Stage III Art Blog

Britney's Earth Day Study

Our Messages, Our Art

 

      As is our Stage III art practice, Brittney began this study with a discussion of Earth Day and an investigation into recycled art. Britney infused her lesson with the spirit of inquiry, and the children's responses with impressive! Working with ideas that the children generated, teams of artists are working on envisioning, planning (using sketchbooks Brittney made) and constructing their collaborative artworks. We are off to a terrific start!

       Below is the letter children taking Class Art this Sign-Up brought home last week. If you child forgot to bring in items, feel free to send them in this week. 

Hello Parents and Blog Readers, 

My name is Brittney Mattson, and I am anOakland University Student Teacher working with Mary McGeehan and her Stage II andStage III students. I am excited to share with you my first Stage III lesson, entitled ecycled Ar. 

Inspired by the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, Paraguay and just in time forEarthDay, Stage III Class Art will be working collaboratively to create sculptures from recycled objects. 

This week, I would love for you and your children to explore your neighborhood or your home for objects that we may reuse to create works of art. 

Objects that are an interesting shape, color, or texture;itemsyouareconsideringthrowingaway, recycling or donating; and found objects are perfect for this project. 

Students are encouraged to bring 1 - 3 items to Mary’s Art Room on or before Friday, March 24. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all! I have had an incredible experience working with Mary and your children. Mary is the ideal mentor for any new art teacher, and I am so grateful to have had the experience to work with her in such a rich art program that is truly meaningful, student centered and unlike any other that I have experienced. Your children have enriched my student teaching experience in a way that will stay with me and inspire me through my career as an art educator. Your children have brought fantastic attitudes, maturity, intelligence,curiosity and innovation into the art room everyday. It has truly been a joyous and inspiring experience working with each and every one of them. 

Thank you for your time and for sharing a few pieces of your family with the class for our Recycled Art experience.

A Few More Water Pieces...

Chinelo's atmospheric pastel of the sea

Chinelo's atmospheric pastel of the sea

Lila C. incorporated charcoal on paint to create the dolphins' shadows. 

Lila C. incorporated charcoal on paint to create the dolphins' shadows. 

Thomas A's sea creatures jump on to the the page!

Thomas A's sea creatures jump on to the the page!

 

 

Chinese New Year, Water and Color

The Lunar New Year

One of our puppets inspired by the Year of the Rooster

One of our puppets inspired by the Year of the Rooster

       We thank Jennifer, Minuet’s mother, for planning and organizing our celebration of the Chinese New Year a few weeks ago. Our art studio became the Rooster Room! We shared a story about the origins of the Lunar Zodiac, and in honor of 2017, The Year of the Rooster, we created felt rooster inspired finger puppets. All Stage III homerooms participated.

Fiona G.'s rooster finger puppet

Fiona G.'s rooster finger puppet

Elisha creates a rooster puppet.

Elisha creates a rooster puppet.

WATER

   As the homerooms began their studies of the Great Lakes, we began exploring the concept of water in art classes. What does water mean to us? What are our memories of water? How can we describe our feelings and memories of water through art processes? Stage III artists imagined, sketched and planned their compositions. A few materials and techniques were introduced during each class, and quite an array of mediums and tools were chosen! Diverse photographs of bodies of water, waves and creatures helped inform us as we worked. We also enjoyed and analyzed water related artworks created by various artists, including Hokasai, Maya Lin, Ronnie Horn and Ellen Gallagher. From Japanese woodcuts to Maya Lin’s amazing Wave Field on the University of Michigan campus, we observed that every artist has a unique interpretations and vision to offer. 

Meadow's thumbnail sketches show us the process of planning a composition before beginning a piece. 

Meadow's thumbnail sketches show us the process of planning a composition before beginning a piece. 

Meadow brings her plan to life with her uses of watercolors and pastels. 

Meadow brings her plan to life with her uses of watercolors and pastels. 

Gabriella begins her composition using chalk pastel techniques. 

Gabriella begins her composition using chalk pastel techniques. 

Gavin layers watercolors with expressive brushstrokes to create his water piece. 

Gavin layers watercolors with expressive brushstrokes to create his water piece. 

Leah plans to add her sculpted whale to her canvas base. 

Leah plans to add her sculpted whale to her canvas base. 

Dallas uses a toothbrush to show us sea spray.

Dallas uses a toothbrush to show us sea spray.

Abbie creates an undersea world using watercolors and colored pencils. 

Abbie creates an undersea world using watercolors and colored pencils. 

Trent incorporated pencil drawings in his pastel rendering of a lake. 

Trent incorporated pencil drawings in his pastel rendering of a lake. 

Jonah's interpretation of our water study includes bottled water in a game room. 

Jonah's interpretation of our water study includes bottled water in a game room. 

Lila C. uses watercolors and charcoal to show us dolphins and their shadows. 

Lila C. uses watercolors and charcoal to show us dolphins and their shadows. 

Thomas creates an imaginary sea filled with creatures.

Thomas creates an imaginary sea filled with creatures.

Hannah creates creates dimensional waves for her beach scene in a box.

Hannah creates creates dimensional waves for her beach scene in a box.

Will creates a wave in the sea and the texture of land using modeling paste and acrylics on canvas.

Will creates a wave in the sea and the texture of land using modeling paste and acrylics on canvas.

Noah G. incorporates textures through his uses of oil and chalk pastels, watercolors, colored pencils and brush pens in his water composition.

Noah G. incorporates textures through his uses of oil and chalk pastels, watercolors, colored pencils and brush pens in his water composition.

THINKING IN COLOR

   We are exploring the amazing world of color is various ways in this class. Most of our classes begin with a study of color theory. We are bringing this knowledge of color relationships to our color translations. Choosing a random word from a basket, artists in this class are using acrylic paint on canvas and wood panels to “translate” their thoughts and feelings into paintings. How can we show the meanings of the words hungry or playful through color and brushstrokes? Here are a few of our expressive translations:

HUNGRY by Sadie

HUNGRY by Sadie

EMBARRASSED by Ren

EMBARRASSED by Ren

THRILLED by Lila

THRILLED by Lila

DISCOVERING by Emi

DISCOVERING by Emi

What is "FREE ART"?

Ren created Welcome to Happy Town during Free Art.

Ren created Welcome to Happy Town during Free Art.

   Children approach the art process in diverse ways. Some bring more physicality and expressiveness to our experiences, while others become immersed in detail. An integral piece of both the art program and our Philosophy is providing choice - choice of media, techniques and interpretation. Consequently, we don't all complete our work at the same moment, and when time allows, Free Art is an option. Free Art time is an opportunity to explore art materials or express our thinking and feelings through drawing. Free Art can also be a much needed respite when one is working through an art problem or having a challenging day.  

The above photographs were taken by Brittney and myself. We'll be sending out a new post featuring The Art of Reading, a collaborative class taught by Myself, Brittney and Carmen, next week. 

                                                                              

 

First Year Self-Portraits, Our Paper Zoo and Second Year Landscapes

First Year Self-Portraits

        Using self-portrait mirrors, First Year artists studied their faces and drew from observation. Our drawings progressed over a few classes; we talked about the shapes and proportions of our features and began to add color, using choices of materials. Our study included looking at various self-portraits, from Rembrandt to contemporary artists. As we investigated and discussed these artworks, we talked about the artists' uses of the elements and principles of design. Thinking about creating contrast and harmony, each artist chose media to create their face and background. I love the ways these portraits reflect each child's uniqueness. 

" I am a Stage III First Year in Lisa and Laura's class. I really like dogs and, and I really like making art. I also like creating things out of anything - like cardboard boxes and sequins. I really like making things out of clay." By Dallas

" I am a Stage III First Year in Lisa and Laura's class. I really like dogs and, and I really like making art. I also like creating things out of anything - like cardboard boxes and sequins. I really like making things out of clay." By Dallas

"I really like art because when I do art, I feel magic glowing around me." By Emi

"I really like art because when I do art, I feel magic glowing around me." By Emi

"I like using my imagination, and I like drawing, especially in art class. And, I like to read." By Chase

"I like using my imagination, and I like drawing, especially in art class. And, I like to read." By Chase

"I am Mackenzie, and I have loved painting my whole life." 

