Monday, January 8, 2018

Stunning Fifth Grade Paper Circuits!

Blink, blink!

Fifth grade students in Mr. Style's class are finishing up a project on paper circuits. 

These artists began by making a sculpture or painting on cardboard, keeping in mind the plan that one or two areas of the image would be illuminated.

Theme was wide open, although children love the seasons and many were wintery or tied to holiday-inspired.
This student selected RGB LEDs, which change color when they are on
The students used LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), copper tape, and a button cell battery to create parallel and simple circuits. Students learned to solder to make permanent connections between the components.

Students used cardboard and making tape to make pressure switches, so that they lights would be on when a cardboard button is pressed, and would turn off when the button is released. This is achieved because the pressure closes the circuit when a piece of copper tape makes contact with the battery. The button for the switch could be any part of the picture; below the lollipop is pressed to light up the gingerbread man's buttons.

These artworks will be on display at our February 15 Arts Night for grades 3-5. Don't miss it!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Papier-Mâché Birds

Third and fourth mixed-grade classrooms have just finished making sculptures of birds.

Students looked at examples of work and discussed how sculptors use a mix of visual and tactile textures with different media to create their finished work.

Using newsprint, wire, and masking tape, students created armatures.  Some students added beaks and wings with cardboard.

Students brainstormed bird species, and chose the type of bird that was of interest to them to sculpt.

Some students took a creative, imaginary direction (like the skier above), while others chose to reference source materials and Audobon paintings.

Artists chose to have their birds variously on pedestals, in nests, or hung from wire in flight.

Students who created pedestals used a drill to create holes in which the wire legs were installed.

Some students used the pedestals as a true setting for their birds, turning them into grassy fields, snow covered peaks, or sparkling icy glaciers.

Perhaps it's the time of year, but penguins were enormously popular!

These birds will be on display at EES at our upcoming February 15th Fine Arts Night! Don't miss it!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Embroidered Pillows

Students have loved this embroidering and sewing project. They are so proud of their work!

This project began with students embroidering a design on fabric using large, blunt needles and embroidery floss.
Photo credit: Fritz Senftleber  
Gratefully, the art room proudly owns a whole class set of embroidery hoops now. Students could choose any design that appealed to them, and sketched it on the back of the fabric. 

Sewing has to be about the most therapeutic thing in the art room. It is like a form a meditation. Students become so immersed in the stitching, and really have to give it all of their attention, and the room just quiets naturally.
Photo credit: Fritz Senftleber 
It also brings students an huge sense of accomplishment that they have finished making a tangible, usable object for their homes.
Photo credit: Fritz Senftleber  
Some students even brought in sewing projects they are working on at home, and many students spoke about the members of their family who sew. Several students identified how the skills learned in sewing something like a pillow would be useful to know in practical matters like fixing clothes.

After the embroidery was finished, the fabric was pinned inside out and two edges were sewn with a running stitch.
Photo credit: Fritz Senftleber  
The fabric was flipped right side out, stuffed with pillow fluff, and pinned again so that students could finish the side with a whip stitch.

 Adding buttons, bows, or both was optional. Some artists pulled the buttons tightly to tuft their pillows.

These second grade artists really amazed me. Handstitching is no easy task to master, and necessary to learn before graduating to a sewing machine. Even with a sewing machine there are times things must be handstitched. Learning knots to secure thread to the fabric and to do a basic running stitch are the first steps!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Drawing Abstract Forms

Fifth grade students have created drawings inspired by two artists, Filipino painter Hernando Ruiz Ocampo (1911-1978) and contemporary American painter Adam Daily.

Ocampo described his art as an investigation of flora and fauna in "abstract compositions of biological forms that seemed to oscillate, quiver, inflame and multiply." (Wikipedia) Students noticed how his paintings had depth, and that the images felt like spaces which could be entered, despite the lack of "real" visual anchors in the abstract compositions. His bold colors, illumination of the spaces, and organic shapes inspired many students. 

Beefsteak, 1953, Hernando R. Ocampo
Students were also introduced to the dizzying abstract work of Adam Daily, to whom they also wrote questions about his work. That is an enormous plus of studying contemporary artists, we can write them a letter and they may just answer us!  Mr. Daily did write back, and his replies did not disappoint.

