The philosophy of the Visual Arts program at Friends Academy is grounded in the belief that each child possess a resource of natural creativity waiting to be explored, expanded, and refined. As educators, it is our goal to nurture that creativity through our motivational dialogue, classroom environment and, of course, a selection of art materials that are appropirate for transforming our ideas into a reality.
A student focuses on a contour line drawing of forsythia.
During art classes, students explore the visual elements and principles of design through a variety of media and techniques. Fourth grade artists recently observed an arrangement of forsythia. We explored gesture, composition and proportion while observing and drawing this cheerful sign of Spring.
Fourth grade artists refine their drawings after taking a deeper look.
What does it mean to observe? We discussed how drawings can be created with our imagination, they can be based on observation, or they can be a little mix of both. Students were asked to spend a significant amout of looking deeply at the forsythia to discover its shape, size, color and any patterns that make up the tall, thin arrangement.
A relaxed environment was created with the help of some non-vocal jazz.
Students were asked to look at the arrangement as a whole by observing the gesture and movement of the branches as well as the positive and negative space. Using a loose, light hand, students mapped out their drawing first than went back into specific areas to refine and include more details.
Students practice working the entire drawing at the same time to develop a harmonious composition.
It is important to take frequent breaks and step away from your work, look at it from afar, walk around, view the art of your peers and then dive back in again. Our gallery walks are not meant for us to compare our work to others, rather they are a way for us to open our mind and gather new persectives. Teddy Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of Joy”. We read this sign together and discussed how it is important for each individual to discover what his or her positive qualities are and to celebrate them. The arts offers an endless amount of possibilites to explore, discover and truly understand our potential.
Thank you for engaging your eyes.
This is a post from an arts blog that I started on my schools website. For the direct link, click here.
I was researching Georgia’s work in Google images the other day and was awestruck by this vibrant display of color and form. I had to have it. All of it. So, I captured it with a screen shot. On a Mac you can capture a screen shot too by holding down these three buttons at once: shift + command + 4 . Once you press down on all three keys, a small cropping tool that looks like a bullseye with a plus sign in the center will pop up on your screen in place of your mouse marker. Move your mouse around the screen until you have the bullseye in the top left corner of where you want your image to be framed. You then click and hold (don’t let go!) and drag until you fancy the size and shape of your “shot” and then let go of your click. The image will be saved to your desktop as a screen shot.
In the photo above, a 4 year-old child explores geometric forms after discussing the art of Wassily Kandinsky. During Art, children learned about his passion for music, his love of the arts and his desire to unite the two in harmony through color and form. Students continued to work over their collage the following class with watercolor while listening to music composed of a gentle and calm melody.
Maybe my mathematical formula will be fancied by the DOE. Let’s keep the Arts alive.
After all, the earth without “art” is just “eh”.
I enjoy what I do. -MJ
Have you ever thought about the lifespan of a fern? They first appeared on earth 340 million years ago!
Ferns hold such a beautiful texture, most of which is hidden from the naked eye. Relief prints can be made to help capture and understand the hidden beauty of a fern.
Students pressed ferns into clay as well as made fern prints using white ink on blue and black paper. For more information about creating fern prints in clay to produce a faux fossil, view my complete tutorial at ART ENGINE.
Have you printed nature before? What textures tickle your fancy?
Have a LOVELY day!
Do you have paper? Do you own scissors? How about glue?
Have you caught the holiday spirit? If you answered “tak” to all these questions, then you are familiar with the Polish language and are already prepped for making this stunning paper star. Oh yes, a ruler or a straight edge will help too.
Paper cutting is a decorative art from that is traditionally popular in Poland. During difficult times in the early to mid 20th century, when the production of elaborate glass ornaments was put on hold, people in Poland would save paper scraps and use it to produce holiday decorations. This tradition boosted holiday spirit and also helped everyone to appreciate simplicity.
This paper star was made from just 6 small square sheets of paper. Can you believe it? The versitility of paper fascinates me. I think of paper as such a delicate material, yet it has so much potential for sculptural creations.
Would you like to make one? Here is what you will need:
6 square sheets of any colored paper of any size larger than 7 inches
(I used 9 inch squares for this tutorial)
glue (I like Aleen’s tacky glue)
Fold all 6 sheets in half on a diagonal to form a triangle. Fold in half again, to form another triangle. Then rotate each triangle until the hypotenuse (the longest side) is parallel with your belly and grab your ruler and a pencil.
Using your ruler, you will need to draw 5 lines on each triangle. Each line will be parallel with the hypotenuse (the longest side). These lines are guidelines for cutting slits in your triangle, therefore they should be ghost lines, or very lightly drawn. I drew them with black sharpie in the image below because I wanted you to see them easily. Don’t do that. Please.
Notice how the lines are parallel to the hypotenuse. They are also an equal distance apart from one another. Draw your lines beginning on one side of your triangle and ending just before the other side. Be sure to stop your line before the edge of one side because soon you will cut on these guidelines and you must STOP before you reach the edge in order to form slits.
Carefully cut on each guideline, starting on the side where the marker touches the edge and ending about a 1/4 inch before the edge of the other side. Your triangle now has 5 slits. Draw your guidelines and cut slits on all six triangles.
Now you are ready to transform your flat square into something 3-D. You will do this by connecting the triangular pieces that sit opposite of one another. My hands is reaching for the center two. Always begin in the center.
Put a small amount of tacky glue on one point as shown above. A like to say “a little glue goes a long way. If you use too much you will be waiting ’till next Tuesday”. My students say “not a lot, just a dot”. What I really mean to say is…don’t use a lot of glue. A small amount does the trick.
When connecting two sides, be sure to roll, or wrap the paper over one another. This creates a cylindrical form and is not only what makes the star pop into a 3-D form, but also helps it to stay strong and sturdy.
Do you notice the sculptural form starting to appear? Magical, right?
Once you finish gluing the two center triangles, you will move on to the next two that are closest to the center, BUT you will need to flip the paper over and attach them on the other side. This creates negative space between the parts. Negative space plays an important role in art. In Chinese brush painting it is seen as a resting place and a space to breathe.
Continue connecting the adjacent sides, flipping the piece over with each new connection. Do you notice the flip flop pattern in the image below?
Thank you for reading! I hope you found this tutorial helpful. I am a big fan of the written word so if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to leave a message on the bottom of this post.
May your days (and nights) be merry and bright.
P.S. Continue reading below to learn more about the history behind this paper star.
In the early 1900’s decorations became very popular and were mass produced in Poland. Most popular were mouth-blown glass ornaments. It was a magical time for Christmas in Poland during those thriving years. The production was amazing, the demand was literally world wide, and the country thrived through Christmas ornaments.
Unfortunately, World War II hit the country with devastation. The production of the beautiful ornaments dwindled as the country fought to survive. There were no materials to manufacture the decorations and no way to export them as the War raged. People of Poland found any scrap of paper they could find and began to make intricate paper decorations.