"I am Mackenzie, and I have loved painting my whole life." 

"I like when there's peace. I don't like war." By Grayson

"I like when there's peace. I don't like war." By Grayson

"I am the funniest person ever!" By Noah A.

"I am the funniest person ever!" By Noah A.

"I'm a First Year in Stage III, and I like art and playing with clay, and I like my classmates. I'm in Shannon and Jensen's class, and I'm having a good year." By Rosie. 

"I'm a First Year in Stage III, and I like art and playing with clay, and I like my classmates. I'm in Shannon and Jensen's class, and I'm having a good year." By Rosie. 

"I love art and Star Wars, and I really like Stage III. It's fun to be in my homeroom and be with my friends." By Gavin

"I love art and Star Wars, and I really like Stage III. It's fun to be in my homeroom and be with my friends." By Gavin

"I am seven years old. I like to play with my little brother Liam a lot, and I like to read and do art." By Brigid

"I am seven years old. I like to play with my little brother Liam a lot, and I like to read and do art." By Brigid

Our Paper Zoo

          Our Drawing from Life class visited the zoo last month. Drawing the animals in motion was challenging, but our experience was filled with wonderfully focused, keenly observant and fun moments. Thanks to the families who joined us, and to Leslie and my daughter Emma for helping out on our trip. We created backgrounds using watercolors before our trip to the zoo. Using the sketches we crated at the zoo, we drew our animals with Prismacolors. Here are  a few:

Our artists draw in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. 

Our artists draw in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. 

Reagan captures a swimming penguin.

Reagan captures a swimming penguin.

Gavin M. shows us his view of a penguin swimming above him. 

Gavin M. shows us his view of a penguin swimming above him. 

Colin shows us an endearing pair of penguins. 

Colin shows us an endearing pair of penguins. 

Thomas captures a stalking tiger. 

Thomas captures a stalking tiger. 

Second Year Landscapes

         Each Second Year group of children voted on their favorite Roeper place, and every group overwhelmingly chose our woods and creek! Fortunately, we had some beautiful autumn days to work in our outdoor studio. Sheets of balsa wood provided an interesting surface on which to draw. We talked about the attributes of various media, and each artist chose among pencils, charcoal, pastels and watercolors. We discussed various artistic approaches to creating landscapes, from The Hudson Valley School to the imaginary landscapes of Takashi Murakami. We also had conversations about arranging art elements and building compositions. The art principles of contrast, texture and unity were stressed throughout the process. These pieces reflect the children's love of our outdoor spaces. 

Fiona and Lila sketch by the creek.

Fiona and Lila sketch by the creek.

Meira uses photographs of her view as reference as she completes her art in our studio. 

Meira uses photographs of her view as reference as she completes her art in our studio. 

Salem show us his bird's eye view from the top of Tire Mountain.

Salem show us his bird's eye view from the top of Tire Mountain.

Goni chose a single fallen leaf on Tire Mountain to draw.

Goni chose a single fallen leaf on Tire Mountain to draw.

Bear's lines and colors capture a detail from the creek.

Bear's lines and colors capture a detail from the creek.

Lila shows the diverse textural qualities of the woods and creek through her uses of various media. 

Lila shows the diverse textural qualities of the woods and creek through her uses of various media. 

Rebecca's layers of rich color suggest the changing season.

Rebecca's layers of rich color suggest the changing season.

Dominic creates contrast through the tints and shades of his colors. 

Dominic creates contrast through the tints and shades of his colors. 

Meira captures the wind in the trees.

Meira captures the wind in the trees.

Welcome to Stage III Art 2016/2017

Class Art

First Year Artists

   

"The Domes are special to me. They got me to Roeper. I visited in the Domes and I ended up loving Roeper, and now I'm here." Mackenzie

"The Domes are special to me. They got me to Roeper. I visited in the Domes and I ended up loving Roeper, and now I'm here." Mackenzie

      After discussing our various Roeper buildings and structures, each group of First Years voted on one to study and illustrate. We took our drawing boards and materials to our sites and drew from thoughtful observation. The experience was enriched by homeroom conversations regarding the histories of the buildings and by the children's personal observations and feelings. We spent a few classes drawing outside, and then we referenced photos of our views as we added color using choices of water colors paint and pencils, oil pastels and Prismacolors. 

"I think the Hill House is a really good place. I think it made Roeper." Nolan

"I think the Hill House is a really good place. I think it made Roeper." Nolan

"I like the CCB because the gym has a lot of space. It's big and it holds the lunchroom and music rooms." Henry B.

"I like the CCB because the gym has a lot of space. It's big and it holds the lunchroom and music rooms." Henry B.

"I think the Domes are unique. They are amazing! I loved being in the Domes with Michelle and Patti." Meadow

"I think the Domes are unique. They are amazing! I loved being in the Domes with Michelle and Patti." Meadow

"I like the new Trojan Horse better because it has a slide, and I like climbing the slide." Sadie

"I like the new Trojan Horse better because it has a slide, and I like climbing the slide." Sadie

"The Hill House is a really cool place because there are a lot of rooms and it has a basement and layers of upstairs." Thomas A.

"The Hill House is a really cool place because there are a lot of rooms and it has a basement and layers of upstairs." Thomas A.

"The Hill House is a unique building because a lot of special people lived there, like Jimmy and Vi and Annemarie and George. Roeper is lucky to have this amazing place, and Stage I is there. It's great to sit by the trees or play with a friend there. It's a peaceful and quiet place." Gabriella

"The Hill House is a unique building because a lot of special people lived there, like Jimmy and Vi and Annemarie and George. Roeper is lucky to have this amazing place, and Stage I is there. It's great to sit by the trees or play with a friend there. It's a peaceful and quiet place." Gabriella

 

Drawing from Life

    We've been creating studies of everything from clouds to one another in this art elective class. Using chalk pastels and various art pencils, we've been focusing on developing our visual acuity and drawing skills. We rendered autumn vegetables and fruits and some of the nasturtium from my garden. We've also been working on capturing movement in life. On a beautiful day a few weeks ago, we took our drawing boards to the field and created pastel renderings of clouds. This week, we are posing for on another as we create our gesture drawing compositions. These experiences help prepare us for our upcoming drawing field trip to the zoo. 

Leah's uniquely designed composition shows us the variations of colors in a nasturtium plant. 

Leah's uniquely designed composition shows us the variations of colors in a nasturtium plant. 

Our subjects for still life compositions

Our subjects for still life compositions

Jacob M.'s thumbnail drawings illustrate his thinking process in planning his still life. He's arranging his subjects in thoughtful ways and will use his favorite composition for his final piece. 

Jacob M.'s thumbnail drawings illustrate his thinking process in planning his still life. He's arranging his subjects in thoughtful ways and will use his favorite composition for his final piece. 

Ahana's rich layers of color show us the beautiful complexities of the Roman bean ad mango. 

Ahana's rich layers of color show us the beautiful complexities of the Roman bean ad mango. 

Rocco captures the textural qualities and rich color of his pumpkin. 

Rocco captures the textural qualities and rich color of his pumpkin. 

     

The Farm

    We had a beautiful day at Bob and Sue's farm. Thanks to all of you who joined our drawing workshops. Exploring and investigating the beauty of the natural world is a wonderful way to share art with children. Not only does this experience foster a sense of wonder, but it helps develop our artists' eyes and habits of mind. Here are few of the pieces we created using Prismacolor pencils on mylar. 

Kennedy creates a terrific composition with her use of space in this drawing of a frog. 

Kennedy creates a terrific composition with her use of space in this drawing of a frog. 

August captures the gestural qualities of these wild grasses through his uses of line and color.

August captures the gestural qualities of these wild grasses through his uses of line and color.

Meira was very motivated to complete this beautiful rendering of milkweed and worked on it during our lunch break! 

Meira was very motivated to complete this beautiful rendering of milkweed and worked on it during our lunch break! 

