Friday, March 16, 2012

8th Grade Mural Club

I really don't remember how exactly this came about, but sometime before the holiday break my principal mentioned that he would LOVE to have the school logo painted in the conference room...
Flash forward a couple months and after just a few hours, my excellent eighth graders have not only the school logo, but the public school's logo and the city seal started!

I was so excited to get the students going that I forgot my camera the first week.
We started out with yardsticks to measure our space. After we found the center, we projected an overhead of the school logo onto the wall. After a little more measuring, we decided how far apart and how much farther up the wall the other logos should go and projected the the next image. By the end of the first meeting, we had two logos traced and ready to be painted!
Over the weekend, I went to Lowe's and stared at paint chips for a half hour or so. I'm pretty pleased with the color selections and even more pleased with the reasonably priced sample size paint. Each container covers a four by four foot area. Our logos are about forty inches round, so we should have plenty of paint for under $40!

I can't wait to see the finished product!
I have to say too that its really incredible to see a dozen 13 and 14 year olds working together. I love it! And I'm jealous because I'm not painting anything! They have it all under control. So far I've just passed our wet paper towels for the"oops" and give some pointers here and there. They get to have all the fun!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

artist friends...

and those who consider themselves artists: 
                       if art teachers now or in the future were to base a lesson on you and your work, what would you want us to focus on?
for real, answer this!
it would be even more cool to teach a lesson and be able to skype with the artist!

if this were me, and I taught high school, I would teach a lesson focused on mark making with charcoal. I heavily relied on line in college drawing classes. I know there are other ways to make drawings, but this is what made sense to me.
And if I were to teach about... me... mark making and using lines to create value would be would be my focus.

I love to tell my student that I did NOT feel comfortable drawing faces until my junior year of collegeI voluntarily took 6 hour drawing classes on Friday afternoons because I loved putting on my headphones, focusing on the model and doing nothing but drawing, that much. Seriously, drawing classes were my electives as an art education major with a concentration in textile design. 
It wasn't until Daniel Ludwig came to a drawing class as a guest speaker, and husband of my professor, Anne Leone, that I realized there were BONES under that face and figured out how to make the muscles and skin appear like they were attached to the structure underneath. And that was it... attaching the muscles and skin to the structure underneath. I tell my middle school students now that its okay to start with a stick figure as long as its a stick figure with joints and that we attach some more information from there.

Between that and using my eraser as a drawing tool: starting with a medium tone and building or extracting from there... that would be my focus if I were to teach about me.
But what if I were to teach about YOU?
What elements, principles, techniques, process or ideas could I talk about?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bridget Riley and Op-Art

Grade 8 students recently learned about Bridget Riley and Op-Art. After reading an Art & Man article, students worked in groups of four to answer a few questions about where Riley gets her ideas and how she puts them on paper, then brainstormed a few ideas of their own. Above is our Facebook wall with examples of Op-Art, some background information and Riley's friend Viktor Vasserly. We also viewed a power point of other op- art works, pointing out what lines, shapes or spaces were repeated and how they were transformed.

We primarily focused on repeating and transforming a line, shape or space to show the illusion of depth, movement or visual confusion. I also placed great emphasis on craftsmanship. Students could decide what materials they wanted to use to add color: black or blue sharpie, markers or color pencil. Protractors, rules, compasses, triangles and tracers were also made available. It was difficult at first for some students as the possibilities were endless, but once they thought of a specific element and doodled on graph paper, things started moving.

I had multiple students ask me if I was related to Bridget Riley. Another even commented when he saw the photo on the board that he didn't know that I had dark hair before. 
What do you think?

For the record, I do think Riley looks like my mom!