Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Completed Mixed Media Portrait Series

The mixed media students are still getting acclimated to the language. For the final portrait series reflection the students were to reflect on the original two habits that they addressed during the in-progress ink reflection, although they were to discuss them based on the completed pieces. Students were to then choose two additional, different habits to reflect on. I found that many of the students were still addressing the frustrations with the ink in the Develop Craft and Engage & Persist areas. I have yet to analyze all reflections more closely to determine any similarities/differences/overlap with reflecting on habits a second time and/or any trends with the additional two (or more) habits students chose for reflection. Some of the finished portrait series and the habits (in the order each student reflected on them):

Envision, Reflect:Evaluate, Develop Craft, Engage & Persist, Observe, Stretch & Explore, Understand Art World (Lauren references her father, who is a watercolor painter, in this habit)

Develop Craft, Engage & Persist, Envision, Express, Stretch & Explore

Envision, Stretch & Explore, Express, Develop Craft

Develop Craft, Engage & Persist, Stretch & Explore, Reflect: Question & Explain and Evaluate

Stretch & Explore, Develop Craft, Express, Engage & Persist

Friday, January 27, 2012

Teaching Science Through Art: Longitudinal Nature Observations/ 1st grade

We have initiated long term nature observations at our school this year. The first grade students are observing trees. They are learning how to identify trees throughout the year using their Artistic and Scientific skills to sharpen their senses through observation .

Some students took photographs in the schoolyard and these images were used for nature studies' illustrations. We used pencils and oil pastels to draw Trees in Winter. I wanted the students to not only to observe the lines and shape of the trees, but to look for the negative spaces, patterns, textures and composition.

Teacher Narrative-

I have devoted this year to developing students' observational skills. Last year our school's Science Inquiry Team designed a Science Curriculum Map and proposed to include long-term nature studies into our science program. Kindergarten- Urban Animals, First Grade- Urban Trees, Second Grade- Weather, Third Grade- Sunrise/Sunset.

To supporrt these long-term studies I integrated Science into Art as both disciplines share common skills although they diverge at differentpurposes ; Art is a Language of Emotions and Science is Language of Explanation. Both sides of the brain are represented when we use the arts to communicate what we have observed through science. The art experiences and products help students to communicate their observations by using their art skills such as; drawing and photography.

During the First Quarter I introduced first grade students to the Tree Study through songs, video and images which would provoke them to Observe nature more closely, specifically looking at trees. Mini Lessons were designed to build essential foundational science vocabulary to help students define Senses, Observation, Identification and Classification. Lessons were also provided to introduce students to essential art vocabulary; line, shape , color , texture and composition. The students have been using a variety of art tools and processes including pencils, print making, markers, book making, and photography.

For the compositions, I stressed foreground, background and horizon line. I also encouraged the students to use the entire page.

We developed our craft through practicing drawing with markers, oil pastels and pencils. We envisioned by sketching the trees first, We observed by photographing trees and then using those images as our subjects. The students engaged and persisted by completing their drawings. I am always amazed by the different images produced from the same assignment.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Subject: Art Sketchbooks

Hi all-

I was contacted by this gentleman regarding sketchbooks for schools. We've previewed them and they look pretty good. We're simply trying to figure out some of the unknowns for next school year. If you are interested feel free to contact Scott Gardner to preview books.



My name is Scott Gardner and I own a company which manufactures what we, and many schools, feel are the finest sketchbooks in the country. I would like to send you a sample of our book so you can see first hand the quality and durability of our product. We currently supply our products to schools (both public and private) from Miami to Oregon and once a school chooses our products we have never not received their continued business. Being we are the manufacturing facility, we create many custom books for art instructors, based upon what their specific needs are.

I would ask you to visit our websites:
www.mysketchbooks.com where you can see samples of our work, and a few pictures of some of the sketchbooks we produce and if this sounds like something which would be beneficial to you, please contact me and allow me to send you a free sketchbook for your examination.

I thank you for your time and hope you have a great day.

Best wishes,

Scott Gardner
Gold Stamping, Etc.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stretch and Explore

I have 3 classes that I am doing Studio Thinking with. Two of them have Tumblr blogs set up because part of the class objectives are for students to take ownership of their artistic process and to blog about it. We have just started. At the moment, I still have a lot of the blogging burden, but as time goes on, they will have more and more responsibility for the posts.

Class 1: Guerrilla Art Class is an advanced studio class that is focused on creating Contemporary art that moves beyond the gallery to the world. All of their art is being sent out into the world with an interactive component, and the blog will document that process.

Class 2: Chop Chop Swagg is a beginner Studio Drawing and Painting class. While some of their work really revolves around learning the basics of Studio art making, they are also working on the blog in hopes that the creative choices they do make can be explained BY THEM, not just my curriculum or assignments.

