Category Archives: 8th grade art

Something’s Fishy

Some of my Art-8 students created clay fish using slab and hand building.

First day: use a rolling pin to make clay flat. Fill with crumpled paper towels and fold it like a burrito leaving one side open.

Second day: add extra clay to create the head and tail.

Third day: add fins, gills and eyes.

Fourth day: finish the fish. Add any other details and make clay smooth using hands and/or clay tools.

Next let all projects dry for two weeks before bisque firing.

We spent four days glazing. A dozen different glazes were available. Students were asked to use at least six – three coats of each.

Kline-Dine Tash Mash

I call this project the Kline-Dine Tash Mash.

First I shared information about Franz Kline. He created large scale black and white paintings. These paintings resembled Chinese Calligraphy.

My students looked at Chinese Calligraphy resource pictures. They used black oil pastels to draw lines on a 12′ x 12″ canvas that were influenced by the Chinese characters.

Next, they added white acrylic paint using sweeping brushstrokes with a 1″ flat brush. They were encouraged to occasionally crash into the oil pastel to create some gray areas.

In the following class, they placed black acrylic paint over the black lines allowing some of the texture of the oil pastel to remain on the surface.

Jim Dine was next. We looked at his heart paintings. I gave them another canvas – a 4″ x 4″ one. They created heart stencils, traced them onto this smaller canvas then painted the canvas – either white heart with black background or black heart on white background.

Students then used colorful oil pastels on the heart and its background.

I had them choose a wood block, glue it to the back of the smaller canvas then adhere it to the center of the larger one.

I call it a Tash Mash because it is a mash-up of Kline and Dine but I use the heart motif in many of my own paintings as well, and I utilize the wood riser technique when mounting my encaustic paintings onto chalkboard painted masonite boards. And I invented the lesson.

I’m thinking about doing a series of encaustics in this style. Thank you, Franz Kline and Jim Dine for your contributions to Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, respectively, and for having names that rhyme.

Studio & the Barn Watercolor

Our last Studio in Art project – watercolors. I gave each student a sheet of 300# watercolor paper. They created drawings of barn landscapes from resource photos. I graded this portion on rendering/detail and composition.

Next, I gave them smaller sheets of watercolor paper and taught four techniques –

*saving the white of the paper

*wet-in-wet

*glazing

*dry brush

I graded the rest of the project based on how well they utilized these four techniques in the final product.

They spent several days practicing and when they were ready, they began painting the barn. Students sat in groups of two sharing a set of Koi watercolors and a large mixing tray.

The results are these incredible paintings. Remember, they are 8th graders and for the most part, had never used such quality materials. The hardest part, I think, was getting them to stray from conventional ideas – like, just putting brown in the brown spot, you know. I shared some Wolf Kahn paintings and explained how his brown trees had flecks of violet and orange in them because he used a secondary color palette. This style embraces rhythm.

I am really pleased with what my students accomplished.

Our last class together was a bit of silly mayhem. I played a game with these buzzers I have that are fun to use. They had to buzz in answers to questions about what we learned this year during class – about art and about me as a teacher as well as about specific things that happened during class that made it memorable.

The funny thing is that students who were the silliest in terms of behavior remembered the most stuff. When my 8th period kids started singing my India Ink song (memorized, lol – I don’t even have it memorized), that was just over-the-top.

What happens when I am living in the present moment is that I forget that I won’t be teaching them any longer. They are headed to the high school. So, here it is two days later and I am feeling incredibly sentimental.

At the end of every school year I do always tell my students that I will always be there for them. I am an email away or a bus ride from the high school to the middle school to visit me during 10th period. But in a couple of years, I may retire from teaching so that I can devote myself to my own dreams. I will still be here in the social media realm though and I will never stop wanting to know how they are doing with regard to the arts.

Relationships are a strange thing. You never know who you have affected in a way that will catapult people to the place they truly want to be in their lives. And they really don’t know how much their presence has made a difference in my life.

I am working on a watercolor poem/song. I will try to finish it this weekend and maybe I will put myself back up on TikTok. Last week, a 7th grader was listening to something with his secret ear bud. It turned out that he was listening to me recite my Gamer rap song – like really? Of all things, you want to hear my voice in your ear? Sometimes it is hard to wrap my head around stuff like that.

Yes, there will always be some students who express dissatisfaction and negativity. The trick there is to be the ear bud that voices positivity back, to not get caught in the debris field of that negative energy but instead push forward and allow the universe to embrace the magic of dreams. And a lot of the time, that magic is harnessed via the arts.

Studio in Art students, it has been a privilege working with you this year. Best to you always. Have a great experience at the high school and beyond. And keep making art. <3

Oil Pastel on Cows

We just completed these cow drawings on black Strathmore 500 paper. Cows are fun to draw because they are essentially made of two trapezoids. The pencil lines were painted out with black acrylic paint.