Art Room Agreements

    We had many conversations regarding art room agreements during our first weeks of school. What kind of en environment helps us feel safe and motivated to create art? We compiled many responses to this questions and settled on agreements. We agreed to be respectful of one another and supportive of our efforts. Many children talked about "doing our best" and we all decided that everyone's "best" is different. There are many, many diverse ways to be successful in art. And, as a teacher, sharing the unexpected use of an art tool or unique interpretation of a concept is exciting!

* My goal is to include images from each Stage III artist - eventually!

Stage III Art Updates

Stage III Art Updates

First Year Self-Portraits

         The process of creating our self-portraits was a challenging one. Using self-portrait mirrors, we thoughtfully observed our faces. We talked a lot about the placement and proportions of our features. Each artist brought a unique perspective and vision to her or his portrait. Encouraged to explore paint and other media, each portrait reflects the artist’s expressive style and creative choices. It is through creative challenges that children develop skills and wonderful habits of mind.

Zora’s words express her creative process:

"I really put a lot of effort into my face. When Mary told us we would be doing this, I was not thrilled. But, when I realized that it’s not what it is that counts, it’s the thought, I got really excited. Now, I’m done and proud of my work!"

Ahana mixes many blues and greens and adds golden waves as she creates her beautiful background!

Ahana mixes many blues and greens and adds golden waves as she creates her beautiful background!

Ren shows us his lost teeth in this joyful self-portrait.

Ren shows us his lost teeth in this joyful self-portrait.

Khalil surrounds his face with yellow, and creates a dynamic contrast in his portrait.

Khalil surrounds his face with yellow, and creates a dynamic contrast in his portrait.

Our Outdoor Studio

First Year Artists

     Our woods and creek are among the most cherished places on our campus. While the weather was warm, we lugged our materials and drawing boards down to the creek near Tire Mountain. Each artist chose a view; some had an instant affinity for the leaves floating on the water, while others were drawn to a more panoramic view. Later, we worked from photos of our views, and the children chose from a range of materials as they completed their Outdoor Studio compositions. The pieces are on display in the Steward Building lobby, hallways and library. Here are a few -  

Bree captures the textures and colors of the creek through her complex colors, expressive lines and dynamic use of space.

Bree captures the textures and colors of the creek through her complex colors, expressive lines and dynamic use of space.

Carter captures the beauty and gestures of the trees in this beautiful composition.

Carter captures the beauty and gestures of the trees in this beautiful composition.

Miera's joyful landscape is filled with exciting textures and colors.

Miera's joyful landscape is filled with exciting textures and colors.

Will captures the graceful gestures of branches in the woods.

Will captures the graceful gestures of branches in the woods.

Dominic mixed and layered many subtle shades of brown while creating his beautiful tree.

Dominic mixed and layered many subtle shades of brown while creating his beautiful tree.

Reagan noticed a paper bin and added the collage process to her repertoire of techniques in this exciting piece.

Reagan noticed a paper bin and added the collage process to her repertoire of techniques in this exciting piece.

Cadence's love of color is reflected in her beautifully inventive leaves.

Cadence's love of color is reflected in her beautifully inventive leaves.

Lila's artistic style is clearly reflected in this dynamic composition.

Lila's artistic style is clearly reflected in this dynamic composition.

Thomas creates lots of movement through his use of line and space in his exciting painting of a tree.

Thomas creates lots of movement through his use of line and space in his exciting painting of a tree.

The Outdoor Studio

Second Year Artists

Maureen: "When you go outside to draw, you feel the essence of the place - the woods and creek."
Ivana: "Being outside is like magic. It makes me feel more...open!"

       The weather could not have been more cooperative during this second Sign-Up! We enjoyed observing the changes as we visited the woods and creek over a period of a few weeks. Taking our Prismacolor pencils, charcoal and oil pastels down to the creek, we added layers of detail and color as we listened to the creek. It was a wonderfully peaceful (most of the time!) art experience.

Lydia combines and layers oil pastels to achieve the complexity of color she is observing in the creek.

Lydia combines and layers oil pastels to achieve the complexity of color she is observing in the creek.

Hollis focuses on the subtle textures and colors of the waterfall in the creek. You can almost hear it!

Hollis focuses on the subtle textures and colors of the waterfall in the creek. You can almost hear it!

Bibi shows us two views - the changing color of an autumn leaf and a richly layered view of the creek.

Bibi shows us two views - the changing color of an autumn leaf and a richly layered view of the creek.

Sophia's piece captures the subtle beauty of a simple bush in the autumn woods.

Sophia's piece captures the subtle beauty of a simple bush in the autumn woods.

In this close-up, Andrew uses an inventive approach to show us the textural quality of bark.

In this close-up, Andrew uses an inventive approach to show us the textural quality of bark.

Leia captures the grace of fallen leaves in her in-process composition.

Leia captures the grace of fallen leaves in her in-process composition.

Natalia shows us two diverse views: a bird's eye view of the creek and a close-up of the same view. She creates form in this piece through her skillful use of light and shadow.

Natalia shows us two diverse views: a bird's eye view of the creek and a close-up of the same view. She creates form in this piece through her skillful use of light and shadow.

Katerina creates textural beauty and perspective in this drawing of the woods and creek.

Katerina creates textural beauty and perspective in this drawing of the woods and creek.

Katie's composition is enlivened by her rich and creative use of color.

Katie's composition is enlivened by her rich and creative use of color.

ASSEMBLAGES

A Stage III Art Elective Class

1st and 2nd Sign-Ups

   We were all inspired, intrigued and delighted by the art of Nick Cave. his artwork, as well as the work of other artists, informed our experiences. Nick Cave's Soundsuits explore the concept of identity and the narratives we create. Since art is a visual language, we can use materials to create our own visual narratives. Using styrofoam heads as bank canvases, we planned, investigated materials and constructed our own imagined identities. Our creatures and characters took evolved as we investigated media and techniques. Some artists used wire as an armature and added plaster. Others painted with great care and intention, adding layers and details. Everyone seemed to enjoy digging into our bins of found and donated materials! We have quite an assortment of characters, from a queen of the forest to a Martian. Here are a few of the completed pieces - 

Salem's inventive use of bouncy balls gives this creature a whimsical aspect. 

Salem's inventive use of bouncy balls gives this creature a whimsical aspect. 

Anjali helps Leia apply glitter to her vivid piece.

Anjali helps Leia apply glitter to her vivid piece.

Ta'Teyanna's creative discoveries are reflected in her exuberant piece.

Ta'Teyanna's creative discoveries are reflected in her exuberant piece.

Clara's Rabbit Creature makes a vivid visual statement!

Clara's Rabbit Creature makes a vivid visual statement!

Jane's beautifully imagined and constructed piece reflects a rich narrative.

Jane's beautifully imagined and constructed piece reflects a rich narrative.

Lucas's in-process creature is inventive and intriguing!

Lucas's in-process creature is inventive and intriguing!

Betsy's wonderful Crazy Forest Lady was inventively imagined and constructed.

Betsy's wonderful Crazy Forest Lady was inventively imagined and constructed.

Clare's artfully and skillfully created character makes a strong fashion statement!

Clare's artfully and skillfully created character makes a strong fashion statement!

Asher's fabulous Duck Creature was purposefully constructed and embellished.

Asher's fabulous Duck Creature was purposefully constructed and embellished.

Abby was very judicious in her use of materials as she created her artful piece.    

Abby was very judicious in her use of materials as she created her artful piece.

 

 

A Few Words About the Art Process

  I recently came across an article entitled, The Role of the Arts in Transforming Consciousness, from Yale University. This piece resonates with me because I find that much of what the author talks about relates directly to our recent experiences in the Stage III studio - and in our Outdoor Studio. I also believe that it is especially pertinent, given our gifted children. Here are a few excerpts:

The arts invite us to attend to the qualities of sight, sound, taste and touch, so that we experience them; what we are after in the arts is the ability to perceive things, not merely to recognize them. We are given permission to slow down perception, to look hard, to savor the qualities that we try, under normal conditions, to treat so efficiently that we hardly notice them.

Another cognitive function of the arts is that in the process of creation they stabilize what would otherwise be evanescent. Ideas and images are very difficult to hold onto unless they are inscribed in a material that gives them a kind of semi-permanence. The arts, as vehicles through which such inscriptions occur, enable us to inspect more carefully our ideas, whether those ideas emerge as visual art, music or in a form of language... The arts are a means of exploring our own interior landscapes... They provide resources for experiencing the range and varieties of our responsive capacities.  

