Thursday, March 13, 2014

Louise Nevelson Inspired Fish Assemblage Project

We started a project a couple of weeks ago based on Louise Nevelson's monochromatic assemblages.  Mrs. Luker happened to have a bunch of donated soy milk cartons, which we thought would make a great base for the fish assemblages.  I contacted the owner of 'Ol 42 Grub House to see if it would be possible to exhibit the fish there, and they gave us the green light.

First we took a look at Nevelson's work...




We discussed how these assemblages are made up of many different objects and painted one color, which solidifies all the objects as one cohesive piece and in turn, creating something new.   Because we are creating fish, we thought it would be a good idea to also look at Sandy Skoglund's piece, Revenge of the Goldfish....



We talked about how the fish are all the same color, the background is also one color.  Like Nevelson, Skoglund uses a monochromatic/limited palette.  

We began brainstorming ideas for our carton fish and using cardboard, straws, bottle caps, as well old donated and discarded items to suggest fish parts.  Soon eyes, fins, and tails began to emerge....






The following week, we began painting.  After a short discussion, we decided to divide the kids in half.... some would paint their fish all white, some all black, with 3 students chosen at random painting orange fish as accents.  










I can't wait to see these fish finished and hanging at 'Ol 42 Grub House!  They are really coming along.  
We are also starting our 2 panel fruit and vegetable mosaics, which will be hung in the school cafeteria.   This is a big project and will involve the entire 4th grade class as well as art enrichment students.  See you next week! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our 5th Year!

We have begun our FIFTH year of art enrichment this school year.  Can you believe it?  The first art enrichment participants are now in 8th grade.  Time sure flies!

We started with something called The Hexagon Project.  Unfortunately with all the snow days, I was absent for the first few art enrichment classes as the middle schoolers were finishing up the Darby Creek Mural project.  The Hexagon Project is actually for 5th - 12th graders, but as usual Mrs. Luker and I feel that the 4th graders can rise to the challenge.  We chose the topic inspired by a picture that made the rounds on facebook:  "Qualities Not Measured by Tests".


The resulting works will be displayed in the school as an installation piece.

Students came up with very interesting visual images to go along with their topic...





Our next project will result in an installation in a local restaurant called 'Ol 42 Grub House.  Mrs. Luker was given Almond Milk cartons and we brainstormed possible projects using them.  We came up with an aquarium of fish.... each carton will be transformed by a student into a fish.  We looked at the work of Louise Nevelson and Sandy Skoglund for inspiration.
  



I can't wait to see what the kids come up with for this assemblage project!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Spring Arts Show

A couple of weeks ago, we had our annual Spring Arts Show for third and fourth graders.  (The kindergarten through second grade show was a couple of weeks earlier.)  Art Enrichment student work from both groups was everywhere!  We had our hand and bug prints inside one of the glass cases and our Modigliani pastel drawings on the wall above the case.  Group One's holiday greeting videos were played on a loop on a computer monitor across the hall, along with still shots from the past year in art enrichment and the insect sculptures in the natural world.


As if all of this wasn't enough, Mrs. Luker and I also revealed an 8 panel mural that was installed in the lobby that evening, which featured the paper circles that both groups of Art Enrichment students worked on a in the prior weeks.  


Mrs. Luker and I love how the panels sort of mirror the windows underneath the balcony.  And, the circles sort of seem to look like balloons being released into the sky.  The quote reflects this idea, that life is a journey and students' school lives are a big part of that. 





Watercolor Hands


I can't believe how quickly this year went by!  This is the last project for Group Two of Art Enrichment.  For this project, each student had to draw his or her own non-dominant hand from life on 5" x 5" sheets tracing paper .  They could pose their hand any way they wanted... school friendly, of course.  ;)  We also asked the students to do a color study in marker on the tracing paper, as sort of a way to experiment with color choices and plan ahead for the final piece.





