A trip to Vince’s Gourmet Imports (440 N. Main Street, North Syracuse, New York 13212) inspired my new still life painting project. The Studio in Art students completed the course with these epic 16″ x 20″ acrylic paintings.
I have paired them here with their inspiration photograph. Students selected the picture then began with the contour line drawing. These were transferred to canvas with the magical help of graphite paper, placed onto gessoed and burnt sienna-stained canvas panels.
My main educational tip – begin with white in your mixing tray. Add raw sienna and whatever main color to the mix (blue, yellow, etc). This will insure that you don’t make too much of a color by starting too dark and adding crap-loads of white, lol. The other thing to keep in mind is to not homogenize the mixture so that you can utilize dark and light variations of the color while painting with one brush.
I am an advocate for students developing and maintaining their own styles as artists. We looked at the work of Alice Neel and Janet Fish. Some students went with the black outlines à la Neel. And Fish’s representation of glass was helpful to their decision making.
They took the paintings home today, but their images are on display in the counseling offices and will remain there throughout the summer months. I made 8″ x 10″ color copies of the paintings, mounted them to black construction paper and placed them in frames. I love this new gallery space!
I feel incredibly blessed to have shared this artistic adventure with these very talented fourteen-year-olds. Studio in Art is an accelerated high school level class that I teach to 8th graders at Chittenango Middle School in Chittenango, New York.
It takes my entire lunch period to prep for the class of twenty-three 5th graders – they are here every “A” day during 8th period. This was yesterday. Their clay slab/hand-built fish were ready to go home. I placed an empty Wegman’s bag, along with their sculptures, grade sheets and the packets for the invention project at their seats. It is organized mayhem, lol.
I say that in case you think the room is messy, because it is not really mayhem at all. They are a wonderful group of eleven-year-olds – smart, talented, happy people-pleasers. I love spending time with them. I give them a different assigned seat every class, so that they sit with different people each time. They have to hunt for their seat. It’s actually kind of fun.
I love how busy they all are in these pictures. Everyone is completely on task. The two students looking at the I-pad are checking the spelling of a word (above). Only three students did not finish their invention drawings, which I will eventually combine to be sent to the high school print department to be made into a coloring book – hopefully by the end of next class.
They recently finished a landscape illustration using Grant Wood and Grandma Moses as references, and a wood sculpture using Louise Nevelson and Yayoi Kusama as references, as well as the clay fish and the Leonardo daVinci-esque invention.
Next up is a mixed-media lesson referencing Faith Ringgold. We will add a quilted border to a dreamy drawing.
Students meet every other day for one semester, which is different than elementary school where students meet once every six day rotation for the entire school year.
Fifth graders started attending Chittenango Middle School (instead of the elementary schools) four years ago. I teach the seventh section of 5th grade (Mrs. Samsel’s class) while my colleague, Joyce Backus, teaches the other six sections (in her own classroom), in addition to teaching all of the Bridgeport Elementary School students.
So fun! ❤
Teaching watercolor to my 8th grade accelerated Studio in Art students was probably the most significantly beautiful thing I have done at school all year. I gave them each their own palettes and set of Koi brand watercolors. They began by painting on small sheets, practicing four techniques: saving the white of the paper, glazing, wet-in-wet and dry brush.
Then I gave them Arches 300# watercolor paper. They drew landscapes with barns.
Paintings took weeks to create. Many, many days of thin coats of glazing culminating in dry brush details. These kids are extraordinarily talented. I guided them, but really, they were on auto-pilot for much of the lesson. My job was to remind them to utilize formal principles consciously – rhythm, balance, emphasis…and to insist that they trust their own hand and intuition, so that their style could emerge. My goal and hope for them, as they mature as artists in high school and beyond, is for them to stay true to who they are and what they want to evoke in their artwork.
I am beyond blessed to know these talented über-amazing young people!!!!
Paintings are currently on display on the hallway walls at Chittenango Middle School, Chittenango, New York.
I just mailed these Chittenango Middle School entries to the Doodle for Google 2019 contest. This year’s theme is “When I Grow Up, I Hope….”
These are some of my Art-8 and 8th grade accelerated Studio in Art student entries. My 5th graders also took part in the contest. The deadline is March 16th so there is still time to mail in the stragglers’ art after winter break, thank goodness.
Among the recurring themes – ending world hunger, space exploration, and fun with animals. Other ideas included fashion, graduating from high school/college and cheating death.
One of my favorites was this one above – solving mysteries with the Scooby Doo gang. Who doesn’t dream about this from time-to-time? Really, I know you do!
The prize is $30,000 for the individual student, $50,000 in technology for their school and their google doodle will be on a T-shirt. It will also grace the web-site for twenty-four hours (and proclaim the winner the title of Chief Doodler for the day). So cool.
What a huge and most amazing thing it would be if one of my students wins the whole shebang?! It will be the greatest thing that would and could ever happen in my career, lol, except…this was the assignment I gave as lesson plans for the substitute when I was absent on family leave the week of my father’s passing. So, technically, I guess … no – oh, come on now, this is crazy talk…I will still take pride in a win. Making art that helps a student visualize their dreams? – now that is a win-win! ❤
I thought it would be fun to create trompe l’oeil donuts. We made them from an armature of aluminum foil, paper towels and masking tape.
Students then applied Mod Podge with a brush to paper towel bits, adhering them to the armature. They really looked like glazed donuts – so cool!
Cell-u-clay was next. It is a paper pulp that is applied wet in a sort of oatmeal consistency. This was the frosting.
Each student (in two of my 8th grade art classes) created a dozen donuts. Because I didn’t think six was enough, lol. They painted the Cell-u-clay with acrylics and added decorative details.
Some students glued their finished pieces to foamboard and others placed them in boxes provided by the local Dunkin’ Donuts. The projects are currently on display in the library at Chittenango Middle School, Chittenango, New York.
I just loved this project. I think everyone loved it! Students in the 9th period B day class even came in during their study hall to become “donut fairies” – they helped the A day group! Everyone helped each other and it was truly magical. So fun! ❤
I decided to infuse the 8th grade Medusa drawing project with real people. I was driving to work a few weeks ago and the idea just came to me, lol, but would the teachers at Chittenango Middle School go for it?
On the half day, I sent out an email then I ran around taking pictures of those who were receptive to being immortalized as Medusa. The principals were even on board, which was so, totally, awesome!
Students selected from the faces and added the snake hair and Greek pattern border. We watched excerpts from 1981 and 2012 Clash of the Titans while using Sharpies and colored pencils. Here are the results. They used 16″ x 20″ white heavyweight tagboard and Prismacolor colored pencils.
I have two classes working on a new batch on brown Kraft paper. It is such a fun project. So many possibilities with regard to color schemes and composition. So incredibly satisfying!
This artwork is currently on display in the hallway outside of my classroom at Chittenango Middle School in Chittenango, New York. It will be up for a while, at least until the end of the semester at the end of January. I will display some of them at the school fair in May too.