Happy Thanksgiving to All -

Next Post: More assemblages and Second Year self-portraits. I make an effort to make sure every Stage III child is represented in our blog over the course of the school year.

 


 

 

                               


 

WELCOME TO STAGE III ART 2015-16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bottomless Toy Chest Stage III Art Opening and More Stage III Art

Bottomless Toy Chest Opening

"Painting is creative, and if you are sick, or very ill, painting will bring you peace and joy. It will keep your mind off of being sick!"                                                                                                        Clara Y.

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         Thanks to all of you who were able to join us for the opening last Wednesday evening. And, for those of you who were unable to come, the photos above show you our wonderful Stage III art in the lobby of the Bottomless Toy Chest warehouse. Thanks to all our Stage III artists for creating such joyful art! Everyone - volunteers and patients alike - will appreciate our heartfelt installation. Thanks also to Mickey for creating such a cheerful space and providing delicious treats for the event.

Stephen's accordion book filled with seed images

SEEDS

        Sharing a class with Dianne is always a a wonderful adventure! We've been working together for many, many years, and we love finding commonalities between our two disciplines - there are many! Inspired by the beauty and amazing properties of seeds, we investigated them in both the studio and lab. Using knees and elbows, we created organic vessels out of clay. Later, they housed seedlings planted with Dianne. A study of the Chinese artist, Ai WeiWei, led to our painting and printmaking studies of sunflowers. Our accordion art books feature various renderings, prints and drawings from our close observations of seeds. 

Our SEEDS books on display

Our SEEDS books on display

Marin's maple seed

Marin's maple seed

Ian's rendering of a bean seed

Ian's rendering of a bean seed

Anjali's print of a seed

Anjali's print of a seed

It's All Happening at the Zoo!

      Inspired by our Stage III trip to the zoo, we created animal studies in Stage III art Class Art during this last Sign-Up. Using photographs as references, and our memories of the animals we saw, we created renderings. Our drawings were tonal; using charcoal, Prismacolor pencils and pastels, we drew on tinted paper. Here are a few of our pieces:

Luke S. creates a bird.

Luke S. creates a bird.

Alexi renders a cardinal and later incorporates one into  his sports themed comic. 

Alexi renders a cardinal and later incorporates one into  his sports themed comic. 

Cosey's baby cheetah clings to a tree.

Johnathan creates an owl.

Johnathan creates an owl.

Maddie creates a dolphin.

Maddie creates a dolphin.

Lucas B.'s cardinal in the berry bushes. 

Lucas B.'s cardinal in the berry bushes. 

Ben P.S.'s fierce lion.

Ben P.S.'s fierce lion.

Ben Tar, our visiting Stage II artist, renders a dog.

Ben Tar, our visiting Stage II artist, renders a dog.

Dayna surrounds her cat in red!

Dayna surrounds her cat in red!

Fritz incorporates two animals in his scene!

Fritz incorporates two animals in his scene!

Cartooning!

    Learning both from our experiences drawing animals, and from our visiting author, Jarrett Krosoczka, we ended our Class Art Sign-Up with a cartooning study. Thinking about Jarrett's process of studying animals, building stories and developing a personal cartooning style, we created our own comics. Here are a few:

Nick creates a turbulent plane ride in his comic!

Nick creates a turbulent plane ride in his comic!

Marin and Sofia collaborate!

Marin and Sofia collaborate!

Ben N.M. creates The Chronicles of Mr. Man.

Ben N.M. creates The Chronicles of Mr. Man.

Amelia invents a character with a multi-colored face.

Amelia invents a character with a multi-colored face.

Looks like Nate better focus! - by Camryn.

Looks like Nate better focus! - by Camryn.

It was a normal morning.... by Abby!

It was a normal morning.... by Abby!

Vaughn character's arms melt into wings!

Vaughn character's arms melt into wings!

Clara invents a comedy with ice cream cones.

Clara invents a comedy with ice cream cones.

I thank you for a wonderful year of art with your children, and I wish all of you a summer filled with lots of discovery, wonder, artful moments and joy! - Mary 

Stage III Art Opening at the Bottomless Toy Chest

Stage III Artists Create Art for the Bottomless Toy Chest

Ben P.S. creates a vibrant and fun painting of a minion for our Stage III Bottomless Toy Chest art installation.  

Ben P.S. creates a vibrant and fun painting of a minion for our Stage III Bottomless Toy Chest art installation.  

           We thank Bonnie Schemm for designing and sending out our beautiful invitations for the upcoming Bottomless Toy Chest opening. Our Stage III artists have created some joyful pieces! Here are a few words from the children about this organization:

" I really like the Bottomless Toy Chest because now there is a way we can help get kids' minds off their cancer - so they can have the experience of playing with toys." - Cameryn

" Well, I think the Bottomless Toy Chest is a great community service. I'm grateful to them for working so hard to bring toys to sick kids. They can be happy playing instead of sad and scared." - Maureen

Cosey creates a whimsical and fun stuffed animal in this beautifully painted piece. 

Inspired by her mom, Maureen paints this expressive rendering of Raggady Ann.

Inspired by her mom, Maureen paints this expressive rendering of Raggady Ann.

Jane recreates a much loved toy from her mother's childhood in her vibrant painting.

Jane recreates a much loved toy from her mother's childhood in her vibrant painting.

Luke S. shows us that art can be joyful! There is an easel within an easel within....

Luke S. shows us that art can be joyful! There is an easel within an easel within....

Vaughn creates a dynamic version of a favorite game - Candy Land.

Vaughn creates a dynamic version of a favorite game - Candy Land.

Dayna's joyful playroom reflects her love of toys AND art!

Dayna's joyful playroom reflects her love of toys AND art!

Lucas B.'s sense of humor and his enthusiasm  for his team are reflected in this fanciful painting. 

Lucas B.'s sense of humor and his enthusiasm  for his team are reflected in this fanciful painting. 

Frida and Diego

         Inspired by the ways Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera incorporated their strong beliefs into their art, each artist in this class created a piece with a message. The Detroit Industry murals we examined and enjoyed at the DIA were particularly inspiring. Rivera was clearly passionate about the the rights of workers, the interconnectedness of the North and South and the benefits and challenges of our industrial world. Children in this class were most thoughtful as they considered and decided on themes for their work. They are on display in the Steward Building. Our Frida and Diego elective class ended with an "Art Lunch" filled with Mexican music and pastries. We had pumpkin empenadas, Mexican Flag cookies, biscochitos and more!

Andrew hopes that no one will hunt wolves again in Michigan.

Andrew hopes that no one will hunt wolves again in Michigan.

Lily feels strongly that horses should be treated with respect.

Lily feels strongly that horses should be treated with respect.

Elyse captures the spirit and freshness of the season with her painting of flowers during our still life study. 

Elyse captures the spirit and freshness of the season with her painting of flowers during our still life study. 

We chose our "Art Lunch" desserts from this Diego Rivera designed plate!

We chose our "Art Lunch" desserts from this Diego Rivera designed plate!








Family Night, Frida and Diego and the First Buds of Spring

Family Night

Thanks to all the families who visited our artful market place during the Stage III Family Night! All the clay pieces are sorted by homeroom and ready to go home. The pieces are fragile, so I'm hoping parents can pick them up - perhaps during conferences. Bags are available on the tables. Thanks! Here are a few examples of our Ancient Roman inspired egg tempera paintings, clay pieces and mural art:

IMG_5115.jpg

Clara Y.'s egg tempera painting features a beautiful pear. 

Adeline mixed various pigments with egg yolk to create her subtle range of colors.

Adeline mixed various pigments with egg yolk to create her subtle range of colors.

Lucas B. enjoys looking at things very closely and chose to focus on an artichoke. 

Lucas B. enjoys looking at things very closely and chose to focus on an artichoke. 

Marin creates contrast with her choice of colors in this lively composition.

Marin creates contrast with her choice of colors in this lively composition.

Alex T. creates a dynamic composition with his use of space.

Alex T. creates a dynamic composition with his use of space.

