Saturday, December 21, 2013

Be Creative During Winter Break!

I saw an article in the New York Times today, and I wished right away I had seen it a week earlier. 
For a coming issue of The Times's Education Life section, they are inviting students to submit a photo or drawing of something they've created. They want to see art, fashion, inventions, science, experiments, business ideas in action or anything you've created to solve a problem. Submissions received by Jan. 3, 2014, may be published in the Feb. 9 print section; a selection will also appear on  We have so many creative students who could do this! Try to make something over break, and share your creativity through this link.  Maybe you'll be featured in their magazine!  Happy Holidays, and I'll see you in January.

Enter photos of your work here!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

4th Grade Sumi-e

The 4th graders finished some Chinese scrolls this week.  They learned about Japanese and Chinese painting techniques that require focus and relaxation.  This was tough at the end of the school day.  They began by experimenting with the "four treasures" of sumi-e:  brushes, ink, grinding stone and paper.  They practiced various brushstrokes, and then they began to create symbols and images from these basic strokes.  They seemed to really enjoy it, and they will be moving on to origami this week.

Plumage Patterns

Shamar's Peacock

Khalil's Peacock

Vaughn's Peacock

Anthony's Peacock

Maryanne's Peacock

Jadelyn's Peacocks

Denise's Peacock

Aliyah's Peacock

Andre's Peacock
The 5-6th grade students spent the first part of the year studying color theory.  They have been working on cool and warm color schemes.  I had them create patterns with cool colors that became feathers, and they used contrasting warm colors to create eye spots on the outside edges.  They designed the peacock body on separate paper and cut it out before pasting it in the front.  I let them decorate with googly eyes, feathers and glitter glue. 

Rangoli Designs

The first grade students are studying the art of India.  They have looked at both Rangoli and Mendhi designs, they compared geometric and organic shapes, and they practiced radial symmetry.  I set up a station in the back of the room for small groups to try using actual sand,  but they also practiced making designs with markers at their tables.  They traced shapes, spread glue, and sprinkled sand to fill in their colors.  It was fun, but the sand was hard to control.  This week, they will make Diwali lamps. 

Argentinian Llamas and Rheas

Olivia painted her llama blue.

Ava and Ally fill in their backgrounds with textile patterns.

Adeline fit several on her page.

Ella, Grade 2

Adeline, Grade 2

Alfonso, Grade 2

Dillon, Grade 2

Fanny, Grade 2

Ian, Grade 2

Esteban, Grade 2

Grace, Grade 2

Christa, Grade 2

Aiden, Grade 2
Mrs. Bigby's second graders are learning about Argentina in their classroom.  I searched for ideas, and came up with this one myself.  I had the students look at pictures of llamas and rheas, both animals found in Argentina that have long necks and funny faces.  We practiced drawing the funny faces and then talked about how the long necks make it possible to draw them popping out from different places on our pages.  For the backgrounds, they looked at images of Argentinian textiles.  They used the bright colors and geometric patterns to fill in their white spaces.  I let them use watercolors to make the pictures colorful. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Visiting Grandma

This painting, by Grandma Moses, shows her Folk Art style and is an example of the detailed landscapes for which she is famous.

Christina's Painting

Wendy's Paining

Adrian's Painting

Giana's Painting
The second and third graders finished some wintery landscapes inspired by Grandma Moses.  They learned that she lived to be 101, that she had 9 brothers and sisters, and that she lived in a part of NY that was full of farms rather than the city.  They began with horizon lines and did some scumbling to create snowy hills.  They used perspective to add details that were smaller near the horizon and larger in the foreground.  They remembered their art show theme of trees last year, and they made some nice winter trees on their snowy hills.  Some of their paintings had skiers, dog walkers, maple syrup makers, sleds, skaters and snowball fighters.  I put them up in the hall at school because they look nice for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Heroes for Hire

Hero Cards

Villain Cards
What colors make you think of good?  What about evil?  Do certain shapes seem dark and dangerous?  Do certain images seem noble?  The 5th and 6th graders continued their lessons on color schemes by considering these and other questions that came up as they created logos for themselves.  With their initials, they were challenged to create a logo with their initials and a business card for themselves with one side showing an ad for a hero and the other a villain.  They decided primary colors represented good.  Blue and red seem patriotic, and yellow is like a gold medal.  Green, purple and orange reminded the students of evil and Halloween.  Shapes were sharp and jagged in the villain designs.  I was impressed with their creativity!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Prehistoric Painters

Detail from Caves in Lascaux, France

Jesus experimented with various drawing materials as he drew his own version of cave art.

Kimani's Stampede

Jack's Horses with one Buffalo
 The first grade students are beginning a unit on art of different cultures.  They will be studying the art of India as their classroom prepares for the early childhood multicultural celebration in December.  I began their cultures unit with a look at prehistoric art.  This gave them the chance to think about how long people have been making art, and it also posed the question of why people make art.  The students discussed their ideas about art's origins, and then we looked at pictures from the caves in Lascaux, France.  These paintings are over 17,000 years old, and they tell us about the lives of people who painted them.  The students played "I spy" and found people, horses, buffalo, deer and cows.  They talked about the colors they saw and how prehistoric people could have made paint.  Here are a few examples of what they were able to create after learning about the caves.  They experimented with pastels, charcoal, crayons and chalk.  It was fun to hear their thoughts and ideas as we investigated these caves.

American Sculpture: Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear is a 79 year old sculptor who lives in New York.  He has traveled the world to study art and craft traditions, and he has rec...