Monday, December 4, 2017

From Realism to Abstraction: Expressive Portraiture

3rd & 4th grade artists have been observing and discussing composition, emotion, realism, and symbolism in relation to the portraits of Kehindé Wiley, Goya, Picasso, Bazille, and de La Tour. They noted positions, expressions, and lighting, closely watched drawing demonstrations, and then chose photographs to use as their models. They were asked to not think about the photos as faces, but as collections of shapes, and to use their powers of observation to place the shapes and colors to "build" an expressive portrait. The completed portraits are now titled with the concepts the artists feel the works evoke.

Having created realistic portraits, the artists were next shown color field paintings, abstract collages, and non-objective paintings, and were asked to manipulate paper, glue, and various other media of their choosing to create a balanced and unified work that represents them as they are this year. The artists have taken the assignment quite seriously and are participating in mini-critiques to assess the expressive impact of their work on the viewer.

Dots, Lines & Swirls: Tiles Featuring Incised Geometric and Organic Sgraffito Designs

Geometric patterns and designs within a composition were recently a focus for second grade artists as they studied the murals of Esther Mahlangu and the textiles, baskets and jewelry of the Ndebele people.  Using rulers, paper, pencil and markers, they precisely measured and drew designs for unique 4x6" or 4x4" tiles. Next, they transferred their sketches onto clay slabs using rulers and wooden tools. Once the clay was bisqued, black glaze was applied into the incised lines, with the excess scrubbed away and colorful glazes added to the shapes.



Third grade artists used a different process to create their designs on tiles. They first took a look at Powhatan tattoo motifs and 17th century English decorative art designs before choosing which types of images and lines they would use to decorate a small terra cotta dish. To replicate the technique used in colonial American dinnerware, they applied pale gold underglaze mixed with slip to the moist terra cotta and scratched through it to reveal the dark clay beneath.  Once bisqued, the dishes were completed with layers of clear gloss glaze.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Super Cool Stacked Ceramic Sculptures

Thanks to Shinichi Sawada, Haida artists, Egyptian canopic jar carvers, African face jug potters, and various African mask artists, the 4th graders have amazing inspiration for their stacking ceramic sculptures. Sketches and measurements have been made, structural challenges are being discussed and brainstormed, and the hollow, textured, highly detailed clay sculptures are underway.

The textured segments of the ceramic sculptures have made it through the bisque firing and are now ready to be glazed and put through the final firing process! (There is definite excitement in the air!) Some pieces are stacking according to plan and others are being reconfigured. Color palettes are being planned, glazing techniques are being reviewed, and gallery labels will be created. Within two weeks all the pieces should be fired and ready for display in cases throughout the lower school.

Marvelous Monoprints!

Creatures – imagined and real – of the Chesapeake Bay are underway in 2nd Grade, and soon the bayscapes of the hall will be filled the ink and colored pencil works inspired by the Inuit artists of Cape Dorset.  The process includes creating multiple sketches, choosing one or two for final prints, inking a printing plate with a brayer, tracing the original drawing on top of a blank paper, pulling the print, making a ghost print, and choosing what colors and media to use to complete the image. As students finish the regional creatures they've chosen to depict in these truly inventive, detailed drawings and hand colored monoprints, they've also been drawing their own framed spirit animals in a combination of white charcoal, colored pencil and crayon on black construction paper.

Composing Environments

  Invention and reuse are the names of the game in 3rd Grade art. After viewing works by Michelle Stitzlein, Kandinsky and Miro, students used recycled papers, oil pastel, crayon, paint watercolor, glue, water, and marker ink to design their own papers and collaged creatures. Their fanciful and realistic works are currently floating, walking and crawling through the painted mural backgrounds along their hallway.


Third grade artists are also all about perspective, both as a drawing device, and as a changing lens through which to view our world. With pencils, drawing boards, and paper in hand, they chose spots in the LS garden and looked at the spaces from the point of view of an insect, bird, or other creature. Upon completing their drawings, they added crayon contour lines, rubbed textures on the open spaces, and are now painting contrasting colors over the wax resist to create vibrant landscapes.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sculpture Everywhere!

Second Graders create recycled poster board and tissue paper puppets 
with at least on moving part... and a selected talent!

Third Graders design "robots" that make the world a better place! 
(They also use recycled poster board and tissue paper.)

Fourth Graders learn about 3D sculpting processes and techniques 
from visiting artists Rita MacNelly and Beezy Bogan, and create
 aluminum wired beast sculptures based on their continuous line drawings.