Elyse creates a unique composition and vibrant painting through her uses of space and color. 

Elyse creates a unique composition and vibrant painting through her uses of space and color. 

Aiden shows us the rich and varied colors of his subjects in this beautifully composed piece. 

Aiden shows us the rich and varied colors of his subjects in this beautifully composed piece. 

Christopher mixes many yellows and oranges to create a vivid sun for our mural.

Christopher mixes many yellows and oranges to create a vivid sun for our mural.

Alex M. creates a very realistic looking scorpion for our marketplace vista.

Alex M. creates a very realistic looking scorpion for our marketplace vista.

Teddy incorporated his knowledge of Ancient Roman mythology as he constructed these wonderful pieces. 

Teddy incorporated his knowledge of Ancient Roman mythology as he constructed these wonderful pieces. 

Carter's creature has beautifully flowing appendages.

Carter's creature has beautifully flowing appendages.

A.J. transformed his inventive lamp into a fish with a lid!

A.J. transformed his inventive lamp into a fish with a lid!

Abby adds texture and Ancient Roman inspired designs to her beautiful pot.

Abby adds texture and Ancient Roman inspired designs to her beautiful pot.

Asher created an Ancient Roma inspired key design for his beautiful lantern.

Asher created an Ancient Roma inspired key design for his beautiful lantern.

Frida and Diego: A Stage III Elective Class

 

        This class is inspired by the art and lives of these two great Mexican artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Instead of creating mimetic art, our conversations have centered around the ways they approached painting - their inspirations. One of the most distinctive aspects of Frida's portraits and Diego's easel paintings is the predominance of flowers. And, were are all pretty tired of winter, so it was fun to fill the art room with lots of greenery and blooms! We began by planning our still life paintings on paper. Next, we blocked our compositions in with neutral paint on large canvas panels. Then, we spent classes mixing acrylics and painting layers of color. Some of use decided to add chalk pastel to our still life paintings. They will be on display on the bulletin board in the hallway of the Steward Building. 

        A field trip to the DIA is being planned for this class. Our focus will be the Detroit Industry Murals in the Rivera Court. I had a professional development grant to study the Rivera Court, and I created guides for the children. We will also peruse and enjoy other galleries in the DIA. Due to the adult content, we will not visit the current show featuring Rivera and Kahlo in Detroit.

The Fower Seller - Diego Rivera

The Fower Seller - Diego Rivera

A glimpse of our large flower still life in the art studio

A glimpse of our large flower still life in the art studio

Ivana mixes acrylics to add to her blocked in composition of flowers.

Ivana mixes acrylics to add to her blocked in composition of flowers.

Matthew's lively canvas captures the gestures of the flowers and greens.

Matthew's lively canvas captures the gestures of the flowers and greens.

This close-up of Lily's painting shows the thoughtful attention she gave to her graceful subjects.

This close-up of Lily's painting shows the thoughtful attention she gave to her graceful subjects.

With his vibrant use of color, Lucas M. creates a joyful celebration of his subjects

With his vibrant use of color, Lucas M. creates a joyful celebration of his subjects

Andrew creates harmony in this piece with his unique use of color and line.

Andrew creates harmony in this piece with his unique use of color and line.

Ivana's choice of a black background make her flowers "jump" off the canvas.

Ivana's choice of a black background make her flowers "jump" off the canvas.

The First Buds of Spring: Class Art

We searched on the playground, and I searched in my gardens, to find the first buds of spring. After collecting twigs from several trees, bushes and a few early flowers from bulbs, we began our study of these beautifully delicate and detailed objects from nature. First, we took a very thoughtful look at these objects. Next, we arranged them on paper towels and drew thumbnail sketches. During each of these steps, the children were encouraged to truly "see" - an experience which is transferable to many areas of the curriculum. After studying the thumbnail sketches, we drew contours of our compositions using charcoal pencils on tonal paper. This is experience requires creative as well as critical thinking. Slowing down the process seems to bring out both intellectual and creative strengths of the children. And, we are reminded that new life is beginning again!

Alyssa ponders her objects and creates four possible compositions.Her attention to the use of space and the principles of design are evidenced in these drawings. 

Alyssa ponders her objects and creates four possible compositions.Her attention to the use of space and the principles of design are evidenced in these drawings. 

Katerina begins her beautiful drawing on tonal paper.

Katerina begins her beautiful drawing on tonal paper.

Will adds pastel pencil to capture the beauty of this snowdrop. 

Will adds pastel pencil to capture the beauty of this snowdrop. 

Jane pays close attention to the subtle gestures and details of her plants in this exciting composition.

Jane pays close attention to the subtle gestures and details of her plants in this exciting composition.


Reflections on our Third Sign-Up

The Art of the Still Life

Maddie's still life dances on the page! (FYI - those are spring water bottles!)

Maddie's still life dances on the page! (FYI - those are spring water bottles!)

         While visiting my children in NYC during Thanksgiving break, I was able to spend time enjoying the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition at MOMA. It was a joyful, inspiring and beautiful show. Wanting to share Matisse's creative process with the children, I incorporated many of Matisse's processes into our third Sign-Up study of the still life. The study was designed to encourage children to explore color theory and composition. Since emulating the art of Matisse would have limited creativity and intellectual engagement, we focused on the artist's PROCESS of investigating color relationships and other art elements. We also had fun looking at many diverse approaches to the still life. We began by creating thumbnail sketches of our large still life:

Each child chose a view and investigated various arrangements of art elements through their thumbnail sketches.

Each child chose a view and investigated various arrangements of art elements through their thumbnail sketches.

Kevin creates various arrangements and chooses the one he considers best for his final piece.

Kevin creates various arrangements and chooses the one he considers best for his final piece.

Using the color wheel, Stage III artists invented many colors as they painted papers for their cut-outs. 

Using the color wheel, Stage III artists invented many colors as they painted papers for their cut-outs. 

Bibi arranges color and shape as she constructs her composition with her painted papers.

Conor creates contrast through his uses of art elements in his composition.

Conor creates contrast through his uses of art elements in his composition.

Clara C.'s brightly colored papers POP on the black surface!

Clara C.'s brightly colored papers POP on the black surface!

Ian used space and color in unique ways in his still life.

Ian used space and color in unique ways in his still life.

Kevin's sketches come to life in his final piece.

Kevin's sketches come to life in his final piece.

Matthew S. celebrates the color red in his lively composition.

Matthew S. celebrates the color red in his lively composition.

Camryn incorporates subtle detail into her lovely composition. 

Camryn incorporates subtle detail into her lovely composition. 

Our Imaginative Structures!

      After building, wrapping and painting, our structures were complete! They are on display in the lobby of the Steward Building. First, here are a few of the diverse pieces we studied:

Thomas Houseago's Moun Room - I stumbled upon this huge installation in a NYC gallery during my visit. He created this with many of the same materials we used in our art studio!

Thomas Houseago's Moun Room - I stumbled upon this huge installation in a NYC gallery during my visit. He created this with many of the same materials we used in our art studio!

One of Niki de St. Phalle's playful structures

One of Niki de St. Phalle's playful structures

Some of our Structures:

Taye's vibrant COLOR TOWER,  created with boxes, newspaper, tape and LOTS of plaster filled gauze.

Taye's vibrant COLOR TOWER,  created with boxes, newspaper, tape and LOTS of plaster filled gauze.

Vaughn's elegant piece was made from attaching dowels and newspaper to a plastic bowl and then covering it with many, many layers of plaster and blue acrylics. 

Vaughn's elegant piece was made from attaching dowels and newspaper to a plastic bowl and then covering it with many, many layers of plaster and blue acrylics. 

Elizabeth's whimsical Toy Box for Cuddles was constructed using wooden dowels, a cigar box and many, many layers of plaster and paint.

Elizabeth's whimsical Toy Box for Cuddles was constructed using wooden dowels, a cigar box and many, many layers of plaster and paint.

Alivia invented her vibrant structure using a plastic lettuce box, wooden pieces, plaster and many thoughtfully mixed colors of acrylics. 

Alivia invented her vibrant structure using a plastic lettuce box, wooden pieces, plaster and many thoughtfully mixed colors of acrylics. 

