2nd graders are in the process of making animal pots! We use clay skills that we acquired in kindergarten and first grade and add a new technique: score and slip! First, students filled out a planning sheet. They drew and labelled a sketch with their animal to help guide them when they begin working in clay. We started by building pinch pots to form the animal body. Then, students referred to their planning sheets to help them build legs, tails, heads, wings, and any other necessary parts. We used toothbrushes to scratch up the surfaces to be joined (scoring) and add wet clay to help the pieces adhere (slip). Students also used their thumbs to smudge and blend the joined edges together. I remind students that every step in score and slip is important and cannot be skipped; if you do, you run the risk of your animal’s parts falling off! Mrs. Pittore and Mrs. McCarthy’s classes left their pots out to dry over the winter break. I’ve just pulled them out of the kiln and they look fantastic! At this stage, the clay is bisque. It has been fired once in the kiln, but it hasn’t been glazed yet. That is our next step!
2nd graders sketched an undersea scene using pencil and lightweight paper. We tried to focus on repetition in our compositions — either through repeating background elements, patterns, or textures. We taped our sketches onto a styrofoam plate and used a ballpoint pen to trace the drawing, making sure we pressed hard enough to create indentations on the styrofoam below.
After students finished tracing, we removed our original sketches. We used a brayer to roll ink onto our styrofoam plates. It was important that we roll out the ink evenly, and we had to be quick because it starts to dry fast! After inking, students carefully flipped their styrofoam ink-side down onto a piece of construction paper. We then used a baren to rub the paper against the plate. We had to make sure to get all the edges and corners! One of the biggest challenges in printmaking is not getting inky fingerprints on our work. Finally, students peeled their paper off the styrofoam to see their printed image. Amazing!
Second graders created snowmen using tempera paint and oil pastel. First they scoured the room for circles to trace! I put out a few good candidates — rolls of tape, yogurt containers, and condiment cups — but students were welcome to find anything round in the room that fit on the paper. We discussed why snowmen would have different-sized circles (the base needs to be large and stable enough to support the rest of the snow!). After students found and traced their circles, they used white tempera paint to add the snow. After the paint dried, students used oil pastels and other tempera colors to add details to their snowmen and their backgrounds.
1st graders painted paper for use in their self portrait collages. Each student painted a large sheet, which was then cut into quarters and shared with other classes. We used the backs of our paintbrushes to draw into the paint and create texture for our hair. When collaging, we thought about the shapes that make up our body parts. Our features and smaller details are a mixture of collage and drawing. I was impressed by the personality I can see shining through in each self portrait!
This week I brought in decorative gourds to share with the third graders. So far Mrs. Sheridan’s class has drawn gourd studies using pencil and Sharpie. Each table received a tray with two different gourds. Students were allowed to move around to each table to see different gourds throughout the class. We looked carefully at every detail and tried to draw our gourds realistically. Some of the things we paid attention to include the spacing of the ribs, the texture of the gourd, and the fact that the stem would be placed differently depending on the angle of the gourd. Next week we will use wet-on-wet watercolor technique to paint our gourd studies.
Kindergarten students have been hearing firebird stories in art class! The firebird is a magical bird that features in several Russian stories, including a ballet by Stravinsky. We worked on using simple shapes to draw a firebird and color it with markers. We then practiced our gluing skills by gluing the firebirds onto a frame and then collaging golden metallic paper onto our work. Students used the gold to create golden apples (they make the firebird’s voice sound beautiful!), golden swords, golden eggs, and even fire surrounding the firebird. One of the things we focus on in kindergarten is skill with materials — taking care of our art materials so they stay nice, using the right amounts, and keeping our artwork as neat as possible so that our viewers can focus on our creativity. Some of the things we are working on include:
- Capping markers when finished
- Carrying scissors safely
- Capping glue sticks when finished
- Twisting out an appropriate amount of glue
- Always applying glue to the back of the small thing, not the front of the big thing (my art room glue rule!)
3rd graders have finished their Georgia O’Keeffe sunflowers! After painting the outlines with tempera paint, we used oil pastels to add color. When deciding on our color palettes, we decided to use warm-cool opposites to help our sunflowers stand out. If students used a cool color for their background, they used warm colors for their petals, and vice versa. These particular sunflowers are currently brightening Mr. Satterfield’s office!