Class 3: no name yet, still in planning -  they are an IB sophomore class that is pretty similar to Chop Chop Swagg but heavier on academic writing, planning, research, and journal writing.  Make no mistakes, their creativity and studio skill is formidable as you will see when they are up and running.

I realized that I am pulling double (quadruple?) duty by blogging with them on their Tumbler and on this site. So I will instead use this site to connect you to their Tumbler and explain a bit more from the teacher's perspective. Please visit their sites and ENJOY!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Outcomes of My Purposeful Instructions

These are some images of the finished pieces from my very first experiment back in November with Studio Habits. These are much more lively and individualistic than previous projects I've done with observational still life. I am really impressed with how each of the students interpreted my limited instructions differently, but all still ended up with a still life based from observation.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Studio Thinking and Art With a Message

Today I let my class in on a little secret. I told them I'd been experimenting on them with the Studio Thinking Habits. I told them they were my little guinea pigs and they all went "Awwwww." They were genuinely touched, I think because my taking this leap shows how much I care. We discussed what all the habits are and how they have been used in their art-making. I told them I want them to own the process now and be more in control, not just participate in each habit as I say.

It's been pretty great so far. We still have a lot to do regarding our class blog plans, but so far I feel really good about everyone's engagement in our socially based art projects.

Our new topic is Secret Message to the World. The students have to pretend that they have the rapt attention of the entire world, then decide what they would say (well... they will say it with art.)

We will be Developing our Craft the next couple of days as the students learn how to make Image Transfers. Next week they create their "messages". The rest is a secret and I'll let you know after it's in the works. I'll be taking pictures of our transfer making tomorrow, so expect to see what they are doing soon. Next week I hope to have our class blog up and to have students video blog about their messages. My fingers are crossed and candles lit to the computer deities that all works.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Couldn't Resist

I am supposed to be going to bed now, but couldn't resist a quick post. I have two classes of sophomore level studio art. We are currently working on using the creative process to do "Sketchbook Exploration". It's hard to get teenage students to really let go and use their sketchbook to experiment, explore, and be free. We have to guide them through. We will definitely experiment with our media in class. It's one of my favorite things to do! I will let you know as we go...
Does anyone know how to attach a power point to a blog? I made one for the students to be inspired by other artists who use their journal or sketchbook to do more than sketch.

Classroom Spaces

Classroom Spaces, a set on Flickr.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Essential Questions

My sample, student samples, and Georgia O'Keefe
Happy New Year everyone.  I have not introduced the 8 habits formally in my classroom.  But I am gradually adding the language to my students vocabulary.  For example here are photos of my white board which I use in a very organic way adding things as each project progresses.  I have always pushed my students to persist in their work and in this project, for example, a student was going to give up when  5 minutes more would complete the project. This was a student that planned her project thoroughly with several sketches and was very excited about her own ideas to capture the poinsettia. I convinced her she would be quite unhappy when she looked at the final piece and it didn't live up to what she envisioned. 

For the reflection on this project of poinsettia paintings I labeled each question with the habit it addressed.  Next I plan on putting up some posters in the classroom. 

At our last meeting I was heartened to hear the term "artist teacher"  I think it is so important for our students to see that we are passionate about our own personal art making - as hard as it is to find time to do so.  Here is a board I put together for my Studio class.  They are in the process of making large gridded self-portraits using oil pastels.  Last year I made 2 different samples - one with a mirror that I documented as I progressed so they could see the changes and mistakes I made.  The other is an unfinished gridded self-portrait that I have been using for demonstration.   The other two are student samples.

 See you all Wednesday.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Roger Brown Studio and Home

I had the incredible opportunity to visit and stay at the Roger Brown home and studio over the break. My friend invited me into this mind-expanding space. I didn't know who Roger Brown was before visiting the house.

Once I saw his work in catalogues at the house I recognized his distinctive Chicago Imagist style. 

His house contains a vast collection of outsider artwork, his own paintings/sculptures and beautiful African and Mexican arts pieces. I felt like I was living an intensive American arts experience, seeing how the artist lived, collected, and painted.

Roger's partner George Veronda designed the main house, studio and guest house. It's reminiscent of the Farnsworth house with enormous glass walls and modernist architecture. I had to put on my Studio Thinking cap and see just how an artist like Roger Brown envisioned. 

Brilliant colors and shading made his paintings pop in light.

It was a little tricky navigating the artwork with kids in the house. Living in the Roger Brown house made me think how we are all curating our own lives. Do our students know they are curating their own collection? 

My immediate response after living in this house for two and half days was to come home and make art. How do classroom spaces function as inspiration for students?

Welcome to our Newest Member

The Studio Thinking and American Art project would like to welcome Linda Comminos from Manley Career Academy to our learning community. She was recently featured on the MSNBC Morning Joe "Innovators in the Classroom" segment. Click here to check it out.