Then students colored the drawings with Cray-Pas oil pastels. They are beautiful! The artwork is on display on the wall outside of my classroom. This is an 8th grade project.

Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Mini

#saksfifthavenue cashmere sweater #frenchconnection leather skirt #marcjacobs boots
#theory cashmere cardigan #rebeccataylor top #ragandbone patent leather skirt #calvinklein boots

I went all mini last week. It is finally getting warmer in Syracuse! Yesssssss!

On Friday afternoon , I put the glazes away for the year. All the clay projects are now on deck for the kiln.. I am gearing up for the final lessons. I think there are thirty school days left, so only fifteen classes for A day students and fifteen classes for B day students.

They will be creating art books and the Studio in Art students will begin a watercolor landscape. So fun!!!! <3

#honora necklace #rebeccataylor leather top #trinaturk skirt #ragandbone boots
#bcbgmaxazria sweater #aliceandolivia skirt #marcjacobs boots
#saksfifthavenue cashmere sweater #freepeople dress #bcbgmaxazria sandals
#allsaints scarf #tashkovski bracelet #aquacashmere sweater #bcbgmaxazria skirt #ragandbone boots

Design an Animal

Last year, a local arts contributor connected with me to ask if I would share how I was going to teach art during the pandemic. I declined to participate because I did not want to allow anyone (read-people who would ultimately read said article) to criticize my choices when they really had no idea what the circumstances truly were.

School during 2020-2021 was about uplifting spirits, if that makes any sense. It was not plowing through curriculum while people were dealing with a global crisis, which brought with it low-level emotional feelings such as depression, sadness, fear, anger as well as physical illness.

My colleague and I spent our budget on individual supplies – markers, colored pencils, sketchbooks, etc. We did “dry media” projects and supplemented with vocabulary work. Many students worked 100% remotely with varying results due to their own perception of self-motivation.

We received some really fun results with this lesson – Design an Animal. Here is the video I made for the assignment. September 2020 marked the first time I’d done anything like this. Alone in my classroom on Wednesdays, which was the day students were all remote, I videotaped myself. No editing – just a straight shot, teaching the way I normally would with the exception of the fact that I could see myself on the screen and I had to give up the fact that I’m a real person and not an actress or model; that I was going to like myself sometimes and cringe at other times. I had to imagine that students were there and speak as though someone was on the other side actually listening to my stories. One take – no do overs because I didn’t have the time for that.

So here it is – the Design an Animal lesson posted on http://www.youtube.com. It is a lesson we shared with 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Needless to say, all of these multi-level shared lessons cannot be taught again for another two years, lol.

Please like and subscribe to my video channel.

P.S. Here is a link to Galina Bugaevskaya’s work – she is the one who photoshops cat faces on animals.

Forever Medusa

Here are two companion videos I created in September 2020 when I was teaching art remotely – one on the Medusa lesson I created years ago and the other is a pattern lesson. The pattern lesson – I created it for 2nd graders originally, so this should have been a review for my 8th graders. Katy and I used both lessons for 6th-8th graders last year.

Who Made the Donuts?

We created these donuts in two of my Art-8 classes. Some were mounted on black foamboard and others placed in real Dunkin’ Donuts boxes, which were donated by the wonderful manager at the DD on Rt. 5 in Chittenango, NY.

Materials:

aluminum foil, masking tape, paper towels, Mod Podge, Celluclay, acrylic paint, glitter, foamboard, DD boxes

They are so fun! The trick here was to try to make them all the same size and the same shape. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Each student made a half dozen. I graded them on successful armature, application of Mod Podge and Celluclay, as well as paint and detail.

The Clay Face Project

My 8th grade accelerated Studio in Art students created these clay face masks (with Miller #10 clay purchased from Clayscapes). We used the slab technique over a plastic face form then added clay to shape the features. I poked holes at the sides to secure a Twisteezwire to the back. They can hang on a wall – I love that!

The glaze is called Mayco Jungle Gems. It contains glass bits! So cool.

Fashion Heaven

#vince cashmere sweater and leather skirt #ragandbone boots
#tashkovski bracelet #theory cashmere sweater #coach leather skirt #ragandbone boots

The V-neck cashmere sweater paired with a leather skirt is a marriage made in fashion heaven! Worn with a bootie and one of my handmade bracelets, this look was my uniform last week. It was a theme I will revisit again and again. <3

#tashkovski bracelet #kesnyc #theory cashmere sweater #vince leather skirt #rebeccaminkoff boots

Students are working on papier-mache sculptures (donuts, owls) and colored pencil drawings. The Studio in Art students just finished glazing their clay projects and now they are about to do still life paintings with acrylics. We are having a lot of fun making art!

#tashkovski bracelet #vince cashmere sweater #kobihalperin leather skirt #marcjacobs boots
#tashkovski bracelet #theory cashmere sweater #zadigandvoltaire leather skirt #marcjacobs boots