Friday, November 14, 2014

November 13

It was a messy day in the art room today! The elementary students were introduced to the work of Michelangelo last week, and began the process of making "frescos" minus the plaster. They drew their sketches on large pieces of butcher paper, then began the slow process of perforating their sketch lines with a toothpick.

Next, they used small bags of crushed charcoal to transfer their drawings to the heavier paper that would be our "plaster wall." After transferring the sketch, they painted in their picture.

The seventh and eighth graders have been exploring colored pencil techniques. They learned how to layer and blend colors for a more realistic effect. As we have been doing all year, they practice drawing from real life, so their tables were full of fall leaves!

The TK-1 class spent the first part of the school year learning about color, but today I introduced texture. There's no better way to experience texture then to get your hands on it, so I brought in three different types of play clay for exploration. It's a little hard to grab snapshots when you are wrangling 15 little ones and tables full of art supplies, but I do have links to the recipes I used if you would like to try them at home. 

We played with:

 taste safe cloud dough found here
cornstarch dough similar to the recipe found here
and moon sand made from 4 cups cornmeal, 2 cups corn starch, and 12 tablespoons of vegetable oil

There were popsicle sticks, small cups and lots of texture mats on the table to use with the doughs. Clays, doughs and slimes are great for sensory play, and when combined with tools and loose parts (acorns, small figures, beads, sticks, feathers, etc.), they become tools for fine motor and creative development as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Welcome to Thursday art classes at Vista Oaks! Here you will find information about what we are working on in class, ideas for explorations at home, and links to related material. I design my art classes based on developmental needs with an emphasis on fostering creativity. Occasionally I may have students reproduce an example if I am teaching a particular technique, but usually the students are free to make their own decisions and follow their own muses.

The TK-1 class will spend the year exploring the fundamentals of art. Stories are used to introduce an art concept (the rainbow fairy has become a good friend of ours this year), and an art project is presented showing that concept. How the students interpret that project is completely up to them - I do not require that they copy the example. Many projects are introduced without an example; instead, the students are provided with materials and invited to explore them in the fashion they see fit. My approach to early art education is influenced by the Waldorf and Reggio Emilia approaches.

The elementary classes are learning about the great artists, beginning with the Renaissance, and creating an art project based on some aspect of a particular artist's life or work. We are not copying a particular style, but learning technique or perspective to apply to our own art. For example, when learning about Botticelli, the students created oil pastel drawings in the round because that is a style he often used. For Michelangelo we learned how frescos were made, then prepared our own drawings, perforated them, used ground charcoal to transfer the images and then painted them. At this age I am most concerned with developing creativity and helping each child to see that they are artists with a unique perspective to present to the world.

The middle school students will be spending the majority of the year learning drawing skills. At this age they are ready for more direct instruction on art techniques, and are required to keep a sketchbook. We focus on drawing from life, but we will also explore purely imaginative drawing as well. In the spring the students will put their skills to practical use with printmaking techniques. The students will have instruction in using graphite, charcoals, colored pencils, ink and watercolor.