Thursday, November 19, 2015

Greek Masks- Finished!

Yes, we have reached the finish line! Today the students put their finishing touches on their Greek theatre inspired masks. A few peeks:

There was a lot of gluing and braiding going on today.

Just a few of the marvelous masks produced by the students!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Art Journal Challenge #5

Today's challenge involves paint, which is always fun! I used watercolors, but tempera, acrylic, or even liquid inks will work. You can make your own watercolors from water and a few drops of food coloring, or try your hand at making natural paints like these.

Okay, let's get started! First, drop a few colors of paint onto a page in your sketchbook or on a piece of paper. Close your sketchbook or fold the paper.

I added a few more drops of paint on top to fill in some blank areas.

Now take a look at your blotches. What do they remind you of? Can you see people or animals? What about trees or flowers? Fill in what you see by drawing in details with a pen or colored pencils.

The blotches reminded me of birds, so I used a combination of both ink and colored pencils to bring them to life. You can add a favorite quote or your feelings about what you saw in the paint spots to your page.

Here are a few quotes for inspiration:
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Greek Theatre Masks Part 2

Things are progressing around here. Today the masks transformed from newspaper to person (or creature, as the case may be) with just a little paint. Okay, maybe lots of paint. (Another good reason to send students in play clothes. Accidents do happen in the art room!)

Next week we will be putting on the finishing touches - hair, hats and/or accessories, since the Greek theatre masks had to completely cover the head of the actor. I am going to try to persuade the students to leave them at school for the spring art show. It may be a tough sell.

We will have one more class in November, then two more in December before break starts on December 14 (yes, a week earlier than the school originally had posted). For this short time we will have a mini-unit inspired by trees and the holiday season. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Greek Theatre Masks, Stage One

It all began with a very non-messy powerpoint lesson about Greek theatre and masks. The students learned that all of the parts in the plays were performed by only three male actors, and that the chorus played many functions - narrators, singers, dancers, and even provided commentary. Of course, all players wore masks made of linen or a mixture of fibers and pulp.

The next part wasn't too bad either - building up noses, eyebrows and more with newspaper and tape:

Then came the paper mache, and the sticky hands. And sticky pencils. And sticky scissors. And sticky tables. But out of all of this stickiness, came these:
Just wait until they paint them next week!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Art Journal Challenge #4

Okay, so you may have done this one in class today, but I think it's really important to recognize the sacrifice of others. Your challenge is to design a holiday card. You can begin in your sketchbook, then if you like it, make a set for giving! Save one and send it to a service member overseas. You can bring  in holiday cards with a thankful note in an open, blank envelope to Rep. McNerney's Antioch office (4703 Lone Tree Way) by Nov. 6, or check out a list of opportunities to support service members at this site.  Record a favorite holiday memory in your sketchbook, or list the activities you would like to do during the holiday season. Sure, go ahead and include Halloween!

Christmas in October

Normally, people do something like this on October 29:
(Pumpkins from last week. Aren't they adorable?)

But we were doing this:

holiday cards for service members! It was quite amusing to see students dressed as rats and video game characters decorating Christmas cards as they listened to holiday music (to bring in a little of that seasonal spirit!)  Look at the huge stack I will be delivering on Monday!

A special thank you to the third/fourth grade class. Their class was shortened due to the costume parade, yet they made more cards per student than any other class! They are an enthusiastic and caring bunch!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Art Journal Challenge #3

We have many objects in our lives that have stories to tell. Maybe it's a teddy bear given by a special relative. Maybe it's a mug purchased during a favorite vacation. Perhaps it's a "lucky" rock that's always brought good fortune. Select a special object this week and draw it using any medium. Then, on the same page, tell us the story behind the object. Here's mine from the vacation we took over fall break:

I'd love to see your special object!

In the Spirit

The older classes finished up their negative space mythical beast drawings today, and I was so caught up with box tops that I forgot to snap some pictures! I did, however, get some shots of the pumpkins the younger classes painted today.

They had such distinct personalities! Next week the students are invited to wear their costumes to school and there will be a costume parade on the blacktop during the last class. We'll have another seasonal art project next week (no paint, so costumes are safe!) and will finish up Greece the following week with paper mache masks. No flour will be used in the mixture so it's safe for those with celiac disease or wheat allergies.

A big thank you to all of the families who sent in box tops! We collected more than I expected for the very first turn-in! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Mythical Beasts and Negative Space

Yes, we are still in Ancient Greece and today we covered a popular subject - mythical creatures! The older students learned about the various types of dragons, creatures and beasts in Greek mythology, while the youngest students were told the story of Perseus' rescue of Andromeda. Being a former ancient history teacher, it's a topic I love, and I have vivid memories of discovering the D'Aulaires' book in the school library and devouring it in fourth grade. It's still my favorite Greek mythology book for children.

