be this coming week (December 7th and 8th). Our works will need sufficient time to dry (become "bone dry") before they can be bisque fired. No worries, though, because we'll be super busy finishing works that have already been fired. Some things will require glazing (which means they'll need an additional firing), and some works will be finished in either acrylic paint or wax. Students: Please bring back any works that you would like to finish during the last few weeks of this semester. We'll be doing our "finishing" work on Dec. 14th-15th, and Jan. 4th-5th. 
Remember that WINTER BREAK is Dec. 20th-Jan. 3rd!
The End-of-Semester Art Show is Jan. 11th-12th!