Friday, November 30, 2012

Clay "thumb owl" sculptures, 2nd grade


I know, I know, owls are so trendy these days. But I saw this example on Pinterest ( and thought they were a perfect way for my second graders to graduate from the pinch pot to a more modeled form with texture and surface design (slab building is also in the curriculum, but I have something else up my sleeve for that one). Opening the kiln today was so exciting, because this little  group of "hoot owls" (as my grandma used to say) were so full of personality. Looking at photos of real owls helped the students to create their own unique look while demonstrating some important sculptural techniques.

newly modeled owls

glazing with underglazes

class set ready for the clear glaze coat (applied by me for time reasons)
waiting for firing
what an adorable group of wise old owls!

Sunflower pinch pots

First graders completed their unit on Van Gogh by creating a clay pinch pot in the form of a sunflower.

first stage: drying
2nd stage: glazing after bisque fire

Imaginary Creatures, Kindergarten

Step 1: Read this book!
Step 2: cut organic and geometric shapes

Step 3: add some fun doo-dads and get really imaginative

Now that's what I call a pair of boots!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Create your own camo, 5th grade

Monochromatic color schemes

Color theory and color schemes are a big part of our unit 2 curriculum, and each year 5th graders embark on a nonobjective painting project. This year we decided to turn our nonobjective color studies into camouflage designs, created for a particular setting. We began with a planning worksheet, on which we made notes about some technical parts of this painting - how to change values and intensity, how to create unity and contrast - and we also planned the shapes and colors found in a particular setting, like an urban street (geometric shapes) or a tropical rainforest (organic shapes), or maybe even a fantasy location!
We looked at examples of real military camo, then at some of Andy Warhol's pop camo designs, and finally were inspired by a different type of camo art perfected by Chinese artist Liu Bolin - amazing!
If you don't see him, look for his feet! (Liu Bolin)
Andy Warhol's camo designs
   Once our thumbnails were complete, we mixed tempera to bring our camo designs to life. Can you imagine the settings these were created for?

Analogous schemes
More analogous, in cool hues
analogous, warm
complementary schemes
Almost every hue here is a blend of red and green with neutrals... so beautiful!

This lesson is a great way to show how creating art includes problem solving and higher order thinking skills. Even thought there are parameters, each student has plenty of freedom to explore their own ideas and create a unique product.
Thanks to Center for Pictures of Abstract Art for sparking my idea (found on Pinterest), and check out another school's take on the same subject over at Art with Mr. Hall (6th graders from Australia).

A few "behind the scenes" shots....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Grandpa Green

Lane Smith's award winning book Grandpa Green was the inspiration for this lesson on stencil printing. I found this beautifully illustrated book over the summer and thought it would be perfect for teaching my 3rd graders about positive and negative space, among many other things. The story is told by a young boy, the great grandson of a topiary trimming master, and it shares a sweet sentiment of family history.The kids and I had much fun printing our stencils and I am now looking forward to including stencils in other projects. We began, after reading the book together, by designing our topiaries and cutting away the positive shapes - this was a little confusing for them in the beginning but everyone figured it out. Then we used sponges to create the leafy texture, adding blue and yellow to create values and form. Lastly, we added a setting and details! A really fun project, indeed...