I also introduced the concepts of line and negative space. The students began a project combining their own mythical beast with line work in the negative space (pictures next week). The younger students often resisted working with the negative space (a hard visual concept developmentally) and chose to focus on their beast, which is fine. The older students took to the task and will be completing their pictures next week.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pre-Break Wrap Up

Today was our wrap up day for projects. Some of the students were still working on their mosaics, and some worked on an oil pastel guided drawing of a sea creature.

The students used one of my favorite supplies, water soluble oil pastels. Once the pieces were colored, the students used plain water to blend the colors and create a water effect around the creatures. 

The 7-8 class used view finders for their sketchbook warm-up. The frames help the students to focus on details, and draw what they actually see as opposed to their preconceived idea of what the animal should look like. There were some amazing drawings!

I am STILL collecting newspapers and toilet/paper towel rolls for future projects. We will be continuing with ancient Greece for a few more classes, with mythical creatures and Greek theatre masks still to come! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Box Tops!

Our first turn-in is fast approaching, so please collect and send in Box Tops for Education. There are collection boxes in every room. Proceeds will go towards purchasing art supplies and PE equipment for our kids!

Mosaics, Mosaics, Mosaics

We must have gone through at least 30 glue sticks today as the students continued to work on their mosaics.

Most of the younger students were able to complete theirs today, while the older kids are still gluing, gluing, gluing.

The first/second grade class and the third/fourth graders also learned a wee bit about Pythagoras and geometry. The students who finished their mosaics used stencils and pattern blocks to make shape pictures.

Next week will be our last class before the one week break. We'll be wrapping up projects from these first few weeks, but continuing with ancient Greece after the break. Greek theater masks are coming up, and I am in need of copious amounts of newspaper for paper mache masks. If you get the paper, please send old newspapers to class with your child. I'm still collecting paper towel and toilet paper rolls for a future unit on Paul Klee, so keep sending those in, too! Thanks so much!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Art Journal Challenge #2

This week, I want you to look at the world in a different way- literally. Find an old cereal box or another piece of recycled cardboard and cut a small rectangle. Now cut a smaller square or rectangle from the center. Hey, you could even punch a circle, triangle, or any other shape that appeals to you. Here are three that I made:

There are a couple of ways to use your viewfinders. You can hold them up to something in the distance to "frame" a portion of it:

Or you can set it on top or against something to create a "close-up":

Now draw what you see! 

Optional journaling: How did this make you see things differently? Did you notice details you missed before? Did colors look different? Textures? Did it make you draw differently? Don't forget to share your work with me in class! If you bring your work in, I will post it on the blog! You can always email me a picture of it, too.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Art Journal Challenge #1

Are you looking for art "homework" or at least a little sketchbook inspiration? Each week I will be posting an art journal challenge that you can complete at home. It's purely optional, but a lot of fun! You can bring your work to class to share, or have your parents post it on the Vista Oaks Parent's Facebook page. Of course, you can just keep it to yourself; the choice is yours!

This week your challenge is to find something in nature that has changed since the last time you viewed it, OR has a color that appealed to you immediately. Use an old gift card or index card and trace around it in your sketchbook to create a frame. Inside the frame, draw your object with pen. Make a contour drawing, where your eye and pen move at about the same speed. Go slowly, and look more at the object than your paper. Draw what you actually SEE, not the shapes you expect see or associate with that object. You can color your drawing with watercolors (make sure you used waterproof ink first!), colored pencils, crayons - whatever you have available. Here is what I drew in my journal this week:

Last week, these scrub oak acorns were all green. Now the tree was alive with acorns turning yellow. You can see more entries from my art journal on my personal blog.

What did you find to sketch this week?


In class today the students learned about Minoan Crete, and the influence their art had on later Greek art. The students found the sport of bull leaping to be an especially interesting aspect of Minoan culture. You can read more about it here.

We looked at mosaics and the students planned their own versions out of paper.

While this is a two class project, some of my younger students made quite a bit of progress today.

Check back next week to see the finished products!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Finished Greek Pottery

Today was the reveal day! After first sketching their designs on paper, the students used wooden stylists to scratch their designs on their pots.

It's trickier than it looks!

Despite a few frustrations, in the end we had incredibly bright, beautiful "pottery!"

Just a few examples from these amazingly talented kids!  Next week we will tackle Greek mosaics. After our mosaic project, we will be making Greek theatre masks. I am still accepting donations of newspapers for paper mache, so if you have some, please send them in!