Thursday, January 28, 2010

UE: New Year Dragons






Here are the majestic Chinese dragons. I found a neat craft online where you use an egg carton as the body of the dragon and paper for the rest. I love the waves that Logan added and Ella's extravagant color palette. Thank you parents for providing the cartons!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

LE: My Wild Thing and I


Zachery W.




It's not a surprise that there are Maurice Sendak fans and followers all over the world, particularly of his most popular book, Where the Wild Things Are. One artist made a blog of different interpretations of Sendak's beloved characters at The illustrations are absolutely stunning and so creative. I had to get in on the action, at least vicariously through my students! I first read them the story and they roared and stomped along. I then gave a demonstration on how to draw one of the wild things. For the final piece, students had to imagine what they would do if a wild thing were their friend. There are other great pieces in progress so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

UE Chinese Lanterns




UE students are preparing for their Chinese New Year celebration. We're making lanterns, money envelopes, mini dragons, etc., etc., etc. It's going to be a lot of fun.

LE: Tree of Life

Zachary Raymond




Gustav Klimt is one of my favorite artists. I love his sinuous lines, curvy women (which the students didn't get to see!) his use of patterns, and gold gold gold. We looked at the Tree of Life and The Kiss paintings and discussed the similarities in style. Then I gave a quick demo on how to draw a tree with spiral branches and students filled them in with gold tempera paint. Since it was their tree of life, they adorned their tree with people or things that were meaningful in their life, as well as other patterns. I always enjoy seeing a glimpse of students' values and personal life. They loved pretending that the paint was real gold!

Friday, January 15, 2010

LE: Birds of the Rainforest



mysterious artist who never claimed his piece..hmm..

Since animals were LE's big theme, I did another zoology-based lesson that focused on tropical birds. We briefly discussed basic facts about the rainforest before looking at Henri Rousseau’s paintings and examples of rainforest birds. Students drew colorful birds out of their imagination and filled the entire composition with color and foliage to create a dense atmosphere. Students drew with oil pastels and painted the background.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

UE: Children's Book Illustration

The Gingerbread Man

Little Red Riding Hood

The Princess and the Pea

The Velveteen Rabbit

Princess and the Pea

Little Red Riding Hood

I wanted to do a lesson on illustration because as an illustrator, I have a small experience in this field (although I'm very clueless most of the time!). I showed students my paintings and they analyzed them, guessing from the mood and action what the story was about. I showed them several other illustrations by different artists and we discussed how they used visual tools to communicate the story. We talked about colors, gestures, compositions, etc. Then students picked a classic story out of a hat and designed their own illustration, using whichever medium they wanted. During the sketch phase, we had a critique where each student showed their sketch to the class and received constructive criticism. I was really impressed by their positive feedback and loving how the finals are turning out. There are many more to come so stay tuned!

LE: Intergalactic




As a way to tie into LE's space theme, we drew planets in oil pastel on black paper, and splattered white paint for the stars. Students had just gotten back fro
m the Planetarium so they were really excited to do this lesson, so much that one of them interrupted me while I was talking and asked if they could just start, lol! Note to self: stop lecturing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

LE: Paint What You Feel

"Sunrise" ~Nathan

"Calm" ~Nick

"Happy and calm" ~Alden

If you see my art work, you'll understand why I didn't feel like I was the best person to teach students about expressive colors and abstract shapes, but why deny that opportunity to my students? I love Mark Rothko's paintings because to me, they don't ask you to analyze the content, rather they invite you to rest your eyes and let the colors wrap around you like a blanket. I wanted my students to think about the emotional qualities of color and choose the appropriate ones that communicated what they felt at that moment.

LE: The Art of Sound Part II



Sometimes when I run out of ideas, I think back to my RISD education. My freshman foundation year was particularly memorable, mostly of long nights when I would sleep at 4am or not at all, drawing on paper larger than my dorm room wall and having conversations about God with my friends. One professor, who looked like Einstein and always had black fingernails from drawing with charcoal, turned on some music, had us close our eyes and let the music guide our fingers. I was initially uncomfortable because it required me to relinquish control of the drawing, but that was the point. What resulted from those sessions were raw and beautiful Jackson Pollock like charcoal drawings as well as a small feeling of liberation.

I turned on some classical music, had students close their eyes and draw what they heard. They were surprisingly very attentive to the activity and weren't as conscientious of how it would turn out as I thought they would. Parents, if you're reading this, I apologize if your child came home with dirty clothes! I completely forgot to email you and warn you in advance.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

LE: Art of Sound




I was always amazed at Wassily Kandinsky's paintings and how he bridged the connection between art and music. He had the ability to literally hear color, a quality known as synaesthesia. The color red was like a drum beat and green was the sound of a violin. He also believed that shape, line, and color had emotional properties to them. With the help of my husband, a musician, we picked out songs that were distinct either in the instrumentation or the mood they expressed. I first had students fill in a "glossary of sounds", where they listened to samples of different instruments and drew the shapes, colors, or lines that came into mind. Then I played full songs while students cut and glued a final collage of sounds. In retrospect, I think I should have used a different medium that would have been faster to register and eliminate any potential for technical problems! Each song took 3 minutes to upload, which was not expected but did hinder the process. It was really interesting, however, to see students turning sounds into forms.

LE: Winter Trees




As a short winter themed project, I was inspired by Harry Callahan's photograph Chicago. It was a very simple lesson and the only challenge was to show the range of dark, light, and mid-tone, as Callahan so perfectly captured in his photograph. Students painted the gray sky first and then used straws to blow black paint into branches. I thought they came out beautiful in a creepy way.