Well, after what seems like half a lifetime of Summer vacation, we started back up in the BCWMS Art room today! It was a great day filled with meeting new students and picking right back up with the ones from last year. Here are some of the highlights from our first day back:
Clay on the first day in the BCWMS art room is no secret. I have blogged, presented, and posted about it time and again since we started the tradition about five years ago! Today was probably the MOST successful start to the year using clay. The kids were on fire as they recalled vocabulary from last year and showed off their slab-making skills. I am very excited about our use of the clay bowls this year and how we have rethought our Empty Bowls event for 2016. I will post more details on this as we get deeper into the project.
Last year was the first year we participated in Dot Day on September 15th with our collaborative paintings. This year, I am working on a new idea and thinking more 3D for the collaboration. I worked on this prototype yesterday. The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds is a celebration of making your mark and seeing where it takes you. In the spirit of that adventure, students will be making circles that they create designs on and then build them into a larger sphere in hopes they see how much more they can be and accomplish when we work together and support each other as a team. These will then hang outside of the classroom in our smART space. After School Art students got a jump on making their individual circles today in class.
I am so thankful to be starting my tenth year at BCWMS as the Visual Arts teacher! As my twelfth year of teaching gets underway, I am so excited to have found some new ways of organizing my classroom and decorating the space to make it more efficient and user friendly. Enjoy a little peek into our chaos below!
This is where students keep their computers when they are not in use. I also purchased the paper containers this year in hopes they will be a neater solution to year's past. I also bought the dress form, which is currently sporting my Gelli Arts apron, in hopes we will have another fashion designer enter their works in competition this year.
Our participation in the Scholastic Art Awards is one of my highlights of my career. Since 2008 we have had more than 80 works from BCWMS recognized at the regional level with four National Winners. This year I made a bulletin board for the hallway outside my classroom inviting all interested students to get involved with ways to get started.
I hope everyone had as fun of a start as I did today! Good luck to you and your year of Artventures!
8th grade students took up the challenge earlier in the week to work with environments, spaces, and places for this next project. We finished up planning mid-week and it has been fun to see the diverse choice of materials (yet again) that students selected for enact their vision when exploring the topic. From paint, to paper, to clay, and cardboard, these students are utilizing many mediums to engage with the concept and share their ideas.
7th grade students worked on making multiples today as they printed their action poses inspired by Red and Black Figure pottery from Ancient Greece. Before selecting paper and ink colors, we discussed the idea of contrast and how colors interact with each other when they are used in a work of art.
8th grade students are working on their maquettes for their larger paper sculptures. It is fun to see the mini versions of their final works. Maybe in the future, we will just do a bunch of mini paper sculptures like Jennifer Collier (one of the artists we used as inspiration for this project).
I decided to try something new in class today as students were finalizing their sketches for upcoming projects in 7th and 8th grade art. Usually students create several options on newsprint and then apply to a final product, making decisions on their own throughout that process. Instead of working in isolation and only getting feedback half way through or at the end, students spent part of today reviewing the planning sketches of their peer and indicating their favorites with a check or a star. This gave students a chance to rethink their initial favorites and take their peers' feedback into consideration when moving onto the next stages before finishing their projects.
8th grade students created maquettes to test out their planned paper sculptures before creating them on a larger scale. Creating a smaller model of the final design allows students to find the best possible solutions in a quick amount of time without wasting many resources. It was fun to see students struggle their way to solutions as they cut, folded, scored, and glued their designs together.
Students worked on clay projects this week, transforming rather dull gray lumps into lively creatures and figures. We discussed the various stages of clay as they transformed their pieces based on the planning work they completed through a series of thumbnail sketches.
7th grade students based their creatures around the transformation of a hollow clay balloon (that some decided to turn into a rattle by adding additional clay pellets before enclosing it). 8th grade students reused old water bottles as armatures to create anthropomorphic pottery pieces that represent their personalities.
While doing the demonstration for the 7th grade project process, I always ask students to tell me what to make and they vote on the final creature/sketched pose from my thumbnails. In the past I have made monkeys, chickens, fish, unicorns, and more. This year they wanted me to make a shark - you can check out the progress below (not too bad for a first try):
7th grade students finished their projects on Friday and 8th grade will be done on Monday. We will be adding color to the pieces once they have been fired!
For the past two weeks, students in both 7th and 8th grade classes had a lot of decisions to make as they worked through their projects. 7th grade students focused on story-telling as they worked on creating videos, video games, or comics. 8th grade students worked with form as they decided what to create with paper. You can see all of the results on our online gallery, but here is a peek into the process below:
Other students created their videos for the Meijer Great Choices Video Competition to focus on Healthy Choices, Character, or Diversity.
7th grade Greek Inspired Prints
7th grade students learned about how contemporary artists Karen Lamonte and Michael Stuts draw inspiration from ancient art from Greece and Rome. After comparing their work to the originals, students were asked to create action poses inspired by what they found in Greek Red and Black Figure Pottery. You can see the results on our online gallery and follow along in the process by watching the slideshow below:
Students also learned interesting facts like why the Parthenon no longer has a roof, that Nike is not just a great shoe company, and the ugly truth about those classical white statues everyone thinks look so elegant. We are currently in the process of working on our plaster casting of fingers based on our exploration of Pompeii and should be complete by Thanksgiving with that. Below is a little preview of where we are at so far:
8th grade Self Expression Prints
8th grade students also got in on the printmaking action this week by creating a two-color reduction print using Wondercut and Linocut tools. We looked at the work of Swoon, Kathe Kollwitz, Andy Warhol, and Banksy before editing our images in Photoshop and transferring them to our printing plates. Reduction printmaking is always a little tricky because you have to think in reverse and make sure to get your registration just right. You can see the results on our online gallery and the process below:
8th grade Abstractions
8th graders worked on the concept of abstraction this week through a series of activities that ranged from drawing, painting, sculpture, and digital work that explored concepts of representational abstraction (mostly with portraiture). The below are some of the results:
You can see the full array of images on our online gallery at www.artsonia.com/schools/byron1.
8th grade students finished their paper sculptures earlier this week and I uploaded the group to Artsonia earlier today.
You can see that students really had full control of the subject matter they chose in this work and many decided to range from realistic to abstract.
It was fun to teach this assignment (it was the first time I had done something like this in a Middle School class) and see all of the results. I especially like the creative ways students folded, bent, and reconstructed the usually flat surfaces of paper to get varying effects for their sculptures.
Every now and again you come across a student or project that seems to really take off with an idea. Luckily, it seems that this project sparked an interest in one 8th grade student to a point they had to work on it ALL weekend! The result definitely was worth it and I am happy to announce that it will be one of our top 20 art pieces moving onto the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition (due tomorrow)!
This is one of my favorite times of the year because I get the chance to showcase the best efforts from my students with the hopes they receive recognition at the local level and move onto the National Awards. I will post the final selection tomorrow, once all of the paperwork has been finalized. Until then, it is going to be a tough job narrowing the field...
Teaching Visual Arts since 2004 and making images since picking up a crayon.