Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Grade 2 Chihuly Inspired Clay Macchia

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Dale Chihuly is one of the most, if not the most, famous contemporary glass artists living today.  Any time I've ever show my students his artwork, they've always been captivated by it.  The clay macchia we created were part of a two project unit based on his work.  I took a bit of a chance with this idea.  I wasn't sure the finished results would really look enough like the glass macchia but so far they are very cute. 
To make them, I had the kids roll out a slab clay and then use a wooden pin tool to "cut" a wavy shape out of the slab. They then pressed the slab into a plastic bowl and bent the edges in and out to create waves. When they glazed their sculptures, I really pushed to make sure they covered EVERY spot of clay with at least 3 coats of glaze.  In order for these to look like the authentic macchia, they had to be bright and colorful.  I have 4 more classes to fire but the keypad on my kiln just broke :( so as soon as I get it fixed I'll have more pictures. 

The pumpkin patch at night 3rd grade

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Wow, so after my student teacher finished his 8 week stint with me, I got started on my fall art project.  I love fall and try to do at least 1 fall themed project with one grade level per year.  The only problem with starting fall projects in November is that they don't get completed until almost February!  Needless to say I didn't get a chance to hang these on a bulletin board, I feel like hanging fall projects in the heart of winter just doesn't make sense....Any-who, regardless of the late timing, these came out pretty good.  We learned about value, perspective, highlight, shadow, blending, overlapping, and curvalinear shading.  The kiddos used white, blue and purple oil pastels for the sky, blending it from light to dark.  They used crayon for the foreground and paint for the tree.  Lastly, they used white and black oil pastel to add the highlights and shadows and make the picture pop.  All in all not too shabby for a last minute fall project.  

4th grade color wheel compositions

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in
I was at an elementary art show some time ago and saw a lesson similar to this that was done in middle school.  Since I came across it I've wanted to try it and I'm glad I did because they came out really nice!  This was one of those lessons where after teaching the first day of it you think to yourself "I don't know if this one's going to work out...." Initially when the kids were up to the painting part of the project, I demonstrated how to mix a "true" secondary color (no white or black) and then how to create the tint and shade of that color.  I described the dark colors as "hungry" colors and warned the kids that when mixing light and dark colors to use much less of the hungry colors than the light colors because they'll eat them up.  Many students had trouble mixing tints and shades on one color wheel so I ended up making a chart and differentiating the lesson by giving the kids the option of doing a color wheel with no tints/ shades.  a wheel with the color and tints, or a wheel with all three.  The differentiation saved the lesson because it gave them the ability to be successful at their own ability level.  I can't wait to hang these on the front bulletin board, they're going to look great :)

1st grade pumpkin patches revisited

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

I had done this lesson a year or two ago and really liked the results.  The only part of the lesson that I was "iffy" on was the background.  Initially, when I first taught the lesson I had the children draw everything in pencil then fill it in with chalk pastel and finally, trace over their drawings with white oil pastel.  (See the original lesson HeRe) The problem was that when they got to filling in the background, which was a fairly large area of the paper, with the chalks it would smudge all over the pumpkins.  Even my really neat students would get a certain degree of smudging, and many times, it would cover some of the beautiful shading they had learned for the pumpkins. 

This year, when I taught the lesson I decided to do only the pumpkins in chalk and the rest in oils.  The results were a much more varied, interesting, detailed, and neater batch of artworks.  I liked the lesson the first time, but I loved the lesson this time.  Even the kids with less fine motor coordination were able to come out with great results. 

Some of the vocabulary we covered was foreground, middleground, background, value (shading light to dark, or in this case light yellow to red), and perspective, specifically, the way objects appear smaller, less detailed, and duller as they recede into the back of the picture.