APPLE students are learning about artist Alexander Calder. After reading about his toys, circus, mobiles and stabiles in Scholastic Art magazine, students set out to make some of their own Calder-inspired art.
First, students tried their hand at wire animals. In the 1920's, young Alexander Calder was fascinated by the circus. He wanted to recreate the event and made lots of little wire "toys." He would use found objects such as leather, wire, cork, and other materials to make his creations. His toys could even move! Using string and wire, he designed his small sculptures to move with his help, much like a wind up toy.
Students used "found materials" (wire that was given to me after the school was getting a new camera system!) and pipe cleaners to create their animals. Students tried to drawing 'one-line' drawings first (without picking up the pencil) to help come up with the design of the animals. Students also had to decide what features were the most important to include.
Next, students read about his mobiles and stabiles. Alexander's work is kinetic; movement is important in all aspects of his work. Students looked at his work, like the lobster and fish tail mobile, and The Eagle stabile (pictured below). We discussed what it would be like to walk through one of his stabiles. Students also talked about how the viewer is what is moving around, as opposed to the mobile moving in front of the viewer. They then tried their hand at making their own!
My fourth graders are learning about one of my most favorite places, Japan! I took a trip to Tokyo a few years back and was amazed at their culture. I fell in love with their sincerity, their pride, their food, their art, all of it. Take me back, any day!
Thankfully, My students didn't have to hop on a fourteen hour plane ride to travel all the way there. We watched this video on the legend of the koi fish. We talked about legends, symbols, and culture. We looked at pictures and talked about what is similar and different between their culture and ours.
We drew a Koi fish and outlined it with sharpies. We then colored in the fish and the water with washable markers. We took our paintbrushes out and dabbed water onto our colored fish and watched the makers bleed together. We had to do the fish and the water on separate days so our colors wouldn't mix together. We then took markers and crayons to add Contrast to our pictures for a more dramatic effect.
Job well done, Fourth Graders!
First Graders looked at the awesome artist, Jennifer Mercedes. She has lots of amazing paintings, but her giraffes are my favorite. I love that spontaneity of her work, the "mess" and the control. The colors are beautiful and her artwork is so inviting for children and adults. The kids feel a little more at ease drawing something new because their "oops" lines or mistakes are able to be embraced.
Here are a few pictures of her work that we looked at and discussed:
And then they set out to make their own!
Don't these just make you happy?
Every year the local garden club hosts the Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl poster contest. The kids really look forward to it, and they work so hard!! They plan out their composition and draw their poster all on their own. The fourth and fifth graders have REALLY amazed me this year by their hard work! They all look great!
Students in my art class were preparing for Halloween and the changing weather all month long. We created pumpkins, (both real and drawings!), Frankensteins, Apples, Scary cats, and spooky spiders! I LOVE all their fun and creative expressions. It was festive and fun down at the end of our hallway!
Kindergarten: Expressive Pumpkins and Spooky Spiders!
First Grade: Scaredy Cats
These are my favorite of my Halloween projects. They are all so expressive!! The kids do a really great job making them and have so much fun spiking up the hair on the backs!
Second Grade: Starlit Pumpkins
Second Grade students learned how to draw realistic pumpkins and had to blend their primary colors together to paint. They "double dipped" red and yellow to make their orange, their blue and yellow to make their green leaves, and all three primary colors to paint their stem. They then learned about high lights and "moon lights!" They added some highlights on their pumpkins from the light of the moon.
Third Grade Frankensteins
Who can resist these adorable little Frankys ?!
Fourth Grade Van Gogh Pumpkins
Since the fourth graders had just learned about Vincent Van Gogh, they incorporated his swirly skies into their pumpkin paintings. Students learned how to overlap in their drawings, and how to draw from a different perspective. Instead of drawing their pumpkins flat, they were encouraged to show a little bit of the top of their pumpkins and the stems. They painted mixed up their primary colors to paint their pumpkins, and mixed up tints of purple and blue to paint their sky. Once their paint was dry they used oil pastels to add highlights, swirls and birds.
The PTO Fall Carnival is this weekend, and everyone has been busy preparing for it, and the kids are so excited! Every year the homeroom classes participate in a pumpkin decorating contest. I don't have a homeroom, but I asked if the art class could do one. Wouldn't it only be appropriate?! Several of my classes have recently studied Van Gogh, so we decided to paint a starry night. I think they had fun, and I sure did, too!
I quickly sketched out the big spaces onto the pumpkin (The tree, the swirls, moon, city). The kids don't really use acrylic paints in class (they are not washable!) so they were excited to use a different kind of paint. They commented on how much thicker it is. The kids mixed up different shades and tints of blue, and filled in their big spaces. I helped them with the tiny "dashes" to make the night sky. Lastly, Glitter was used to make those stars really shine!
I tried to take a panorama of the pumpkin, but I can never keep that arrow on the line! After glitter was added, I sprayed a clear coat to make it really shiny and to seal the paint.
Fifth Graders have been studying the life and art of Pop Artist Keith Haring. Haring grew up in Pennsylvania and wanted to become an artist. As a child he loved Dr. Suess, drawing cartoons, as well as the graffiti and hip-hop scene. He moved to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming an artist, but was discouraged when he couldn’t afford to get into the museums and art galleries. He thought that everybody should be able to enjoy art.
After riding on the subways for a while, Haring started to notice the blank advertising spots and black spaces that he passed every day. After getting off the train one day, he ran upstairs and bought some chalk and started to draw some of his cartoons. He had to be quick, though! His drawings were simple, but still held a lot of meaning. Some people loved it, and some people thought he was vandalizing property. My fifth graders were all ears, because they too have used sidewalk chalk. So, a discussion ensued about when and where can art take place.
Students discussed his art, including: his use of bright colors, easy to read gestures, lines that showed movement and sound, and his incorporation of universal symbols. We also discussed how his art, and the above techniques were used to send a message and convey a meaning.
Keith Haring soon became a sensation and had his own galleries and was placed in museums. He never forget how he got started, though, and opened up a “Pop Show” to sell his artwork at affordable prices.
He was diagnosed with a disease that not a lot of people knew about during that time. We learned that ignorance = fear. A lot of people were scared of his illness, and therefore would shun him. He used his artwork as a platform to raise awareness for the disease and to spread the idea of love and peace among people.
Students worked in teams to trace a body, paint it, outline it, and cut it out. When students were finished, they played the game “Roll a Haring” to create their own Haring inspired characters.
It doesn't matter what age, students love to talk about Vincent Van Gogh! His vibrant colors and interesting texture always grabs their attention. They can sense the emotion in his work and love to talk about it. They also love the crazy stories about Van Gogh--like cutting his ear off. Most of them have seen a Van Gogh painting outside of my classroom, so its always fun to hear them report about it. And I know they love spotting it.