Thursday, November 8, 2018

AVS Veterans Day Artwork

A sign of a healthy school environment is one in which there is a strong sense of community and a collaborative spirit. FLEX artists have been busy in the studio creating artwork for our upcoming Veterans Day celebration. To honor the hard work and service that our visiting veterans completed at home and abroad, students created welcome banners and a special banner honoring the five branches of the military. We are looking forward to celebrating the visiting veterans service tomorrow at AVS with a variety of festivities, including music and meal served by students.

6th Grade Murals

6th grade artists again used the community garden theme in their work, this time as inspiration for group murals, now proudly displayed outside of the studio. Great team 6th grade artists!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

5th Grade Landscapes

5th grade artists at AVS recently completed their landscape illustrations using David Hockney's landscape paintings as inspiration. We reviewed horizon line, talked about basic perspective, and studied his use of color and pattern. Students were encouraged to choose a landscape that they are familiar with for this assignment like the view from their home, the landscape they drive through on the way to school, or a special place they love to visit. They they used the discussed elements and principles of design to reimagine their chosen landscape. The results are fabulous!

4th Grade Drawing from Nature

In connection with our Farnsworth Stories project, the 4th grade has continued their study of native tree species by completing drawings inspired by the trees that surround AVS. We began our illustrations by drawing from life outdoors. When then continued our work in the classroom, looking closely at different leaves and incorporating the leaves into our images. We then used a mixed media approach to add color to our work. The 4th graders were able to put these practiced skills to work again when we visited the arboretum at Merryspring Nature Center last week. Excellent job 4th graders!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

4th Grade Photography and Artistic Observation

4th graders have been honing their observational skills using the Appleton School grounds as their laboratory. We have been sketching different tree species and leaves, looking closely at the details and depicting them in our work. This week we started documenting two trees outside of our building, a pine and an oak using a new medium, photography. We are interested in noticing how the appearance of these two trees will evolve over time. Each week, two 4th grade photographers will take images of the trees both at a distance and up close. We will look for changes to the trees and their surroundings throughout the seasons. This photographic project is part of the work that we are completing for a year long study of native tree species and the role wood and lumbering plays in Maine's economy. Our studies of trees are central to our collaborative work with the Farnsworth Museum, a year long collaboration which culminates in an end of the year museum exhibit of the student's work related to this chosen topic.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Collaboration and Creative Reuse

Last week FLEX artists listened to the book Tar Beach read aloud by author and contemporary quilt artist Faith Ringold. We talked about the story, about overcoming obstacles and about creative reuse and how it connects to quilt making. We used our paper scraps from the previous week's Matisse collage collaborations to prepare for a recycled paper quilt project using the remains. We painted the scraps with fun and vibrant colors and patterns. This week, we looked at some of the quilts by the well known Gees Bend quilters. Inspired by their active, asymmetrical designs, we set about making interesting paper quilt blocks using our painted scraps. The blocks look fabulous! At week's end we will have enough created during FLEX time to assemble our recycled paper quilt. Nice work FLEX artists!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

6th Grade Community Gardens

6th graders started their artwork for this year's fundraiser in the community garden. We sketched plants from life, then returned to the studio to complete our sketches and configure interesting compositions by adding shape and detail to negative spaces. Students then practiced using drawing tools to outline sketches and create contrast. We also experimented with mixed media art making, combing colored pencil, crayon, watercolor and tempera paint. The results are beautiful!

Drawing What We See



At the beginning of the trimester, 8th graders were asked to share with me in writing what they found challenging about visual art in the past and what they hoped to improve on this year. Many students noted that the ability to draw more realistically was a priority for them. This is in keeping with Lowenfeld's stages of artistic development. As Lowenfeld notes, adolescent artists often seek realism as an indication of artistic merit and validity and become more easily disappointed if their work fails to represent their subject accurately. In order to support their growth in this area, I felt it was important to first distinguish for my students the difference between drawing what you know vs. drawing what you see. When we draw from life, we are better able to capture the sometimes unexpected but critical details that define things. We started by drawing what we believed the human eye to look like. Then, we completed detailed instruction on the drawing of the human eye and it's anatomy. The resulting images were vastly improved! Congrats 8th grade artists on your achievements!

2nd Grade Symmetry in Nature

In 2nd grade we have been working to integrate our art practice into their study of monarchs. We discussed symmetry and noticed how symmetry is present in nature, focussing on butterflies as an example of mirror symmetry. Students learned how to create a symmetrical work of art by drawing one half of an image and then burnishing the folded work to make an exact reflection of that image. once the students had created the basic form and understood the technique, they were encouraged to repeat the process, adding patterns and designs to be produced symmetrically. We then added paint to complete the work. The results have been fabulous. Terrific job 2nd grade artists!

Monday, September 24, 2018

FLEX For Learning and Exploring

We have a flexible period at AVS that I am lucky to participate in. When I reflected on how to best use this time to serve students, I realized, that ideally this period is a time for learning and exploring how the visual arts build community. This year during flex time, student artists are being introduced to artists and content that helps support our core values at AVS. We are focusing together on community art making specifically. Using an artist as inspiration, we set to work to apply new ideas and skills to collaborative works. This past week we worked together to create collaborative collages based on the work of Henri Matisse. Drawing, with scissors, we combined our abstract shapes to create dynamic works of art. Well done flex artists!

Collaboration in the Studio

Third graders have had many opportunities to practice our AVS core value of Respect in the studio through collaborative art making. We began by practicing collaboration through a painting exercise that involved moving about the room working into a variety of small scale paintings. Each student began a small painting with a circle and the collaboration continued from there. We learned that every artist contributes something unique to a piece and that sometimes a work changes dramatically from it's beginnings. When students were challenged by parts of their contributions being covered up, I reminded them that a painting is like a human body, it needs a skeleton to hold it up. Most successful paintings have many paintings beneath it. That what gives them depth. It was a fun and challenging exercise and culminated in some fabulous results. On day two, we passed back the work randomly and students were instructed on using drawing media to add to the pieces. We then gathered together at the end of class to arrange the work for display. Well done on your first studio collaboration 3rd graders!