The following week, we transfered the hand drawings to 5" x 5" sheets Aquabord.  The we began painting the boards with watercolor.  As you can see, watercolor on Aquabord is very vivid.  It looks a lot more like acrylic paint than watercolor.  The board allows an artist to apply color much more opaquely, to use more layers of color, and even to remove color... which is something that is difficult if not impossible to do with traditional watercolor paper.  Here are some of the completed watercolors after this week.  


During the last week for this project, we finished working on our hand paintings.  What I loved about this project, was the way that students experimented with a new painting surface. Since most of the students had their boards covered in paint at this point, we encouraged them to try removing paint in places.  I brought some Q-Tips so that they could removed paint strategically.  One student used a bunched up wet paper towel to remove paint, which is something Mrs. Luker and I hadn't even through of!  A couple of other students tried this idea as well, with wonderful results.  

Since we were going to let the students take their hand paintings home at the end of the year, Mrs. Luker and I thought that this project might make a nice print as a group as a permanent piece in the school.  I took a photo of the hands in a vertical format and created a matching border around the group of hands and added a title at the bottom, just like you'd see on a real museum print or poster.  
I was thrilled to present this framed print to the school last week at our end of the year Art Enrichment Party.





Creepy Crawly Critters

Mrs. Luker and I were very pleased with the results of the Creepy Crawly Critter Sculptures.  Each student took their insect concept and brought it to life in three dimensions.  We used recyclable materials such as paper towels and scrap paper wrapped around a wire armature or base.  We then began wrapping the base sculpture in plaster.






We also added other elements such as pipe cleaners for legs.  Once the plaster was dry the following week, we began painting them with vibrant acrylic paints.  




As often happens in artmaking, sometimes the creative process can take a turn or two.  Originally Mrs. Luker and I thought we might make a book out of the resulting sculptures.  The idea was to include all of the insects in a story that built upon one another sort of like the The Napping House by Audrey Wood.  We had a lot of characters for our story, which made creating the storyline a bit of a challenge.    So, we went with another idea.  With spring approaching, we thought it might be interesting to see what these insect sculptures would look like in the natural world.  We picked a nice afternoon to photograph our sculptures outside.  Each student chose a place and setting for his/her insect.  Here is a slideshow of the photographs from that day...


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Creepy Crawly Critter Sculptures

This week, we started a new project which will encompass creating an insect character and sculpting it out of paper mache.  From there, we will write a story about our creepy crawly critters and create a digital slideshow.  First, we talked about how artists interpret insects in nature.

Some artists use actual insects in their art!  Some create sculptures out of found objects.


Student worksheet with a ladybug drawing


After we looked at the slideshow and watched the video of insect possibilities, we can see that possibilities are endless.  Not only are there millions of species to choose from, but Mrs. Luker and I are giving the students artistic license to create an insect that may or may not exist in nature.  Can a beetle have a mohawk?  Why not.  Extra arms and legs?  Go for it!


Student worksheet with an insect with extra legs.














As we create these insects, there are a series of questions to answer on our worksheets.  Besides aesthetic qualities  what kind of personality do you think your insect might have?  Thinking about the personality of the insect might affect how the insect will look.  How can artists convey emotion through aesthetic qualities?  For example, and aggressive or angry spider might have big teeth, big hairy eyebrows and squinting eyes.  Thinking about the personality will also help us to come up with stories about our sculptures for the digital slideshow story.  Next time we'll work on sculpting these insects using newspaper and plaster.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Group 2 Working on Circle Mural

This week, we welcomed Group 2 of this year's Art Enrichment students.  They are continuing with the project started by Group 1, the Quill Paper Circle Mural.

Mrs. Luker demonstrating how to roll the quill paper.

To start a circle, you have to roll the quill paper tightly on a wooden dowel, laying the paper on itself as you go.  Once you get the first stip on, you can add a strip in another color or stay with the same color to make a wider ring of color.  Some of the students liked the process, which does require some patience. We'll work on these some more next week and then move on to a multi-week project where we'll create three-dimensional insects. We hope to take this project further by creating a digital format for these insect sculptures.  Stay tuned!

Quill Paper Circles