Friday, June 17, 2016

5th and 2nd Grade Collagraphs

A collagraph is a method of printmaking in which a surface--a piece of sturdy paper, cardboard or something else--is used as a base onto which other pieces of paper or other things are collaged. This creates a “printing plate” (whatever surface is covered with ink and printed is called the printing plate) which can be rolled up with ink and printed onto to paper or another surface. The ink adheres itself to the raised surfaces of this plate but not to the sunken areas. So the edges around each collaged element shows up as negative space without ink when printed. The relationship between the areas that catch the ink and the areas that don’t is what makes the composition. To create these collagraph prints, students cut pieces of oaktag paper and arranged and glued them onto a base sheet of oaktag, like a collage using one color paper. Once the gluing of different pieces of paper onto the base paper was complete, students rolled printmaking ink onto the printing plate. Then they rolled them through our mini printing press to create these prints. The prints become mirror images of the printing plates. So, in the case of Ethan and Isaac’s prints, they needed to glue the letters of their names in mirror image in order to have them print normally. The collagraph plates can be printed over and over, using different colors of ink and experimenting with different colors and types of paper.
The same plate by Joseph (5-346) printed in different colored inks on different colored paper.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Under the Sea

Kindergarten K-100
Under the Sea
Pre-K, K, and 1st Grade
After reading and discussing the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni, looking at images of ocean life on the smartboard and naming many different creatures and plants that live in the sea, students created these underwater ocean scenes. First they drew different ocean creatures and plants of their choice using oil pastels. Then they painted a wash of blue liquid watercolor over their oil pastel drawings which resisted the paint because oil resists water.

While their paintings were still wet, we sprinkled salt onto them. The crystals of salt absorbed the wet paint. When the paint dried and the salt was brushed off it left interesting speckles on the paper. Sprinkling salt onto the watercolor paint which is representing the ocean water connects to the fact that ocean water is salt water.



Thursday, June 9, 2016

2nd Grade Birds of New York City

Each 2nd Grader looked through an excellent book, Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City by Leslie Day, and chose a bird they would like to create a sculpture of out of clay. For each student, I printed out the pages with pictures and information about their chosen bird. They used these printouts as visual and textual references while sculpting their bird and its nest and eggs and then painting them when the clay was dry. Not being a birder, I learned a lot about the incredibly diverse and sizable population of birds who share our city through this project. I find myself noticing birds so much more and trying to identify them, thinking things like, “Hmm, look at that cute bird, I think that might be the Common Grackle that Robert created.” Hopefully the project had a similar effect on the students.

“Once you connect with birds, you will see them everywhere. They share the sidewalks with us. They build their nests on, above, and below the ledges of our apartments, brownstones, office towers, and bridge spans. They sometimes devour the pizza slice on the ground or the seed scattered by a neighbor, but they also consume the cornucopia of berries, flowers, and seeds of our city streets, backyards, and parks.”  -Leslie Day

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

3rd Grade Global Skylines

3rd Graders observed and discussed many images of structures from around the globe - from Ancient Egyptian pyramids to contemporary Skyscrapers. Students used the many images they saw as references and inspiration as they drew sketches of unique “global cityscapes” composed of buildings and structures that could be imagined or representations of actual structures.
After creating their sketches they drew their cityscapes with white pencil onto black paper and then cut away the negative space. In visual art, the term negative space refers to the area of a two-dimensional artwork in which there is no object or image. Students then glued their cut-out skylines onto abstract sunsets they painted, highlighting the important role played by negative space in creating a visually dynamic artwork.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Don't Forget to Be Owlsome!

Hoo Hoo Made these adorable Owl Babies?

Pre-K students created these so, so cute owl babies inspired by the book Owl Babies written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson.
They made the owl baby bodies out of papier mache one week, then the next week they collaged buttons, feather, fabric, and pipe cleaners to create eyes, feathers, wings, and talons. We looked at a lot of pictures of real baby owls for inspiration. We also read a great book called Owl Moon written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr.
Pre-K students felt that we really needed to make nests for the owl babies. So students glued twigs, grasses and leaves onto paper plates so their owl babies would be all comfy and cozy. 
Once their owl babies were complete, the children drew them from observation and gave them names (the owl babies in the book Owl Babies are named Sarah, Percy and Bill). 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

4th Grade Figures in Motion

Figuring out the Figure
"I can only draw stick figures" is a common sentiment uttered by adults, older children, and adolescents. The thing is, this is never actually true. Whether you will become an artist or not, learning to draw is important and useful for a myriad of reasons. There are so many different genres and purposes of drawing, many of which are directly related to the STEM fields. Drawing is a key part of industrial design, graphic design, engineering, architecture, science, etc. Learning about the proportions and anatomy of the human figure and how it works directly relates to math and science. Besides these connections to non-fine art fields, drawing is important for its own sake. Where would we be culturally without art? All young children draw, it's just that some children become discouraged about their drawing ability at some point and cease the activity. Just as we all need to learn math, reading and writing, etc., deep learning in all of the arts is extremely important in order to discover new ways of expressing ourselves, and to deeply appreciate and understand the art we encounter in public spaces, museums, galleries, books, etc.

In this assignment, 4th graders used rectangular pieces of paper to arrange figures in motion. They thought about what physical activity they would like to represent their figure doing - dancing, playing basketball, soccer, swimming, etc. They arranged the head, neck, torso, upper arms, forearms, thighs, calves and feet to show a pose of someone in the middle of the activity they chose. Breaking the figure down into these essential parts helps students understand how to depict figures in various poses. Making sure to depict upper arms, forearms, thighs and calves allows for figures that can have their elbows and knees bent. After the essential parts of the figure, represented by rectangular pieces of paper, were glued in place, students drew facial features, hair, clothes, and backgrounds with oil pastels. This assignment helps students understand how to depict the figure in various poses. Drawing skills are not a matter of talent or no talent; they can be practiced, developed and strengthened by anyone.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Can't Wait for Summer: Ice Cream Cones and Sunflowers

Kindergarteners and 1st graders have been working on artwork for the Spring concert. In keeping with the theme of the concert, "Fun in the Sun," students created giant ice cream cone and sunflower collages. They used oil pastels to draw sprinkles, summer scenes, names of family and friends, faces, seeds, etc. onto the collages.