Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bad Kitty!-1st grade

Yes, I've been offline (off the blog, anyway) for faaaar too long.  Too many irons in the fire, and not enough time.  Anyway, I'm baaaaaack!

The Bad Kitty books by Nick Bruel are pretty well known with the elementary set.  I'm always trying to get the younger grades to use shapes more often when creating anything living instead of using STICKS!  Stick people and stick animals drive me absolutely bonkers.  We discussed the different shapes used to create Bad Kitty, and used the MoMA Art Lab app  to put those shapes into motion.  Students had to work with a partner (which is asking a lot for some) to create ONE bad kitty from shapes, use lines for only the little details, and make sure that the cat is doing something, well, BAD.  Most stuck with the basics, such as getting tangled in yarn, tearing up homework, and knocking down decorations, but my favorite Bad Kitty was interactive.  One pair of students came up to me for grading, and all that could be seen was a pair of eyes and a mouth.  I asked them what he was doing, and they quickly tapped the background color button to "turn the lights on".  They said their kitty broke the lamp, and that's why it was dark.  Genius!  Of course, I didn't get a picture of that one.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Boxing kitty

 Chewing up flowers (beneath circular clouds)

 Tangled up in yarn

 More boxing...with some shredded shorts

 Even more boxing, with sweatpants!

 More yarn!

 Destroying homework

Crying her eyes out...because she's so bad

 Knocking down the Christmas tree

 Making a pumpkiny mess

 And getting all tangled in Christmas decorations!

Friday, October 30, 2015

BRITTO CENTRAL: Grades K-6 (minus 5)

To start off the year this year, I wanted an artist that was fun, positive, and ALIVE.  So often in the arts, we focus on artists that are long gone.  We do this so much, I think, that the kids often feel that no famous artists are alive.  Enter Romero Britto!  He's alive and well, living in Miami, Florida.  He's made art for the World Cup, the Super Bowl, and the King Tut exhibit in London, to name a few. He has a facebook page, instagram, and a YouTube channel (raising his coolness factor with the kids).  His webpage features his art and has some prints and other items for sale at reasonable prices, probably since Romero wants art to be accessible to everyone.  He wants to leave a positive imprint on the world, and it shows through his eye-popping, bright, and fun art.

Romero Britto, A New Day, 2001

I wanted as many grades as possible to learn about Britto, so all of my classes completed one lesson featuring his art (save 5th grade-they were doing Lichtenstein onomatopoeias, which I also feel are important to learn).  They discussed his use of pattern, bright colors, and we even talked about what that 'squiggle' is on his work (his signature-he uses his signature as a pattern!).  We even listened to salsa while we worked to get in that Miami state of mind.  They were SO excited to learn about a living artist that they were asking me to contact him, so I will be emailing his people a.s.a.p.  Instead of making 7 posts about each project, I made a video featuring the highlight reel from each grade.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Alexander Calder Fish: 4th grade

More Calder action from art!  The fish have become a tradition at both of my schools each year.  As soon as they go up in the case, younger grades drive me crazy with the question of,  "When do we get to make THOSE?"  4th grade, kiddos.  You must be PATIENT.

The fish require a little bit of time to prep.  Each fish is cut and then bent by hand for each student, which requires a lot of wire coat hangers, bolt cutters (YES!) and pliers for bending.  This equals about 125 fish created at home annually by myself and my handy husband, who likes to see how many he can chop at once with bolt cutters (5 is the limit, by the way).  The students then learn all about Calder's fish, including materials used and ways they show subtle movement.  The goal for each student was to use wire (bending/cutting with jewelers pliers) and beads to create a fish that had some movement and was interesting to behold.  Here are a few 'shining' examples.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Alexander Calder Wire Portraits: Mixed Age

American artist Alexander Calder is best known for his mobiles, but he did SO MUCH more than that.  He did painting, printing, moving sculptural circus acts, and wire portraits.  I got the idea while searching for a good Calder video for another class, and and stumbled across one featuring his portraits (inlcuding art he made as a kid!).  They're so simple but so cool.  He took wire and shaped it to create all the facial features and even hair...with what appears to be one extremely long wire.  They're three-dimensional, which makes them even more fun.  I have a never-ending supply of wire coat hangers to use as an armature of sorts, so I thought, "Why not make some wire portraits?"  We used some thin copper wire and jewelers pliers to create our facial features, and since the class is small, they didn't really have a limit on how much they used (unless they were getting ridiculously carried away).  The end results were pretty unique and they had so much fun they were begging to do it again (sorry, have to learn other things, guys!).

Artist of the Week (with LOTS of curly hair)

This is not upside down...those are buck teeth, not glasses...

