Tag Archives: nature

Zooming In

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Artist Georgia O’Keefe once said “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.” Her most famous works are large scale flower portraits. Georgia zoomed in on each flower and illustrated their form to help us witness the fine detail and beauty in this tiny living thing.

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While observing the life of a paperwhite for a three week period of time, students documented the growth through time-lapse photography as well as observational drawing. Students looked closely and created a contour line drawing each week for three weeks in an accordion-style book and wrote about their observations.

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We were careful to place the table line and jar in the same place on each page so that the viewer had context of size and growth from a baby bulb to a 2. 5 foot tall blossom (yes, we are scientists and recorded measurements too).

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Enter IMAGINATION. We observed Georgia’s flower portraits and noted on her zoomed-in approach. Using our knowledge of flower petals and our imagination, we developed our own petal and created a personal flower portrait that illustrated our understanding of cropping and zooming in.

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We used ink to make our drawing more defined. We work slow and practice mindfulness when using this permanent material.

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We noticed how Georgia had knowledge of warm and cool color families. We choose one family to incorporate into our petal spaces and our blossom was born.

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We explored mixing the colors that Crayola manufactured for us to invent our own warm and cool creations. If we didn’t like a shade, we changed it. We practice perseverance.

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We take pride in our creations.

The next time you spot a blossom, prove Georgia wrong and STOP and see the flower. Feel it, smell it. Savor it. Life is beautiful.

Artfully,
MJ

 

 

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Collaborative Art Making with Rangoli

“Saal Mubarak to All! May your new year be filled with good health, happiness and love”.
I was inspired by this proclamation recently shared via social media by a friend and colleague. What came next was a collaborative art making activity that gave students the opportunity to explore symmetry and design as well as promote cultural awareness.

fifth grade Rangoli

This time of year many celebrate Diwali, the Hindu New Year. The colleague and friend I mentioned above gave a meaningful presentation to our lower school on Diwali this past week. We learned that one of the traditions of this festival of lights is making Rangoli and placing your creation at your doorstep to greet and welcome visitors to your home.

rangoli w/color frame

After learning so much about Diwali, we were inspired to create our own Rangoli in the art studio. Traditionally colored sand and glitters are used to create these symmetrical assemblages, but we decided to use nature (and a few artist-made objects too).

forest mandala

Students worked collaboratively to construct their designs. We discussed the Quaker Decision-Making Process and were reminded that EVERYONE has a voice and that it is our role to make sure we all have the opportunity to share our ideas. We discussed how the group is stronger than the individual and that communicating with each other will help the art making experience to be productive and positive for all involved.

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I heard students discuss which materials to use and where to place them. Objects were re-arranged to compromise the groups design choices. Young artists were motivated to make this a fun and successful activity and positive thoughts and compliments were bursting like fireworks.

In the midst of it all I heard a student share this anecdote : “We all work together on it and that’s the best part.”

nature assemblage

After our assemblages were complete, we took the time to reflect on our efforts and share with the class. We shared our process, revealed hidden meanings and asked questions to clarify ideas.

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The next day, we discussed the mathematics behind forming a symmetrical design. We began in the center and added lines and shapes around the center in an outward motion to expand our design. We shared strategies for maintaining the symmetry in our design.

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We chose a family of colors to bring our design to life and thought about how they could help support our need for symmetry in our Rangoli design.

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THINKING ABOUT THE ART PROCESS:
Why would a square piece of paper be a good choice to create a circular design on?
What colors would you include in your design?
What image would you place in the center of your design?
What does your Rangoli design say about you as an artist/thinker?

Saal Mubarak to All!
-Ms. Allegra

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Signs of Spring

The philosophy of any Visual Arts program that I lead 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.

What does it mean to observe? A few weeks ago, I discussed with my students 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 amount of looking deeply at the forsythia to discover its shape, size, color and any patterns that make up the tall, thin arrangement.

This is a selection from a post on an arts blog that I started on my schools website. For the whole article via a direct link, click here.

Artfully,

Mary Jo

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Prehistoric Beauty

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Have you ever thought about the lifespan of a fern? They first appeared on earth 340 million years ago!

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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.

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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.

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Look at these lovely ferns covered in white ink.

And bask at the beautiful freshly made prints.
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fern print black

Have you printed nature before? What textures tickle your fancy?

Have a LOVELY day!

Artfully,
MJ

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