Stage III Artists Study Ancient Roman Art!

    As the Stage begins our study of Ancient Rome, we are exploring some of the art processes of the culture. An investigation into light sources for the Ancient Romans led us to create clay lanterns. Here is the process:

First, we made pinch pots.

Next, we stuffed the pots with paper towels and created coils to attach to our bases.

Next, we stuffed the pots with paper towels and created coils to attach to our bases.

Cosey shows us how she embellishes her lantern.

Cosey shows us how she embellishes her lantern.

Our lanterns dry for a week or so before they are ready for the kiln. Look for them on Family Night!

Our lanterns dry for a week or so before they are ready for the kiln. Look for them on Family Night!

Making Paint the Ancient Roman Way!

        We studies many of the old frescoes from Ancient Roman times, and we found that the paint that has survived for thousands of years was made with eggs! Having some Italian (nontoxic) pure pigments at home, I thought it would be interesting to make our paint using this ancient technique. First, we created very small drawing of fruit and vegetables that the Ancient Romans grew and enjoyed. Many of the remaining Roman frescoes feature food. Then we broke a lot of eggs!!! It was exciting to mix the yolks with the pigments and discover how well it worked! Here are some photos of our experiences:

One of our Ancient Roman inspired arrangements. 

Alivia and Sandra crack and separate an egg!

Alivia and Sandra crack and separate an egg!

We pierced the egg yolks before mixing them with pigments.

We pierced the egg yolks before mixing them with pigments.

After mixing our egg tempera, we painted our small still lifes. 

After mixing our egg tempera, we painted our small still lifes. 

The color wheel came in handy as we mixed colors. Our pieces will be on display for Family Night.

The color wheel came in handy as we mixed colors. Our pieces will be on display for Family Night.

We ended our Sign-Up with a taste of Ancient Rome: honey on Tuscan bread!

We ended our Sign-Up with a taste of Ancient Rome: honey on Tuscan bread!

Coming up: Adventures in Reading and Art with Carmen

and 

Stage III artists create inventive clay pieces inspired by the Ancient Romans!!!

Happy Holidays and a Few More Glimpses of Stage III Art

The Detroit Institute of Arts

The DIA is magical during the holidays and a wonderful place to visit with your children. The many workshops and special events are available  on-line: www.dia.org.

The DIA is magical during the holidays and a wonderful place to visit with your children. The many workshops and special events are available  on-line: www.dia.org.

Alex M.'s richly color self-portrait

Alex M.'s richly color self-portrait

Cosey's beautiful landscape

Cosey's beautiful landscape

Teddy's beautiful close-up of the leaves floating on the rippled water of the creek. 

Teddy's beautiful close-up of the leaves floating on the rippled water of the creek. 

Lucas M.'s imaginary structure in process. He is layering strips of plaster filled gauze on his armature of wood and found objects.

Lucas M.'s imaginary structure in process. He is layering strips of plaster filled gauze on his armature of wood and found objects.

Vaughn created an armature for his imaginary structure using an old plastic bowl, newspaper and tape. 

Vaughn created an armature for his imaginary structure using an old plastic bowl, newspaper and tape. 

Kevin created many "thumbnail sketches" while planning his cut-out still life piece. This is the planning piece for our upcoming Class Art work.

Kevin created many "thumbnail sketches" while planning his cut-out still life piece. This is the planning piece for our upcoming Class Art work.

One of the many, many painted papers we created in Class Art for our collage still life pieces. We discussed and explored color theory and mixed tempera and acrylic paint. 

One of the many, many painted papers we created in Class Art for our collage still life pieces. We discussed and explored color theory and mixed tempera and acrylic paint. 

Coming in 2015

     Our next blog post will illustrate our Imaginary Structures and Class Art studies and processes! I wish all of you a wonderful vacation with your families! 

The Children's Words, Class Art and Multi-Media Explorations

Second Year Class Art

The Children Reflect

   "I wouldn't use the word love, but I would say I have a strong feeling about making art.  Art is all over the world - all the designs we humans make. We have a strong connection to the art of others in different parts of the world through their art. It's important to me to do art every day. It's important to see people around me in the art studio doing what they love. It isn't like a sport, but it's more of a challenge. I do my best, and others see it and I see their expressions of disbelief, happiness - Sometimes there is an expression that I can't describe on this paper - not fascinated or impressed, but something much larger of a feeling. I'm happy people in this school can do it. In a blog, we should have a philosophy and deeper meaning." - Conor

The Outdoor Studio

Oscar

Oscar

 "The outdoor studio affects us because our brains think differently outdoors." - Oscar

"The outdoor studio makes me comfortable in a way. The outdoor studio makes me excited because everything is a painting of Mother Nature's." - Noah

"The outdoors changes the way I do art by filling my brain with colors." - Will

" The Woods has an unlimited amount of art. If you look outside, you will see all different colors in the leaves and trees and dirt." - Griffin

"I like being in the woods because it is colorful and I love looking at the water." - Clara C.

"I love going outside. It is so peaceful out there, and my art is better because I can see a bunch of detail actually looking at the real thing." - Marin

"I notice that when I observe nature I use my own eyes." - Lucus M.

"It is peaceful outside. I can get clam and collected and do art peacefully." - Lennon

" I was drawn to the waterfall. I really like drawing a little area that's detailed. I don't like painting as much because it's hard to get the detail. I used Prismas to do the waterfall." - Lucas B.

"In the middle of the woods I felt calm, quiet and peaceful." - Cosey

Lucas B.'s detail of a waterfall in the creek

Lucas B.'s detail of a waterfall in the creek

Noah shows us the colors of autumn.

Noah shows us the colors of autumn.

Alyssa uses perspective to render her view of the creek.

Alyssa uses perspective to render her view of the creek.

Johnathan  captures the changing leaves and textures of the woods and creek.

Johnathan  captures the changing leaves and textures of the woods and creek.

In this close-up view of Elizabeth's painting, she shows us the many subtle color variations of fall leaves. 

In this close-up view of Elizabeth's painting, she shows us the many subtle color variations of fall leaves. 

Lucas M.'s painting in progress shows is the leafless trees against the fall sky.

Lucas M.'s painting in progress shows is the leafless trees against the fall sky.

Alex T. mixed many colors and painted various layers to show the colors of the water in the creek.

Alex T. mixed many colors and painted various layers to show the colors of the water in the creek.

Second Year Self-Portraits

  Using acrylics on canvas board, Second Year artists met the many challenges of painting their portraits. Looking into mirrors, they rendered their features. Some chose to paint full views of their faces, while others chose to paint only an eye or part of a face. Much thought was put into these decisions! After completing the portraits, a second canvas board was used to create a background. We explored and studied the elements and principles of design as we discussed, tested possibilities and painted the second canvases. Some artists decided to create high contrast though color, while others chose to "float" their portraits, using subtle color variations. 

Our portraits will be displayed on the bulletin board on the first floor of the Steward Building. 

"My name is Ben (P.S.). Making the self-portrait was harder this year than last year. I like the acrylics better."

"My name is Ben (P.S.). Making the self-portrait was harder this year than last year. I like the acrylics better."

Luke s.'s portrait in process - 

Luke s.'s portrait in process - 

Marin's self-portrait on process - 

Marin's self-portrait on process - 

Ben N.M. shows us an unusual view in this portrait in progress!

Ben N.M. shows us an unusual view in this portrait in progress!

Lily's self-portrait in progress - 

Lily's self-portrait in progress - 

Investigating Multi Media Art: Making Paint with Natural Materials

 Ivana created this lovely rendering of a leaf using pokeberry paint made from berries we collected on the playground.

 Ivana created this lovely rendering of a leaf using pokeberry paint made from berries we collected on the playground.

   We created paint using pokeberries form our woods, onion skins form the grocery store and sandalwood. We cooked, strained and then added potato starch to our paint. At first, the pokeberry paint looked pink, but later turned blue! This was a true fusion of science and art! We drew land painted leaves, sticks and other natural objects for observation.

Cosey's nasturtium close-up celebrates the design of the leaf.

Cosey's nasturtium close-up celebrates the design of the leaf.

