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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!