Friday, November 22, 2013


First order of business is to show the results of the projects started in September by the Bigs. Here they are:

after Jasper Johns' Zero-Nine - William, Age 10
after Wyland's Whaling Walls - Grace, Age 10

Quite impressive, don't you think? This group of older kids really takes their time and pays attention to detail and it shows. It may take them two or three class periods to finish up, but I think the results are worth it.

Now on to October:

Using a q-tip to put our designs onto the plate.
Ideally, we learned about Mary Cassatt who was famous for her impressionist painting and dry point etchings. But really, we covered her very quickly and got right to the printmaking. Printmaking is like magic for kids, and they love that you can make them over and over again. The Littles were encouraged to choose Mary Cassatt-like subjects (i.e.families and babies) but they could make any designs they wanted.

Drawing what we see, not what we think we see.

Emma, age 5
Next we tried observational drawing. This is ambitious for the younger kids, but I really feel they can do more than we think they can and it's never too early to introduce a concept. Observational drawing is a big focus for the older kids throughout the year, but it's a little early for the PreK and Kinders. Still, they did an amazing job!

Warhol stole the flower image (and got sued for it), so we stole it from him!
Colin, Age 4

Back to printmaking! The Littles really enjoyed learning about Andy Warhol (and his 25 cats, all named Sam). We set up our studio like his Factory, using factory techniques to product our handprints.

As Halloween approached, our thoughts turned to pumpkins and the Bigs created pumpkin farms using one-point perspective. This is a technique usually taught in middle school, but you never know which kids will really "get it" and incorporate the concept into their arsenal of art skills.  We learned about regional painter Grant Wood as part of this project.
Mateo, Age 7

My intention was for the week of Halloween to just be a fun class for the Littles, but once we were done, I realized we'd covered all the art bases when approaching our subject of pumpkins. We painted, drew and sculpted pumpkins, and threw in a little spooky music and a scary story or two!
We painted pumpkins...
… sculpted pumpkins...
… and sketched pumpkins! (& other things)
And on to November!

Carter, Age 4
The Littles enjoyed an old favorite - string painting. We learned about the Dada movement which was as silly as it sounds. Then we explored the concept of "happy accidents" by dropping paint covered string from a height onto our papers. You'd think this would be messy, and you'd be right.

More observational drawing!
 Our next subject was Georgia O'Keefe. Finally, the Littles and Bigs are aligned with the same artist each week! I doubt it will last long, but it does simplify things.

Laurel, Age 7
 Both age groups did big, O'keeffe flowers in oil pastel and watercolor. The Littles also made their own interpretations of her Ladder to the Moon
Teddy, Age 4

PreK Inventions
 Which brings us to Leonardo DaVinci! I like to read an art related chapter book to the Bigs as they work each week to help with noise level and focus, and our first one this year is Monday with a Mad Genius, part of the Magic Treehouse series. This project was a nice tie-in and worked for the Littles as well. Both age groups learned that Leonardo was not just an artist, but also a scientist and inventor. We designed our own machines (above) and did other activities like backwards writing and building and testing parachutes based on Leonardo's design!

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