Asher captures the pattern and variation of color in this rendering of a nasturtium leaf. 

Asher captures the pattern and variation of color in this rendering of a nasturtium leaf. 

Clara C. creates a graceful composition of falling leaves. 

Clara C. creates a graceful composition of falling leaves. 

Dana records the varieties of leaves in her beautiful painting.

Dana records the varieties of leaves in her beautiful painting.

This close-up of Zach's painting shows us his beautiful quality of line.

This close-up of Zach's painting shows us his beautiful quality of line.

Parker incorporated all our paints in his creative composition of leaves.

 

 

Reflections and Beginnings

First Year Self-Portraits from The First Sign-Up

      Looking at the First-Year self-portraits, I recall all the challenges, creative problem solving and moments of inspiration as the children worked through the various processes. I see the uniqueness of each child reflected in these pieces; the wide variety of brushstrokes, choices of art elements and even scale of this art tells a story about each artist. The second years will also create self-portraits this Sign-Up, but the media and techniques presented will be very different. 

Luke paints a vibrant background for his self-portrait.

Luke paints a vibrant background for his self-portrait.

Camryn invested  much time and thought into the process of mixing paint for her skin tones.

Camryn invested  much time and thought into the process of mixing paint for her skin tones.

Clara G. mixed and tested many blues - cerulean, ultramarine and thalo - while creating her beautiful eyes and background.

Clara G. mixed and tested many blues - cerulean, ultramarine and thalo - while creating her beautiful eyes and background.

Matthew's love of chihuahuas and his humor is reflected in his lively self-portrait.   

Matthew's love of chihuahuas and his humor is reflected in his lively self-portrait. 

 

Wesley' gave his thoughtful self-portrait an artful and unique background.

Wesley' gave his thoughtful self-portrait an artful and unique background.

Alivia blended color families beautifully as she investigated all of the media offered.

Alivia blended color families beautifully as she investigated all of the media offered.

Ian knew instantly which color of background would best enhance the detailed rendering of his face.

Ian knew instantly which color of background would best enhance the detailed rendering of his face.

Taye's joyful portrait reflects his approach to this process.

Taye's joyful portrait reflects his approach to this process.

Dana decided to use color pencil techniques for her background in this wonderful self-portrait.

Dana decided to use color pencil techniques for her background in this wonderful self-portrait.

Emerson creates a strong design with his use of black sharpie.  

Emerson creates a strong design with his use of black sharpie.  

Jack created a vivid portrait through his use of contrasting colors. His words, "I am proud of this art.", express the satisfaction an artist feels when he/she meets the challenges of this process and finds meaningful solutions.

Jack created a vivid portrait through his use of contrasting colors. His words, "I am proud of this art.", express the satisfaction an artist feels when he/she meets the challenges of this process and finds meaningful solutions.

Second Years Explore the Outdoor Studio 

       The Second-Year artists are completing pieces which began in our outdoor studio. We took our drawing boards down to the creek by Tire Mountain; there are lots of great "sit spots" there on large rocks, logs and stumps. Each artist chose a view and sketched in their preliminary composition. During subsequent classes we worked from photographs we took while working outside. Using choices of pencils, various sharpies and Prismacolors, we added definition and detail to our pieces. Later, we worked with tubes of watercolor. There were many conversations  regarding the many layers and varieties of colors, textures and shapes of the trees, rocks and creek. Observational, technical and aesthetic skills were emphasized as we rendered and painted. Our sense of wonder was ignited as we discovered the richness of nature. 

It started to drizzle a bit as we worked by the creek!

It started to drizzle a bit as we worked by the creek!

The drizzle created beautifully complex ripples, which you may see reflected in some of our art.

The drizzle created beautifully complex ripples, which you may see reflected in some of our art.

Elizabeth composes her view of the woods and creek. 

Elizabeth composes her view of the woods and creek. 


Luke S. uses perspective as he renders and paints his composition.

Luke S. uses perspective as he renders and paints his composition.

Coming Soon: The Artists describe our Investigating Mixed Media Adventures!

P.S. - All children will be represented in our Stage III art blog  eventually this year!

The Outdoor Studio and Pattern

The Outdoor Studio

       Our Class Art first year artists created pieces inspired by the beauty of our natural world. Drawing the woods and creek from observation strengthens skills and focus, heightens aesthetic  awareness and fosters stewardship. This was apparent as the children shared their discoveries with excitement and made astute observations. While working outside on drawing boards, many children commented on how peaceful they felt. Below are some photos that describe the various stages of our process:

 

Using water based inks, we created mono prints. Studying the color wheel informed our choices as we lixdd colored inks. 

Using water based inks, we created mono prints. Studying the color wheel informed our choices as we lixdd colored inks. 

Some artists used pine needles and other natural bits and pieces of nature to create a textural print. This is Anjali's printing plate after she pulled the paper from it and created her print. 

Some artists used pine needles and other natural bits and pieces of nature to create a textural print. This is Anjali's printing plate after she pulled the paper from it and created her print. 

Isaac's plate before he pulled his print. 

Isaac's plate before he pulled his print. 

During our next classes, we explored the woods area and each artist chose a view. After setting up drawing boards, we  used  charcoal to render our views on our colorful prints. 

During our next classes, we explored the woods area and each artist chose a view. After setting up drawing boards, we  used  charcoal to render our views on our colorful prints. 

Two artists gather tools: kneaded erasers and charcoal pencils and sticks. 

Two artists gather tools: kneaded erasers and charcoal pencils and sticks. 

We completed our drawings the following class, using photos of our views. 

We completed our drawings the following class, using photos of our views. 

Ethan shows us the tangled branches of a bush by a fallen log.

Ethan shows us the tangled branches of a bush by a fallen log.

Kevin shows us the lively gestures of grasses by the creek.

Kevin shows us the lively gestures of grasses by the creek.

T.T. uses various techniques to show us her view of the creek.

T.T. uses various techniques to show us her view of the creek.

PATTERN 

A Stage III Art Elective

 

 Yayoi Kusama's art inspires us as we investigate this amazing principle of art - pattern!

 Yayoi Kusama's art inspires us as we investigate this amazing principle of art - pattern!

    We have been finding patterns everywhere as we look around us! Going beyond the more obvious patterns, we have been exploring branching and flowing patterns of the natural world. We have also been studying how we create diverse patterns using the elements of art. Looking at pattern in art, from ancient to contemporary, we are learning about wonderful and exciting ways artists use pattern. Our processes include acrylics on canvas  - and corks - and photography. Below are some images that describe our studies:

We mixed acrylic paints, painted canvas board, and created pattern through our use of shape, color and line.

We mixed acrylic paints, painted canvas board, and created pattern through our use of shape, color and line.

We painted lots and lots of corks! (Thanks to Whole Foods for donating a huge bag filled with them!)

We painted lots and lots of corks! (Thanks to Whole Foods for donating a huge bag filled with them!)

A close-up of Bibi's composition demonstrates how we used the corks to enrich our compositions, add dimension and incorporate pattern.

A close-up of Bibi's composition demonstrates how we used the corks to enrich our compositions, add dimension and incorporate pattern.

Natalia creates flowing patterns through her use of color and line.

Natalia creates flowing patterns through her use of color and line.

Sofia uses textural element as she builds her composition.

Sofia uses textural element as she builds her composition.

Lennon adds many layers as he builds up the surface of his canvas.

Lennon adds many layers as he builds up the surface of his canvas.

Tom Kirby of Blue Sky Photography, and Mary's husband, shares photography techniques with us. Tom's visit helped us prepare for our next art process in Pattern: PHOTOGRAPHY!

Tom Kirby of Blue Sky Photography, and Mary's husband, shares photography techniques with us. Tom's visit helped us prepare for our next art process in Pattern: PHOTOGRAPHY!

How We Ended Our Year of Art and Wishing You All an Artful Summer

Class Art

Celebrating Spring

 

       We celebrated spring through our investigations and renderings of spring plants and vegetables. I brought in emerging plants from my garden and lots of spring produce. We studied okra, fresh chick peas in their pods, radicchio, pea pods, asparagus stalks and bok choy. Some classes noticed the printmaking materials, and requested this as their art process. Other classes worked with pencil, pen, gouache and watercolors. We began by planning our compositions using thumbnail sketches, and then each Stage III artist chose a size and shape of bristol paper. As we worked, we discovered many amazing details and qualities of these natural objects and learned several brush, painting and printmaking techniques. The beauty and freshness of this most welcome season (especially this year!) is reflected in the children's  art.