 Smooth operator

Monday, June 8, 2015

Art of Science Fiction: Star Wars Inspired Masks-6th grade

It's been two weeks since school ended, and yup, I'm still catching up on posts.  Why so slow?  Well...ever turn on your computer to be greeted by that awesome blinking cursor against a black screen (a.k.a. the screen of death)?  My hard drive died. At least it waited until school was over and chose a summer when I have no classes going on...anyway, working on a tablet makes the going a little slower.  On to the art!
The grand finale was (and always is) 6th grade, with their Star Wars inspired masks.  The goal?  Create an other-wordly being using just about any glue-on item available in the art room plus acrylic paint.  I even had a couple students who chose to bring materials from home to add to their masterpiece.  This project does take awhile, but it tends to use all the skills the students have been learning from day one, plus a few extra (well worth it).
I buy plaster gauze (same stuff used to make casts for broken arms) in a giant box and each student gets a 12"x12" ish wide sheet.  They cut it into strips, get it wet, and lay it on plastic molds, making sure to smooth all the plaster chunks as they go.  Once dry, we pop them off the molds, trim the excess, and either add attachments with hot glue or start painting with acrylics, depending on their design.  If it was an attachment that needed painting, add first.  If it was already colored (like pipe cleaner), add last.  I think most of them were pretty impressed with their own work-I know I was pretty proud of them.

Artist of the Year, Prairie Crossing

Artist of the Year, Otterbein

Artist of the Week, Prairie Crossing

Friday, May 29, 2015

Art of Science Fiction: Ceramic Carbonite Boxes-4th Grade

Carbonite was such a hit with 5th grade, why not do it with 4th?  Of course, we couldn't do the same thing (that would be too easy), so we made carbonite boxes from clay that included a secret compartment!

Time was running a little short (field trips and whatnot), so each of my five 4th grade classes had two art classes to complete this task.  Okay, they technically had 3, as we spent the week before clay day watching the clip, discussing necessary features, and sketching out what our aliens-trapped-in-a-box would look like.  Day 1 of clay consisted of me demonstrating how to pound out the shape of their box and carve out the inside, me cutting and passing out between 24 and 30 chunks of clay per class, and me slicing the tops off each box with my clay wire so the kids could dig it out.  Not bad for 40 minutes, Oh, and we did have to have time for clean up, which included each student putting a piece of newspaper between the box and the lid so they wouldn't get stuck together, writing names on the bottom, and placing them all ever so carefully on a tray that gets covered in plastic.  Day 2: pass all work back a.s.a.p., demonstrate slip/score procedure to attach parts, add details with clay tools, and return to tray to dry.  About two weeks later, all work was fired and ready for painting, which was really easy-give everyone SILVER!

A view of the secret compartment...

and a few of his fallen comrades.

Art of Science Fiction: Tooled Carbonite Boxes-5th Grade

5th grade, by tradition, makes something from metal tooling every year.  Whatever that thing is depends on my theme for the year (hey, I get bored-might as well come up with something new!).  The answer of "What to do?" came to me pretty easily this year-carbonite!

What is carbonite, you say?  Any hard-core Star Wars fan can answer that question.  It's that box that contains a freshly frozen Han Solo/Harrison Ford, complete with a control panel and a screen to check vital life signs.  The kids watched the clip where Hans was frozen, and we had an interesting discussion about what they thought was used to make the real box (Guys, the sound crew did a great job.  The box was NOT made of concrete).  Our boxes were made from brass-coated tooling foil, but we used the back side since carbonite is silver colored.  After frozen 'innocent' creatures on paper (and remembering to use implied lines for the knees, palms, etc.,) we traced it onto the back side of the foil, removed the paper, and busted out our embossing tools.  After a little bit of rubbing with a thick pile of newspaper underneath, we had ourselves some low-relief aliens frozen in a box.  We tried the black acrylic method for aging the metal, but in some cases, it was resistant to rubbing off with steel wool.  The last few classes skipped that step to save time, anyway.  Either way, they caught the attention of everyone else!  So shiny...

Art of Science Fiction: Alien Landscapes-4th grade

Every spring, my 4th graders make some kind of landscape painting with watercolors.  This is so I can introduce them to the joys of using salt with watercolor to create visual texture in an image (my battle cry is "It's not a sand painting! No salt piles on your painting!"  We want to see what the salt leaves behind, not the salt itself.

In honor of the late, great Ralph McQuarrie (the original concept artist for Star Wars), we created our own alien worlds with a  watercolor background and tempera details.  Ralph was excellent at capturing the essence of a scene with one painting, so the kids were trying to tap into that concept with their paintings.