Thursday, February 19, 2015

Printing with Legos

This project, by Mrs. Phares's third graders,  has been a big experiment.  I had no idea what to expect, and we are figuring it out as we go.  I have included the kids in the problem-solving that comes from trying a new supply and concept.  Madison and Nate W.  offered to let us borrow some legos (THANK YOU!)  and we used the blocks to press indentations into styrofoam.  I challenged them to align the blocks either vertically or horizontally, and to try a pattern.  Our first problem to solve was that you had to press very hard, and the blocks hurt little hands.  We used cardboard squares as a buffer over the blocks.  I had them print 4 times, once in each corner of a paper.  The first printers discovered we will need to rinse the foam between each inking.  It gets very sticky and rips.  We will continue next week and hopefully have some finished pieces to show off...
Angel's Print

Cindy, Paloma and Angel, Grade 3

Madison, Grade 3

Cindy's Print

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Neon Reduction Prints

It's nice to have a break from so many winter art projects and to see some bright, summer colors in my room.  The 4th and 5th graders have been been making reduction prints with our scratch-foam printing materials.  They drew colorful birds, traced their drawings onto styrofoam, and learned to make a rainbow roll for the background.  They were then asked to make at least 2 more layers of color.  After cutting off the background, they traced the details onto their bird.  They re-inked the styrofoam, and re-printed.  The 3rd layer includes details they wish to highlight like a beak, wing or eye.  Printing is not easy, and they have done a great job experimenting and finding ways to make their prints look their best.  Each day, we started class by creating a list of reminders and tips based on our work in the previous days.  The students even made a video presentation on how to do the project!

Antonio, Grade 5

Ryan, Grade 5

Kiarie, Grade 4

Sean, Grade 4

Karla, Grade 4

Samuel, Grade 4

Alex, Grade 5
Melanie, Grade 5

Monica, Grade 5

Analiz, Grade 5

Daivion, Grade 5

Quin, Grade 5

Lily, Grade 5

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Poets and Painters

I'm eager to see what the 6-8th graders create for this year's art show.  So far, they chose one line from their own, original poetry that they have been writing for this year's poetry slam.  They brainstormed images that the line of poetry inspires, and they started making sketches of how they would illustrate this line.  I read through their proposals and started connecting them with famous artists and artwork with similar themes and imagery.  They have primed their canvases and are beginning to paint their backgrounds.  When we finish this project, we plan to display their work at the local public library, where we will have an evening of poetry performances and an opening for their poem-inspired paintings.  I wanted to share one of the proposals and initial sketches one student has come up with:

Carmelita chose the line:  "When I look into your eyes, I know that you're in pain."  She brainstormed images including sympathy, depressed, sorrow, loneliness, heartbreak, an eye with a tear, a girl hugging another girl who is crying, and a girl in darkness with a hand reaching out to her.  She did some sketches of her ideas:

Once she made these sketches, I was able to connect her with artists who have great work with similar imagery and themes.  Some were:

The Eye of Horus from Ancient Egyptian Art

DaVinci's Mona Lisa

Margaret Keane, the inspiration for the current film "Big Eyes" with Amy Adams

Rene Magritte
After researching these artists, Carmelita was able to come up with the following reflective writing on her topic.  I can't wait to see how her painting turns out...

"Rene Magritte liked eyes a lot because he thought about them as a mirror that provides a reflection of the soul. I like that he refers to them as a reflection because to me this means that it’s kind of the way someone looks at you.

Eyes can mean a lot in art because you can express beauty. Anyone who looks at the painting knows exactly what the artist is feeling. It can also be a tradition. Some Middle Eastern people believe in a spirit for the “evil eye” and think it can be a protection of the bad looks like jealousy or anything bad that can happen. I learned that the Eye of Horus, also known as the “Eye Of Ra”, was a symbol of protection in Ancient Egypt.

Eyes can tell a lot of a person because for example if you look in someones eyes you can see when they’re in pain like if you see tears, rage, they can be looking at a world of emptiness etc. You can make the eye seem like it's the focus so that can be the first thing they look at.

It's the first communication a lot of people have with someone when they look right into their eyes if they are speaking to them. And it can define if you know the person is listening or ignoring you.

I find this really interesting because I can relate to what i have researched, my line of poetry is “ when i look into your eyes i know that you’re in pain"' which refers to the fact of knowing when someone is in pain or understanding what they’re going through just by a simple image of an eye that can be drawn/painted with details."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mummy's Gold

Greg and Scarlett translating their names to hieroglyphics.

Scarab Beetle


Hayley adding hieroglyphics to her cartouche.

Scarab with Sun Disk


Gigi's Cartouche


Y'andre translating his name.

Hayley with her cartouche.  She brought in some papyrus from home to share with the class!
The first graders are studying and creating art based on the art of Ancient Egypt.  They got to use clay to create some golden artifacts like scarabs and a cartouche.  We read about Egyptian gods and goddesses, found common symbols in a variety of paintings, investigated the differences between papyrus and our own paper, and wrote some messages in hieroglyphics.  It has been a lot of fun!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Styrofoam Prints

Christa, Grade 3

The third grade students have started their first printmaking project.  They are staying with the Chicago theme, since they are studying Chicago in Social Studies this year.  I also know they love drawing the city, so it's a great line drawing for their first print.  They used dull pencils or the back of a paintbrush to scratch the image of a city into a piece of styrofoam.  I explained that if we were etching, we would be scratching a metal plate, and that some artists carve into linoleum or wood.  They painted their backgrounds half warm colors and half cool colors with watercolors.  I let them use the metallic and glitter paint because it's their favorite.  When the backgrounds dried, they printed their cities twice, with the prints touching at the horizon.  The first, darker print became their city skyline, and the second, lighter print resembled reflections in the water.  As usual, I'm impressed with what they have done!  I could tell from their reflections that they really understood all of the steps.  Here is what Cindy wrote for hers:

"Printmaking is a type of art that you print.  It is used to make many copies of art to a paper, so you don’t have to do it over and over again.  I used watercolors for my background, with warm colors on one half and cool colors on the other half.  I made stripes of color instead of tapping my brush.  My whole classroom was doing tapping, and I was thinking that I should do something really different.  I just slide my brush with strips.  I drew the Chicago city because it reminds me of Chicago in peace.  I had a small puddle of black ink on a piece of glass, and I slid the ink with a brayer until I heard a static sound.  I cut the sky off so the black ink would not go on the sky.  I painted my towers with the black ink on the brayer.  The most fun part was sliding the brayer in the glass with black ink.  It felt calm and kind of relaxing."

Ally, Christa and Grace try out the brayers.

Cindy, Grade 3

Gael, Grade 3

Ally, Grade 3

Grace, Grade 3

Christopher, Grade 3

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...