M3, 2013, Adam Daily
Here are the questions that students asked, and Mr. Daily's responses:

1. "What inspires you?"
My work is not inspired by a specific outside influence. I have come to my current work through experimentation in my studio, particularly drawing. I find that time spent without a clear end goal or objective can lead to creative discoveries that build into a body of work.

2."Why are the shapes rigid with hard edges?"
The shapes that I use all fit on the same grid. I create a library of shapes in isometric perspective that can be moved in space and still align with other shapes in the same space. This rigid hard edged structure comes from the necessity of having a modular form.

3."Why do you choose such bright colors?"
I love exploring pigment and color. Some of my earliest experiences in art were getting lost in the art supply store and buying colors with no particular plan for what to do with them.  My current paintings allow me to use this color in its fullest without dilution or reduction of intensity. I want to show how powerful color can be and show its interactions.

4."Is your work violent in some way? It seems sort of crazy, or aggressive."
This is a very observant question; I do not intend to make violent work. I am a passivest and opposed to violence. However, my compositions are intended to control and exert force upon the viewer, to make them see what I see, this is perhaps a violent act. This is the reason why there are no empty spaces. Once the viewer has entered the space I do not want to let them out. The space is intended to be both shallow and deep, open and closed, energetic and fixed. There are many interesting interactions of color and form to be found if you look but there is no place where you can rest. Everything is figure and everything is ground, there is no on or off.

5."Do you copyright your artwork?"
No I do not. My work is all hand made. It cannot be reproduced accurately with digital methods.

Armed with so much information on visual, abstract, three-dimensional forms and spaces, students began to make work of their own. Instead of making shapes, they created forms, and the forms were lighted with a specific directional source of the student's choosing to create convincing dimension.

The results are varied and fantastic. Some students found themselves more attracted to the organic forms of Ocampo's style, and others found inspiration in the more severe geometric shapes of Daily. 

Many of the works students created embodied the frenzied movement and vibrations of the inspiration artists, while others has a quieter and weightier presence.

Work will be on display in our upcoming winter art night! 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stained Glass-inspired Watercolor Paintings

Third and fourth mixed-grade homerooms looked at the art of Louis Comfort Tiffany, an artist known best for his work in stained glass, especially his lamps.

Tiffany loved the lower quality of glass from the bottling industry, full of bubbles and impurities.

These impurities led to a naturalism in his stained glass, full of more varied shades and tints.

One major focus of this project inspired by Tiffany's stained glass was to create a variety of tints and shades of at least one color.

Artists began with drawing vases of plants and flowers from life, including ones from the EES landscape such as ferns and crab apples.

Zooming in or out with hands as view-finders let students explore composition.

After the observations were completed, students added backgrounds and borders before moving into outlining with black glue.

When the glue dries, it leaves a raised surface that acts like a tiny retaining pool for the watercolor as it is applied.

 Some artists applied salt to create the bubbling, speckled effect of the glass.

In addition to traditional watercolors, these artists tried watercolor pencils as well, which are applied like a regular colored pencil then liquified with water on a brush.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Capturing Light on Pumpkins!

The first grade science curriculum’s light unit asks students to evidence their understanding of how to make a shadow, using a light source, object, and surface.  In Art class students are exploring this idea. Last year we painted trees in landscapes in support of showing their science knowledge.
We began by looking at objects under a flashlight. Artists noted how shadows always fall opposite the light source. After identifying that the things needed to create shadows, students began sketching their pumpkin and a light source on paper, then painting with shades of yellow, orange, and brown. We discussed how to blend the colors and paint in the direction of the curves of the pumpkin to show its form. Students worked to make their pumpkins look realistic by showing the light coming from a specific direction.
Tiny pencil sun with arrow to where the pumpkin would be brightest!
This artist chose a lightbulb instead of sun.These are how they looked at the end of the first class.

  At the start of the second class, students cut out the pumpkins and glued them to a background paper they selected. Artists used oil pastels to add light source, ground, and shadow.

In the third class, artists used cut paper collage to add faces, and could choose to add additional details with oil pastel.
This candlelit pumpkin emerged out of a whole spooky graveyard scene on the third class!
      It empowers first grade artists to "show what they know" about science through the making of an artwork- that is the essence of true integration of content!

Across each pumpkin, you can really see the visual evidence of how the color moves from sun to shadow with shaded transitions. As artists added a light source and a surface on which the pumpkin’s shadow would fall, and details and faces, true seasonal magic grew!

These are displayed on the first floor bulletin boards, stop by to see them anytime school is open.