Saturday, November 15, 2014

VIP: Starry Night 2014

I have posted about Van Gogh's Starry Night for a number of years, and in a number of different ways. It is a painting that will always be celebrated, imitated, and gazed upon in my classroom - I call it a Very Important Painting, and it is probably my all-time favorite work of art. I was fortunate enough to experience it once in real life and can still feel the lump in my throat.

This year's first grade "odes to the magical masterpiece" are some of the best we have done, and we've tried many ways - oil pastel, watercolor resist, collage. I think the dark blue construction paper, painted with tempera and collaged with the cozy village, works really well.
Before starting the painting, and after an age-appropriate abbreviated biography of Vincent's life, we discuss the magic of this painting first and then get down to the nitty gritty of foreground, middleground, background - aka space in a landscape. We also answer the question "what is that big mountainy thing in the foreground?" with cypress tree being the answer - a pointy-topped evergreen kind of like a Christmas tree. We made a simple pencil drawing of the 3 parts and placed the moon, wind, and tree, then the students painted along with me as we learned many painting tips including proper brush washing, paintbrush holding, and brush stroking in the Van Gogh style. Songs by Beethoven accompanied us to set the mood of the moonlit night. It really is a wonderful moment in the art room, all those little hands painting away to the melody of Fur Elise... (this is where I am trying to upload an adorable video of a classroom full of highly engaged and well-behaved first graders at work with the song in the background, but Blogger is not cooperating tonight)
The following week we collaged on the little village scene and watched a fun video of the Starry Night built in collapsing dominoes, to wrap things up.

Here is a beautiful work by artist Alex Ruiz which recreates the setting of Vincent's Starry Night.

Fall landscapes, 2nd grade

Placement on the page and size changes are two ways artists create space in a landscape painting. Second graders had a good time mixing colors and mediums with our fall landscapes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Needle & Thread Club: Ojo de Dios

Monday marked our third club meeting this year and we had fun learning the Mexican weaving craft, Ojo de Dios, using sticks from my birch tree and some super soft yarn I couldn't resist at Michael's yarn blowout sale. We also started a a yarn bomb on the wooden rocker from the media center - looks like it is going to take a few more meetings to properly bomb that thing with all my scrap yarn! Club is going great so far - next week - cross stitch!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November so far...

October was a rough month for me health wise, and I am so glad to be feeling better and enjoying a fresh new month and getting our new art unit rolling along now that it's November. I have some in-depth posts coming soon, but here's a peek, and you can check my (almost) daily classroom updates on Instagram @smartestartists. Hope you are having a fun fall!

Most of our projects now are seasonally inspired, with pumpkins and fall nature galore as we explore  the concepts of landscapes, color mixing, observational drawing, and getting to know artists in history. Follow this link for a quick video of my first graders painting like Van Gogh, with a little Beethoven in the background : -more on this soon to come!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We're on Artsonia! (and update)

Proud to announce that Dolvin artists are now sharing their art with the world on Artsonia, the world's largest online art museum for students! Our school gallery can be found here - .
Parents, please make sure you respond to the email invitation or go to the link to create your account. Not only will you be able to view selected pieces of your child's art throughout the year, you can also leave comments, start a fan club, and order from a variety of products printed with the art. The art department keeps a portion of the profits to help pay for classroom materials - our most recent fundraising  allowed us to purchase iPads for the art room, and now older students are doing their own uploading, editing, and artist statements using technology! So cool :)
Mrs. Maranto and I are more than halfway through with our first set of uploads, so please keep checking back if yours isn't there yet. Thanks for your support. Check out these fourth graders in uploading action: 

Update: I just discovered that they offer to send a printed postcard for less than $2 including postage! I love this! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Introducing the Needle & Thread Club!

I am very excited about my new after school club this year - the Needle & Thread Club! We have 24 members from grades 3-5 (and a long waiting list too) and we have just completed our first project, string art. This lesson was so much fun and quite a challenge, too - thanks so much to Cassie Stephens for the great step-by-step instructions on her blog - find it here:
My kids were very inspired by the work her students created.
We have many exciting sewing, weaving, embroidery and other fun fiber arts activities in store for this year - we are focusing on traditional hands-on methods with a modern spin. This is not your granny's sewing club! :)