Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Cupcakes, donuts, cakes...OH MY! The 5th grade clay assignment this year was food. Something delicious - a hearty breakfast or a tasty treat for after dinner? Students have a wide range of tastes and they were able to pull from these to re-create some of their favorites. This year we dove into multiple constructive techniques for hand building with clay. A full class demo included the use of coils, pinch pots and slab construction to make everything from spaghetti to donuts to full size cakes. Students were able to pull from a variety of techniques and tools to try an create a realistic clay version of the actual thing. I wanted them to make food that looked so real it would make everyone that visited the art room hungry.
     Once fired we added acrylic paint to the clay and in some cases Mod Podge was used to create a glossy sheen to greasy burgers and wet frosting. Real packaging as well as sprinkles and cones were incorporated into the final design.


This year we tried a new project with a new technique. Behold the image transfer! There are times in art when a photographic image is the best fit, this is one of those times. To do an image transfer we use a photocopy and a product called gel medium. Gel medium is a product designed for acrylic paint and when added to acrylic paint it mimics the effect of oil paint. However, when used in this process, it locks the photocopy image onto whatever surface it is applied (in this case a piece of wood). We went with the idea of an old "Wanted" poster from the wild west. The process of doing a transfer is unpredictable and you don't always get everything you lay down.  Corners tear, parts of the image rub off...but this renders itself to the weathered look of an old wanted poster....BONUS! Students were photographed, their poses were of their own design along with what they were wanted for. 6th graders have a great sense of humor and it showed on this project. Here are a few of the examples...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In 6th grade we started with Jackson Pollock. Many have seen his paintings and probably thought "I can do that". Well, you're right, but he did it first. We looked at a Jackson Pollock and shared our opinions on his art. Afterwards I showed the students a small clip from the movie Pollock. We watched a scene that unfolded on January 1947. We see Jackson wake up and proceed to his barn/ studio. He paints on large canvases on the floor in this clip. While pausing to decide what and where to paint, a drizzle of paint falls off of his brush and lands in an interesting pattern on the floor. He takes notice...then BAM! Abstract expressionism is born! The clip is inspiring because we get to witness the exact moment of an accidental discovery.
We discuss this in class and prepare our canvas. Once we do actually paint, we use brushes, spoons, squeeze bottles and eye droppers to apply the paint to our paper canvases. We also do this to music just to help inspire the paint lines. Afterwards we add a creative title and our signature. Poems are written to summarize the experience. Here are some examples...

Our first 4th Grade project is called Mystery seeds. It's a large format watercolor painting. The process begins when I hand out seeds that look a little different than ones we are used to. They have various colors and patterns on them. Students are asked to recreate the image underneath a set horizontal line on their paper.

Once the seed is finished in crayon we draw some roots that work towards the line we drew. We take a class and practice watercolor techniques including, crayon resist, wet on dry, wet on wet, dry brush and a cool effect with kosher salt. When we return to the painting I tell the students that I've never seen these seeds before and I have no idea what grows out of them. That becomes the conceptual problem for them to solve. My only criteria is that it must be solid color and the plant must touch the remaining three sides. Once finished we hang them like in the picture above creating a garden. Even though the solutions are all very different, they come together as a unit or garden. Here are some close ups.

Welcome! A new Year and new posts. Well, here's a look at the art room. A few years ago it was painted the bright green to give the feel of a creative space. This is a very active room that can go from neat to controlled chaos. There's really no place I'd rather spend my day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

6th Grade Skeleton

The 6th graders worked with charcoal pencils on brown paper to capture cropped sections of the human skeleton. We worked from an actual skeleton that was posed in the art room. We also had a series of photographic references to pull from. Here are just a few of the many amazing drawings that were completed during this project.

4th Grade Clay Masks

The 4th grade clay project is a lesson in spontaneity. The students are shown are series of tools and techniques for creating texture. The actual mask is created by using a rolled slab formed over various paper armatures. This way eyes, noses and mouths can actually stick out. The masks are then painted with metallic tempera paints to create the illusion of a lost or ancient artifact.