Wednesday, December 5, 2012

After a crazy day in the art room....

Sometimes you just gotta laugh!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's time for 'The Art of Ed Blog of the Year' Nominations!

Hey everyone! Follow this link to go and nominate your favorite blog(s) at The Art of Ed! I follow a lot of amazing art teacher blogs (many of which inspired me to start this one!) so I hope they all get the recognition they deserve. Even just the nominations page provides a welath of resources for great blogs to check out!

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Friday, November 9, 2012

What to do with all that leftover candy?

Paint it, of course! I had my more advanced Drawing and Painting students do photrealistic still life paintings of candy and while it proved to be pretty challenging, the kids rose to the occassion. I stressed the importance of keeping things simple in terms of the background because the intricate details of the candy and packaging posed enough of a challenge. They took a few photos of their setups and we worked together to choose the best composition. Here are some of the results...

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

Recently, I asked my middle school classes to choose a scene from a classic fairy tale or book that they wanted to illustrate in a torn paper collage. I first showed them a little slideshow on the history of collage, touching on its roots with Picasso and Braque. Then, I provided them with a long list of stories that I thought might have great scenes to illustrate. The funny thing though with kids in middle school right now is that many of them consider Sponge Bob a classic childrens book... sooo I had to do a little bit of steering in the right direction, but most of them picked up on what I was trying to get them to do. They researched their chosen story and chose a few pictures to work from, selecting certain elements from each to create the perfect scene. Once their pictures were sketched out, they then began the INCREDIBLY long and tedious task of ripping and cutting small pieces from magazines that they collaged in a mosaic fashion to fill in the colors of their images. Did i mention that this took an incredibly long time??!! I would recommend having them use much smaller paper than I did (most of my kids did theirs at around 16"x20"), and perhaps allowing them to work on this project alongside another one so that they can have a break from time to time. The fact that I only see my middle school classes a few days a week was also a hinderance to their progress, so if you meet with yours everyday, you might have better luck with the production time. As always though, the middle school kids continue to surprise me with their work ethic, skill, and creativity!

The Tin Man's heart

Cinderella's Castle (6th Grade!)

Detail of 'Cinderella's Castle'

Alice in Wonderland

The Lion King

Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp version of course...ugh)

Detail of 'Willy Wonka'
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Pencil Transformation

I originally came accross this project in a book that I have called From Ordianry to Extraordinary by Ken Veith.

This book has a bunch of good projects that you dont see all the time, but this project is definitely one of my favorites. I've since seen a few versions of it floating around online. I was actually a little afraid to assign this for awhile thinking that it would be too hard for some of my beginning students, but boy was I wrong! The students moaned and groaned when I introduced the assignment, but they took off running and the end results were spectacular! Students had to choose an object, animal, or person to draw and construct the form completely out of drawn pencils. They could manipulate and distort the pencils as much as they needed to to create the desired shape and they were able to use specific parts of the pencils for different areas. I asked them to color them realistically with colored pencils, but i did allow a few to keep them black and white because they did such an amazing job with the shading. Here are are the finished products....

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Positive Negative Torn Paper Plants

For this project, I asked the students to go out and photograph trees and plants. I stressed the importance of framing the leaves against a blank background (like the sky or a blank wall) so that they could really tell the difference between the positive and negative space. We then tweaked them in Picasa and printed them out as high contrast black and white photos.

Working from the photo of their choice, the students drew the outline of their plants/leaves. They then had to tear black paper into tiny pieces and glue it down to fill in the positive space that makes up their plant. Next, they printed out a few pieces of patterned paper that they then tore to fill in the negative space/background.

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Fun and Games Drawings

I asked my students to bring in small game pieces and toys from home. They arranged a selected few items into a still life. The goal of the project was to do a colored pencil drawing that was photorealistic, paying close attention to lighting, color, and the size of the objects in relation to each other. I think they did a great job!

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Letter/Number Collage

To introducte color mixing, I assigned this project to my high school Drawing and Painting 1 students. I was inspired by this image below that I came accross. It is by the artist Lance Letscher.

So I had the students draw letters and numbers of their choice on pieces of tag board, and I instructed them to use different fonts and play with the sizes and thinckness of the letters/numbers. The number and letter combination doesnt really matter because they will be cutting them out and rearranging them into a jumbled composition anyway, but some might schoose to spell out their name or a favorite quote.

Most students ended up making 3-5 sheets of letters/numbers like the one above.

After the students had their letters drawn, we talked about color schemes and I had them choose the scheme that they wanted to paint their letters in. They could choose complementary, split complementary, analogous, or triadic. I begged them to use good craftsmanshop when cutting out their letters and I stressed the idea of creating a focal point in their finished composition.

