Friday, March 29, 2013

2nd Grade Connoisseurs, 2013

A Norman Rockwell painting that involves an art expert studying a Jackson Pollock style drip painting at the museum... This is a fantastic lesson that compares and contrasts two famous American artists from the same era, and includes a technology/photography element. What more could my 2nd grade curriculum ask for?
Last year, this was one of my favorite projects and we made real drip paintings (see them here) - this year, we created and printed our digital drip paintings from the website for a modern twist. Action Jackson would not have had that opportunity in his lifetime.
The Connoisseur, Norman Rockwell

Blue Poles, Jackson Pollock

Rockwell in his tidy studio, working at an easel

Pollock in his barn studio, paint cans and sticks everywhere, canvas on the floor
Can you think of two artists that are more different than Norman Rockwell and Jackson Pollock? My 2nd graders are enjoying the styles of both artists, and trying out a little of each. After an informative PowerPoint showcasing both artists, we did discover a few similarities: both were American men born about 100 years ago, both had studios that were originally old barns, and both worked in the New England region of the USA.
Students enjoyed the skilled portraits of Rockwell, and many students shared that they thought his paintings were like scenes from a movie. We attempted a "Triple Self-Portrait," as seen on the iconic magazine cover, with the artist calmly sitting at his easel and studying his own reflection.
Pollock's work was intriguing to the kids, and they were especially excited about the photos of him working in his studio, splashing and dripping across the canvas on the floor in an artistic rhythm. They also liked that they could use their imaginations when looking at his art.
We produced our own versions of "The Connoisseur" by taking photos of each other in thinking poses, and creating backgrounds with collaged papers - I think they are so charming!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Face jugs 2013

Face jugs, a tradition in my 5th grade class every year.  See this post from last year with more info and a link to a great History Detectives clip about the origins of face jugs. Students could build a traditional "ugly" jug, an animal face, or a stylized human face (not so ugly). Both additive and subtractive sculpting methods were used on our clay bodies, made from joined pinch pots. We used Dick Blick glazes - a very affordable option with great results!

ready for first firing - can you see my "Finn" example on top?

new this year, pressing alphabet noodles in to spell names or phrases! love it : )

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

African textile print


For the second project of our African unit, first graders studied the unique woven cloths from this region  - one called Kente, which is woven with colorful threads that create repeating patterns, and Adinkra, which is woven in a solid color and the repeating patterns are stamped on. We used styrofoam plates to create patterns we found in these cloths and printed them using the marker and damp paper technique - thanks to Don at Shine Brite Zamarano for the tip on this fun printing method! As Don mentioned, getting the paper the right dampness is crucial, and I had my best luck lightly spraying with a mister, then taking a large clean paintbrush and sweeping across the paper quickly to even out wet spots. In 45 minutes, we had plenty of time for a class of about 24 to make 3 prints and still clean their plates and hands.
After drying, we chose the best print to add some stitching detail for that textile feel, and the other two we traded with classmates, as if we were in an African village. We looked at many pictures of textile sellers in African markets - such a colorful place! I think the first graders would rank this high on the favorites list, and I must say it is one of the cleaner printmaking techniques, making it a favorite of mine as well. : )
kente examples from

prints drying on the rack
adinkra example from

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Pollution Solution": collage with a message

 This beautiful work of art by Dante Terzigni entitled "Flower Factory" was the inspiration behind our landscape collages with a message. I was first attracted to the image on pinterest, with the lovely brights against the gray values. Second, I appreciated the message of the urban landscape sending beautiful nature forms from their smokestacks instead of smog and pollution. All of these points were in my 4th grade curriculum - showing space using different techniques (value and size changes, overlapping) and expressing personal ideas or social messages through art.
First, we created the stacked urban setting using black and gray papers, stenciling the third row on our white papers using negative space. Next, we used colorful papers and collaged symbols of health and beauty coming from our chimneys. I think they did a fabulous job with their craftsmanship as well as their messages.

stenciling the sky

Friday, March 22, 2013

News of the Week...

Me and Mrs. McCann as Frida and Diego
1. Thank you to all the Dolvin families who contributed to our Teacher Appreciation Week! The breakfast, the Monday luncheon, the flower bouquet and all the treats were so enjoyed.
2. Congratulations to my friend and our music teacher Megan Endicott on the publication of her first book, In the Hall of the Mountain King. It was a great art and music collaboration with her talented sister. See the trailer here and preorder your copy here.

3. Here are some pics from my recent trip to the High Museum, where I saw the Frida & Diego exhibit - wonderful works by this Mexican supercouple of art! I highly recommend the show. A few of Frida's pieces are PG-13, so it's a great chance for parents engage in artistic conversations with your kids. I also met a local artist named Evereman who is a popular participant in Free Art Friday, a movement for artists to share their art in the community, finders keepers! Hoping to work that idea in to my curriculum soon...
4. Reminder to Fifth graders: look for pictures of Renaissance clothing online or on playing cards and be prepared to finish your self-portraits!

Evereman and me making a woodburned "Evereman"

close-up Evereman

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Uglydoll toy design

These cuties were designed after one of my favorite toys out there these days - Uglydolls! Designed by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, the Uglydoll universe is where "ugly" means unique and different, and celebrating who you are inside and out is the new beautiful. We learned that designers are artists who work for companies to help create a product that will be produced and sold.
Kindergarteners had a great time talking about the combined shapes found in the dolls, and how each one is unique. We created multiple sketches and chose the best one for our crayon and tempera resist drawings. Thanks to Art Projects for Kids for the inspiration, and thanks to my kids Kinsey and Mak for letting us borrow your collection!

I snuck my own Buck-tooth Bear into this shot (top right)!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I am a little confused and perplexed by the upcoming demise of Google Reader, so just to be safe I have added the Bloglovin' button on my right sidebar. Keep on reading - lots of good stuff coming up!

Monday, March 18, 2013

African masks, 1st grade

First graders began their African art unit by creating a painted paper mask, which are a tradition in African ceremonies and celebrations. Masks can represent humans or animals and they show a connection to nature. In some cultures, masks are thought to bring special abilities to the wearer. We painted our papers, Eric Carle style with texture and pattern, and shared them with each other to create these colorful masks.