Noah F.'s print of a radicchio leaf

Noah F.'s print of a radicchio leaf

Noelle renders a fern.

Noelle renders a fern.

Madison works on capturing the varied colors of a tulip petals.

Madison works on capturing the varied colors of a tulip petals.

Conor paints spring!

Conor paints spring!

Nathaniel's prints his arrangement of spring vegetables.

Nathaniel's prints his arrangement of spring vegetables.

Macy's painting of a spring tulip in process

Macy's painting of a spring tulip in process

Jose's close-up composition of a wild flower in process.

Jose's close-up composition of a wild flower in process.

Signe paints spring flowers and a fern.

Signe paints spring flowers and a fern.

WONDERINGS

    Dianne and I designed our Wonderings class to prompt critical and creative thinking among the children. Focusing on the natural world of the outdoors, we first gathered questions regarding our observations of the creek, trees, plants and other natural elements. Rather than go straight to the Internet to answer our "wonderings", we took the time to study our discoveries and used both  the process of illustration and the scientific method to find  information. Fusing art and science processes enriched and informed our studies. Some of questions included:

Why does the creek run so fast?

Where do those large rocks come from, and how old are they?

Why are barks from different trees patterned and textured differently?

We spent our last day of this class viewing our accordion books filled with illustrations, sharing our discoveries, and eating strawberry shortcake! It was a great way to end our year.

We spent time investigating and drawing outside. 

We spent time investigating and drawing outside. 

Adam illustrated the cover of his Wonderings book.

Adam illustrated the cover of his Wonderings book.

Ava T. adds color to her Wonderings book cover.

Ava T. adds color to her Wonderings book cover.

Maya titles her book.

Maya titles her book.

Cartooning!

Mia invents a fairytale with a twist for her cartoon!

Mia invents a fairytale with a twist for her cartoon!

          Inspired by Manny's love of cartooning, we ended our year of Class Art exploring this genre of art. We looked at slides of cartoons through history; we talked about the way people have been expressing their thoughts through pictures since the time of cave art. Each Stage III artist sketched characters and invented plot lines. Using cartooning bristol and pens, we began by penciling in our cartoons and then inked them with cartooning felt-tipped pens. The addition of color with choices of materials was optional.  

Alex L. creates a character!

Alex L. creates a character!

Conor brainstorms characters. Which will he use in his final cartoon?

Conor brainstorms characters. Which will he use in his final cartoon?

Claire's cartoon features a "Jean", and is a twist on the genie tales.

Claire's cartoon features a "Jean", and is a twist on the genie tales.

Thoughts on Artful Thinking and Summer

My Garden - 

My Garden - 

        I  believe the outdoors and trips to cities provide wonderful opportunities for artful thinking. As you walk the beach, hike in the woods or visit a city this summer, I encourage you to take the time to examine the shells and stones, investigate leaves and bark or visit a gallery or museum. I often tell the story of how my children learned to walk in the Rivera Court of the DIA. During some visits, we didn't get past the Court, except to visit the cafe. Letting a child decide which area of a museum or gallery to explore is often the key to a fun visit. Taking some time to truly look, ask questions and tell stories about the art can lead to wonderful conversations and truly powerful thinking. Fostering your child's sense of wonder makes life more enriching for all of us! 

I wish everyone a beautiful summer. Thank you for the opportunity to work with your children this year!

Class Art Happenings and Our Texture Elective

A Study of Threads

Detroit artists Dolores Slowinski creates drawing using needles and thread.

Detroit artists Dolores Slowinski creates drawing using needles and thread.

A quilt made from blue jeans and scraps of clothing from Gees Bend, Alabama.

A quilt made from blue jeans and scraps of clothing from Gees Bend, Alabama.

We've been looking at slides of art from various artists and cultures. All share a common thread - they were sewn. The quilts of Gees Bend are celebrated for their stunning compositions; they  are wonderful studies of art elements. Gees Bend is a remote area off the coast of Alabama. Once a cotton plantation, the residents are descendants of slaves from Africa. A visiting minister discovered the quilts hanging on clotheslines, and was amazed by their beauty. He sent a few to a friend in New York, and soon the quilts were hanging in museums! These quilts sparked some lively artful thinking among our Stage III children. Their interpretations of the designs and observations were exciting! Next, we looked at artists making very different art with needle and thread. Among them was Dolores Slowinski, from Detroit. As one child said, " The Gees Bend quilts have many more shapes, but Dolores put a lot of thought into how she  used shapes too." Showing them diverse approaches to art shows the children that there are many ways to be successful! The children will also have the option of adding sewn elements. Here we are creating our own compositions with shapes:

Clara C. uses Prismacolor pencils to create a vibrant composition.

Clara C. uses Prismacolor pencils to create a vibrant composition.

Dayna prefers colored sharpies as she creates her lively and pattern- filled picture.

Dayna prefers colored sharpies as she creates her lively and pattern- filled picture.

Sean creates lots of contrast through his use of bold colors.

Sean creates lots of contrast through his use of bold colors.

Later, the children had the option of incorporating sewing into their compositions. It's been an interesting process!

TEXTURE

Our textural paintings are mostly finished! We layered acrylic paint, modeling paste and a medium containing sand. We investigated various textures, while solving compositional challenges. 

By Julia Hoover

By Julia Hoover

Close - Up of Rachel's piece

Close - Up of Rachel's piece


By Aristide

By Aristide

By Michael

By Michael

By Oscar

By Oscar

By Sofia M.

By Sofia M.

A close-up of Meredith's painting

A close-up of Meredith's painting

By Teddy

By Teddy

By Signe

By Signe

By Katelyn

By Katelyn

Have a wonderful vacation! 

Celebrating the Arts and TEXTURE - A Stage III Art Elective

National Arts Advocacy Week

North Wall of The Detroit Industry Murals - Rivera Court, DIA

North Wall of The Detroit Industry Murals - Rivera Court, DIA

       This week has been national Arts Advocacy Week. As art educators we take this opportunity to remind everyone of the important role visual art plays in the lives of our children. How can art impact children? And, what lessons can children learn from art programs? As most of you know, I teach a class in art education at Oakland University. I'm including a link to a Power Point I presented to my students last week. The words of Elliot Eisner, a scholar and advocate for the arts, underscore this slide show - https://www.dropbox.com/s/5nsf5k6yva29quk/Eliot%20Eisner%27s%2010%20Lessons%20the%20Arts%20Teach.pdf

Exploring Texture

Rachel explores the art element of TEXTURE using layers of acrylic paint and a comb as an art tool.

Rachel explores the art element of TEXTURE using layers of acrylic paint and a comb as an art tool.

Oscar explores color relationships as he exposes hidden layers of paint.

Oscar explores color relationships as he exposes hidden layers of paint.

Teddy creates contrast through color and texture. 

Teddy creates contrast through color and texture. 

An artist in our Texture class adds another layer of modeling paste and carves into the surface to expose layers of color below. 

An artist in our Texture class adds another layer of modeling paste and carves into the surface to expose layers of color below. 

Signe fills her wide canvas with textural elements and contrasting colors.

Signe fills her wide canvas with textural elements and contrasting colors.

Michael creates a focal point for his textural composition.

Michael creates a focal point for his textural composition.

     We are exploring this exciting element of art through painting in our Texture elective class. Our first step in this process was to mix modeling paste with acrylic paints and "under paint" our canvases. Artists in this class were given a choice of shapes and sizes of canvas boards. The elements of choice is essential in the creative process. During subsequent classes, our artists layered paint and carved into surfaces with tools. As we investigated the element of texture, we also explored color relationships, and arranged compositions. Rather than becoming concerned about the eventual outcome, I encouraged everyone to become immersed in the process of discovery. Later, as we reflected and revised, I was delighted by the unexpected and thoughtful results of the children's explorations.