Friday, March 03, 2017

March Masterpiece of the Month: A Bar at Folies-Bergere by Edouard Manet

Who Made It?
This painting was created by a French painter named, Edouard Manet in 1882.

Where is the REAL One?
The real painting can be viewed at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England.

Why Is It Important?
A Bar at Folies-Bergere was the last painting Manet created before his death. It depicts his interest in society and people, as do many of his paintings. This painting takes place in an actual nightclub that existed in Paris, France during Manet’s lifetime. However, Folies-Bergere has puzzled historians and been debated over for many years! 

First, Manet leaves us to wonder about many things. The painting almost seems like an optical illusion. Are there TWO bar maids, or only one and her mirror reflection?? Is she looking at us, or are we watching her talk to a customer, such as the man in the top hat? Some people claim this could not be a mirror reflection because of too many technical differences, causing them to believe that we are seeing two different moments in time in the same picture! Perhaps that IS the same woman talking to the man in a moment that occurred earlier and now she is talking to US. Either way, Manet leaves it to us to interpret this picture and apply our own story. He wants us to think about the woman and wonder about her facial expression. What is she thinking about? What is she feeling? Manet created this painting when art was changing away from old-fashioned subjects and depicting a modern, changing world and he managed to capture the glamour and sadness of that modern life, as he knew it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Coming Soon! The Brackett School Annual Concert and Art Show

We are pleased to announce the upcoming annual concert and art exhibit, coming in just a few weeks. This year's show will be Roots of the American Beat: Origins of American Popular Music. Students in grades K-5 have been busy learning songs, dances, folklore, hearing music, and discussing artworks that exemplify popular forms of American music, as originated in the Blues and as influenced by African heritage. Finished examples of artwork will be posted here after the show. The performance and exhibit will start in the gym and front lobby at 9am on Friday, March 17, 2017. We look forward to seeing you and sharing this special event with the community.

Kindergarten: Painting Pattern, Texture and Overlapping Color

Students were shown Paul Sierra’s painting, Three Days and Three Nights, and asked if they could identify what the picture depicted (a person sitting in a field while watching fireworks at night). They were then told that artists often make interesting textures, patterns and colors, and can overlap paint to make the painting interesting. Students were then asked a series of questions:

“Where do you see pattern in this picture?”
“Can you find an area of the painting with one color of paint on top of another color of paint?”
“What kind of brushstrokes did the artist use?”

Students then watched a demonstration of how to apply paint over a previously painted surface and how to use different brushes to create patterns and textures within a painting. For this lesson, students were given several size brushes and a large selections of colors to chose from to create a painting, and were also instructed to include pattern, texture and overlapped colors.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

February Masterpiece of the Month: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

Who Made It?
An American painter named, Edward Hopper, created this painting in 1942.

Where IS the REAL One?
The real painting can be viewed at The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL.

Why Is This Artwork Important?
The term “nighthawk”, like “night owl”, refers to someone who stays up late at night. The scene was inspired by a real diner in Greenwich Village in New York City, which was Hopper’s home neighborhood. (The diner has since been demolished.) Hopper began this painting immediately after the attack on pearl harbor in December 7, 1941, at the beginning of World War II. After this event, there was a widespread feeling of gloominess across America, a feeling that is portrayed in Nighthawks. The three people in the diner do not talk to each other and they appear to be lost in their own thoughts. 
This portrayal of city life as empty and lonely is a common theme throughout Hopper’s work. Hopper denied that he tried to show those feelings in Nighthawks, but he admitted that may have done so, without realizing it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Grade One: Understanding Warm and Cool Colors


To introduce a unit on color, first graders discussed the difference between "warm" colors (red, yellow, orange) and "cool" colors (blue, green, purple). Students were able to see how an artist depicting a warm place such as Georgia O'Keeffe's, Red Hills with Flowers, and cool places such as Claude Monet's, Waterlilies, can be emphasized using these groups of colors. They also noticed that we associate certain warm or cool things, such as fire and water, with their colors, which help us to distinguish these colors even more.

Students were then asked to create an oil pastel drawing using their own subject matter in either warm or cool colors. While it was fine to use other colors as well, students had to decide whether to use mostly warm or cool colors.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kindergarten: Fabulous Feasts!

Many artists use food as subject matter for their work, and food is often present at celebrations of all kinds. Kindergarten students have spent the past few months focused on the many aspects of celebration: masks and costumes, party drawings and now feast collages! After identifying what a “feast” is, students discussed the selected food-related artworks before listing their own favorite foods they would enjoy.

Students were then instructed to create a feast by cutting out appropriate shapes and colors to represent various foods, imagining the colored paper background as their placemat. Small details and texture could be added using markers, and students were encouraged to include and think about other table-setting objects such as dishes, flatware and drinking glasses.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Observational Drawing: Grade Two, Toys

Students in grade two were given a selection of toys to draw from, with special attention given to texture and details. Plastic dinosaurs, cars and trucks, dolls and stuffed animals were among the choices. Students had the option of adding color with colored pencil, if they chose. Students were also encouraged to include their newly acquired shading skills to add to the perception of three-dimensional form.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Grade One: Drawing Animal Textures

Students in the first grade have been learning how artists use the element of texture in their work. For this lesson, students examined how artists use pattern and line to give the illusion of texture in a drawing, painting or print that is actually smooth in surface texture. Students first looked at several photography examples which depicted many kinds of different textures and were asked to use their eyes to indentify and describe the textures they saw. Then, first graders were shown two examples of artworks featuring animals: Rhinoceros by Albrecht Durer and Hen by Saul Steinberg. Students were led to notice that line variations, shapes and patterns must be made to convey differences in hair length, scale size or bumpy skin.

Students were then asked to choose a photograph of an animal to draw using colored pencils and crayons and were required to draw the texture of that particular animal as they saw it in the photograph. Students were also instructed to give consideration to coloring, scale and proportion.