Saturday, March 24, 2018

Observational Drawing: Revisiting Contour, Blind and Sighted

Fourth graders were given the opportunity to revisit a drawing practice they had originally learned in second grade. Contour drawing is a style of drawing which focuses exclusively on the contour outline of any given shape or object. Skills are often forgotten when not practiced regularly, so it was an exciting venture to rediscover this activity two years later! However, now that the students are older, a new twist was added with the addition of blind contour drawing, an exercise which required the person drawing to NOT look at the object they are drawing and allowing their hand to to be guided only by their sight. This exercise helps to train and co-ordinate the hands and eyes for better observational drawing.
Students were given simple tools and everyday objects, which they also used in second grade for a different drawing activity, and instructed to "warm up" with 10 minutes of blind contour drawing. Then, students were instructed to draw regular contour drawings for the remainder of class time. Students were only allowed to use pen for their drawings, as contour drawings are traditionally done in ink to force the artist to concentrate without the safety of using an eraser to correct mistakes.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

It's Coming! The Brackett School Annual Concert and Art Exhibit 2018

Students in all grades and classes are currently hard at work completing their work to be displayed for this year’s annual Concert and Art Show, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing: Music and Art In Celebration of the Sea. For this year's show, students have been busy learning songs and creating art work pertaining to the characteristics of our oceans, their wildlife, their ecosystems, their vessels, the challenges they face, and the creations they have inspired over the centuries. The performance and exhibit will start in the gym and front lobby at 9am on Friday, March 23, 2018. We look forward to seeing you and sharing this special event with the community.

Kindergarten: Patterns All Around Us

In this unit, students will be exploring the element of pattern further. Kindergarten students began this lesson by looking at the two selected artworks and were asked to identify as many patterns as they could see. Some patterns were obvious, while other were far more subtle. Students were asked to imagine how they might print the patterns used by the selected artist instead of a brush or drawing tool.

Students were then shown a demonstration on using wooden stamps dipped in tempera paint to create a repeating pattern of geometric shapes. Students were instructed to draw a picture of their choosing which would include patterns created by the stamps, though many students also chose to include drawn patterns.

Masterpiece of the Month: The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai

Who Made It? 
A Japanese printmaker named, Katsushika Hokusai created this print in the years 1829-1832.

Where Is the REAL One?
Copies of this print can be seen in several museums around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City and The British Museum in London, England.

Why Is This Artwork Important?
This woodblock print is one in a HUGE series of 36 pictures created by Hokusai which were all views of Mount Fugi! The Great Wave is the most famous of the series. Here, an enormous wave threatens the safety of the boats. The wave is probably NOT intended to depict a tsunami, but instead a normal ocean wave created by wind called an okinami. The waves form a frame and point at Mt. Fugi. The sea foam looks like it is breaking into claws which grasp for the fishermen and makes us feel anxious as we wait for the wave to crash down. Hokusai loved to show water in motion, and the shapes of the boats blend into the shapes of the waves as they are carried with the rocking of the waves.

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.