Gorgeous abstract compositons!

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Expressionist Sunflowers

The second project that I assigned my middle schoolers was to use oil pastel to create large scale, expressive, drawings of sunflowers. I presented a brief lesson on the appearnce of sunflowers in art history and focused mainly on Van Gogh's expressive use of line, mark making, and color. I had some real sunflowers in the classroom that the students arranged and then photographed as they wished. I encouraged them to create dynamic compositions, make good use of cropping, play with the scale of the flowers, and attempt to create some movement in their pieces. When they were happy with their refernce image, they jumped right in and started drawing their flowers on black paper.

I was really amazed at how some of these turned out! My high schoolers are constantly surprised that these were done by middle schoolers! Pin It

Middle School Mendhi Hands

This was the first project that i did with my middle schoolers this year and it was a great ice breaker! I showed them a brief presentation on mendhi/henna hand designs. I also included information on the meanings of specific symbols so I asked them to trace their hand and then, using colored pencil, fill them with designs and symbols that described/represented them. These small symbolic self portraits got the kids talking to each other and allowed me to learn about a little bit about them during those fisrt few days of school.

When everyone was finished, I arranged all the hands onto a page for each class so that it became the classes' collective self portrait. Pin It

Sharpie Silhouettes

Once they were pretty comfortable with value, my high schoolers moved into working with positive and negative space. The assignemnet was to use a silhouette of themselves, but I find that my students (and most teenagers!) are really averse to drawing themselves. So, I compromised and let some of them choose a silhouette of an animal or other object as the basis for their piece. They had to first draw the silhouette and then they could either fill the inside of it or they could fill all of the negative space around it with doodles, words, and other imagery that related to them.

A lot of the pieces became self portraits in a way (even if it wasn't their silhouette) because most students ended up filling in the space in a sort of 'stream of consciousness' style. These definitely took a little longer than expected but the resluts were definitely worth it!
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Value Ribbon Words

Now, let me first say that I am currently a bit obsessed with Pinterest! Many (ok most) of my projects and assignments are stemming from there as of late. I've always looked online for project ideas, but now to have so many of them in one place? Well, it's almost too much for me to deal with on a daily basis, but I'm trying! I am slowly pinning away and trying to weed out the good from the bad. It doesn't help that I often get distracted and start pinning tons of things that I'd like to eat! Anyway, my point was that yes, I take a lot of my project ideas from there, but I do try to make them my own, and my students always have unique results. I love having such a huge idea bank at my disposal.

After their Value Scales, my high school Drawing and Painting classes did these 'Ribbon Word' Value Drawings...

Pretty much sums up life, doesn't it? Hee hee. These came out better than i could have possibly imagined! Students had to construct their word out of strips of paper 'ribbons' and tape them down onto a piece of scrap paper. They then had to do a drawing of their word 'sculpture' from observation (Some of them ended up taking photos so that we could maintain consistent lighting conditions, etc.) This was a great way to further practice achieveing value with pencil, and the kids had fun doing it. All of them were really pleased with their drawings. Pin It

Value Drawing

This year I am teaching two Drawing and Painting 1 classes and two Drawing and Painting 2 classes. Since I am new to my school ( and the students) I decided to start both classes off with the same projects in an effort to guage where the students are in terms of their skills before deciding which direction I wanted to head in.

I had my students start with a basic value scale in pencil. They had to use the classic method of making 10 boxes and shading them from light to dark to achieve as many shades of grey as they could in between the black and white squares.

To make this project a bit more exciting, I then had them create a stencil that allowed them to cut their chosen shape out of their shaded boxes. They then had to arrange their shapes in a fun composition to display their value scale.

The resulting pieces turned out quite nicely, and took what i feel can be an otherwise boring "warm-up" project and made it a little more fun for the students.

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Better Late Than Never

I'm so happy you've stumbled upon my fledgling blog! I've been meaning to do this for a looong while, but I finally decided to bite the bullet and start writing and posting about the amazing things that go on in my art classroom. 

I am a painter by craft, but I have been teaching art to middle and high school students for the past 10 years. In my spare time, (haha) I am a mom to two crazy kids.This blog is really my attempt at keeping myself, my lesson plans, and my life! organized, but if I can inspire other teachers along the way, even better!

I have looked to the blogs of so many other teachers and artists that diligently post so that others can benefit from the successes and failures in their classrooms. These sites have been immensely helpful to me in terms of finding project ideas, assessment ideas, and in keeping up with trends in art education. I hope that I can do the same for at least a few people by starting this up.

We are already about 9 weeks into the school year down here in Florida so I'm going to do my best to catch up and post what we've already done so far this year. Pin It