Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Honoring Frida and Diego

The fourth and fifth graders have been learning about Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.  They learned about the lives of these two famous Mexican artists, and they chose one, or both, as the theme for the creation of an ofrenda for el Dia de los Muertos.  The Day of the Dead is a Mexican tradition celebrating friends and loved ones who have passed away.  By building festive altars, they welcome the spirits home to celebrate with the family.  Papel picado (cut paper banners), calaveras (candy skulls), and calacas (skeletons that 5th grader Jason decided were like action figures) are all decorations for the ofrendas.  The students created portraits as a review for drawing faces, they created a background for the boxes and a frame for the portraits, and then they had fun decorating their work.  I love how they turned out.
Melanie and Monica's ofrenda features a Diego "calaca" painting at an easel.

Quin added foil to resemble mirrors.

Manuel and Enrique added calaveras, calacas and the flag of Mexico to their ofrenda.

Lily changed the shape of her box so we could see her artwork easily.

Alex created a guitar from wood scraps for his calaca.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Silhouette Self-Portraits






It's harder than it looks!  That's what the 6-8th graders decided after their first week tracing silhouettes.  They had a discussion about Audrey Flack and Vincent Van Gogh's paintings that are sometimes considered portraits although they are still life compositions.  They then made lists of items that could be considered symbols of their own identities.  They will be drawing a collage-style background of these images to use inside the silhouettes in their own work, and they will create a contrasting solid or patterned background to use for the space behind their silhouette.  I look forward to learning more about them through this introductory project, and I hope to see them using their shading skills from last year in their work!

Past, Present and Future Collage Mobiles

The 5th graders are starting the year with a collage project that asks them to reflect on three questions:  Where have you been?  Where are you now?  Where do you want to go?  They began by sharing their summertime experiences, whether they included travel or simply activities around Chicago.  They then talked about where they hope to go one day.  They learned about how Paul Gauguin traveled to Tahiti all the way from France, and about how he wrote letters and made paintings to document his travel.  For their own work, they will be creating three postcards.  One will be their past, one the present, and one their future.  They will be connecting the three cards and displaying them as mobiles.  I love this project because they learn about different places as they help each other find appropriate images for their work in the magazines.  It's fun to hear their descriptions of places they have been.  They also get to know each other a little bit better, and I can get to know them.  Here are some samples from this week!
Melanie is presently in Chicago

In the past, Salvador went to Six Flags.

Lily is presently in Chicago.

In the past, Quin went to Florida.

Monica is in Chicago.

In the past, Jaiden went to Hawaii. 
In the past, Alex went to Ecuador

In the past, Adrian went to Ohio.

In the past, Antonio went to see the Ninja Turtle movie.

In the past, Lila went to NYC!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome to the New School Year, and Welcome to the Art Room!

The Migration of the Negro, panel 58, 1940-41. Casein tempera on hardboard, 12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.7 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York   
Welcome back!  I hope your summer vacation was restful and fun.  I look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday, and I wanted to remind you that you can help us get a great start to the school year by visiting one of my donation pages to help us stock our classroom studio.  In addition to donating through a website, I accept donations of supplies and art materials year-round.  Some household items that may be recycled into art or art tools include:

Button-up Shirts (for smocks)
Supplies we run out of quickly and frequently include:

Paper Plates
Paper Towels
Spray Cleaner
Baby Wipes
Glue Sticks

As always, thank you for your support.  It's going to be a great year!

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...