Painting With Words. Writing With Color.
Applying what they have been learning about color, and its expressive potential, students created small ABSTRACT compositions. Using their visual composition as inspiration, students attempted to capture its essence in words. Students wrote a Haiku poem- matching the poetic form and its economy of words to the small size of their visual compositions.
Brent students will tell you that“art is a language” and that artists use the language of art (the elements, choices of medium) to communicate what they feel is important through their work. Pictures and sculptures are a way of communicating beliefs and ideas that cut across language and literacy barriers.
Recently, our artists at every grade level, have been considering how can you tell a story without using words. Wether it’s our smallest artists at play with shadow puppets, or our older artists creating collaged settings for a collaborative story. Our students are working on building literacy across disciplines.
Some of our oldest students even made themselves the hero of their own stories. Using their impressive imaginations, creative collage skills and daring drawings moves they conjured up multiple settings and narratives for their stories.
Constructing a narrative (visual, verbal or written) allows our students to be the authors of their creations. As the ones in charge, students practice planning, revising and paying attention to details-skills that will serve them well in and out of the classroom! I hope you enjoy seeing and hearing more of our storytellers’ great work.
I hope that everyone’s family had a wonderful holiday. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to stop and appreciate our friends and family. The break from work and school gives us time to reflect and catch up on the little tasks that often get overlooked. As I was relaxing and catching up, I was finally able to go through all of the photos on my phone. These are pictures of those great moments that you, as a teacher, capture in the middle of a project or lesson but then forget about as the day marches on. Going through the pictures and revisiting the memories, reminded me how thankful I am to be working with such open, creative, caring and dedicated artists. Below is a link to a photo gallery.
Hopefully, it will grow and expand and the year progresses.
In art class we often talk about the similarities between art and cooking. The artist, like a chef, takes a range of ingredients and transforms them into an unique dish. These past few weeks we have been reviewing some of our basic art ingredients (LINE, SHAPE, COLOR, TEXTURE, FORM) and investigating ways that artists have used the same ingredient in to create very different final products.
Like good chefs, it is important for artists to become very comfortable in their “kitchen.” An artist needs to have time to explore and experiment with their tools and materials. Experimentation and a healthy amount of play go into truly understanding and being able to utilize tools and materials to communicate an idea.
Likewise, generating ideas takes time, space and a respect for what is foremost in children’s minds. Over these last few weeks we have been discussing where artists get their ideas. As we have delved deeper into this question, we have come to the realization that the number of possible answers is endless. In our “If I Had a Magic Wand…” project, we experimented with using a teacher directed prompt to make work. We have also used other sources such as books, imagination, discussions with friends, popular culture, etc. to generate ideas. Not all of our ideas have been realized as “final projects” but as we become more comfortable with the process of generating, working-thru and refining our ideas the investment in and ownership over our work grows.
In these next few days you should begin to see some of the artwork from the first few weeks coming home. Some of the work may not look like the projects that students have brought home in the past. This year in the art room we are transitioning towards an approach to teaching art that puts an emphasis on teaching to develop artistic behaviors. Artistic behaviors such as problem solving, constructing knowledge, representing, reflecting, and connecting are skills that artists use but are also equally important outside of the art room. An important part of developing these behaviors is allowing students time and space to become comfortable with materials, ideas. As the year progresses, projects will start to take on a more finished quality.
Teaching for Artistic Behavior (or TAB as it is known) is a well-respected approach (http://teachingforartisticbehavior.org/resources/. According to Katherine M. Douglas and Diane B. Jaquith, two of the founders of the TAB movement, “Translating ideas to visual form can be both intellectual and visceral. Practice is necessary to acquire facility in expressing ideas, a central skill to all disciplines.”
As Clyde Gaw describes on his blog Transition to Choice Based Art Education http://clydegaw.blogspot.com, “As children participate in art-making activities in TAB classrooms, they witness for themselves the diversity of ideas, unique creative processes, learning styles and wide range of capabilities their fellow classmates possess. Children become more aware not only of their own creative capacities, but those of their fellow classmates. They see they have power to direct their learning and they see others using their power to do the same for themselves.”
I hope that you enjoy the work that your artist will soon be bringing home. Artwork, wether it is a draft, sketch or finished project, offers a window into its creator’s mind. Hopefully, these new works will open up some great conversations about our artists’ worlds.
The start of a new school year brings promise and excitement. I am excited to return to teaching Brent students about the visual arts in ways that communicate to them that I and we (as the larger Brent community) value their ideas and work.
The art room is a magical place. It is a unique space in the school environment where, for 45 minutes once a week, students are the experts . Brent students are expected to take care of the art studio, art materials, to learn cooperatively and responsibly. However when it comes to their personal artwork, students are the ultimate decision makers- choosing subjects, media and processes to achieve their desired outcome.
In the process of making a work an artist has to take his or her ideas and transform them into a tangible object. The skills and thought processes involved in this transformation are what makes art unique. Every time an artist sits down to create they have to negotiate the gulf between their intentions and reality. The piece that you envision is rarely the one that you actually create. In between these two pieces is where the real magic and meaning of art happen.
The final product is important; without it artists would have nothing to strive for and to measure their efforts against. However, if we only look at finished art and never participate in creating art we miss a critical understanding of the value of art.
It is important that we strive to communicate to our children that we value all of their artistic efforts and that we understand that children’s art does not need to look like adult work.
Sometimes a picture really is worth 1,000 words. Below are some of the beautiful paintings on display in the 2nd floor hallway. Students used their eyes to “zoom in” on details of flowers and created these beautiful Georgia O’Keeffe inspired creations.
Our Kindergarten artists have been learning about TEXTURE. In our previous lesson, we created castles using actual or “tactile” texture. Students used sand to made the castle walls feel bumpy, beans to make the ground feel rocky, tin foil to make the knights armor feel smooth, etc.
With this next project we turned our attention to a different type of texture. “Visual” texture is texture that you can see. To illustrate the difference between the two types of textures, we read Maurice Sendak’s classic book “Where The Wild Things Are.” Students observed the way that Sendak used lines to make his creatures appear, furry, scaly, prickly, etc.
After reading, students brainstormed ideas for different types of Wild Things. When students were ready, they experimented with the unique properties of clay to create imaginative sculptures. Using their hands and different types of tools, students scratched, carved and added lines to create the illusion of different textures on their wild things.
Our students know that through their artwork, artists communicate ideas and stories to their audience. The choices that an artist makes about what to include in their work (color, line, texture, detail) helps shape the viewer’s understanding of that work and the artist’s message. Our artists were very careful to include details in their Wild Thing work that would allow the viewer to understand something about their “Wild Thing” sculpture (the Wild Thing’s personality, where it lives, what it eats, etc.) simply by looking.