MS: Single-Line Contour Drawing

Students continued their unit based in fundamental drawing skills by creating another series of contour drawings.

The rule for this contour drawing was simple: use only one line. To force students to stick to this rule, each was given a single, 2-foot piece of wire. With the limited amount of wire, students had to consider which features were most important to include. Students created several revisions, chose their most successful, then glued them to a paper background.



MS: Modified Contour Drawings

Students began their next unit based in fundamental drawing skills by creating a series of contour drawings.

The first contour drawing activity was designed to force students into making mistakes then work with those mistakes. Students chose a series of images that they tried to recreate using black glue drippings from a bottle. Students had limited control of the glue, which encouraged students to focus on large details and proportion, rather than small details.



MS: Stereotype Bobbleheads

Students in the Fall Middle School elective class finished their semester of exploring their own identities and their communities by creating self-portrait bobbleheads. The bobbleheads were constructed with Model Magic, wire, and acrylic paint.

Each student’s task was to address a stereotype they face through the creation of their bobblehead. Each bobblehead was later combined with text and additional visuals to debunk this stereotype. This project got students talking about why stereotypes exist and how each member of a community can affect change, particularly through artmaking and visual literacy.

“I wear glasses and can still be a hero.”
“Girls can be strong too.”
“I can be messy and still get good grades.”
“Nobody can be perfect.”
“Just because I have good grades, doesn’t mean I don’t have a life.”
“I’m a girl and play sports.”
“I’m thin – society says I have to be a model.”

6A: Chalk Installation

To complete our unit on community, students collaborated to create an art installation.

Students learned about pixels, optical color mixing, and artmaking through grids. Inspired by artists such as Chuck Close, students had to choose an image representative of the community that would be viewing it. Then, students were led through the process of grid creation.

It is through this grid and collaboration that we were able to perform a temporary art installation for the school community from chalk.

How amazing it was to see the hard work of each student! Next to the piece, it is nearly impossible to see what the image contains. From above, however, we were able to cheer and high-five over our beautiful accomplishment!


MS: Exploring Values

We are able to see and experience the world through light and values: they create form, depth, and allow us to identify where one object ends and another begins.

Students in the Middle School elective are exploring this concept by using values to transform a flat line drawing to something with form.

To loosen students up, we worked on large pieces of paper to create a contour drawing of something found in the room. Each student was only given about 5 minutes to accomplish this!

Then, we added values to this line drawing in two ways: the first using a single-colored value scale while the second was through a mixed-color value scale.

Students had to finish both large-scale drawings within the 45 minute class time which was a great way to get students to worry less about making mistakes. For some, this ended up being a favorite product to date!



MS: Self Portraits

Middle school has been learning about the differences between using lines to create shape, and then using values to create form. They are attempting both through recreating the proportions of the human face. Students were asked to draw themselves through the observation of a selfie by creating a contour (line) drawing of their faces, taking particular care in making sure the features of the face were accurately sized.

These will be used as the base for a future project.


MS: Critique

Yesterday there was a pleasant surprise waiting for the middle school elective students: an art critique battle!

This past week, each student has been diligently working to understand the Elements and Principles of design while finishing their latest project. Then yesterday, the entire class was divided into two teams to test them on their knowledge.

Every student work was put up on display with a corresponding number. Then, each student was required to write a small, formal critique about one work of their choosing. For this part, students were encouraged to work in pairs at their tables so that their critiques could be as accurate and focused as possible.

Then the battle began!

Each student who shared their critique with the class earned their team 5 points. One extra point was earned for each use of an element or principle of design vocabulary word. But all students had to listen carefully: the opposing team could challenge the critique if the vocabulary wasn’t used correctly, or if there was a disagreement in opinion. If the opposing team made a good argument and supported their differing opinion with factual evidence, they could cause the critiquing team to lose points!



MS: Tunnel Books

Middle School is in the process of creating tunnel books. Through this project, students are learning about foreground, middle ground, and background, as well as how to construct 3D models based on their 2D sketches.

I am excited to share the outcome of their hard work in the coming weeks!


MS Name Sculptures

It is a pleasure to offer art as an elective to this year’s 7th and 8th graders. The first objective of this year’s class was to build stronger classroom community and relationships. To accomplish this, students were encouraged to consider aspects of their personal identities which they were then able to share with the class through their work.

Each student created cutouts of their names which had to be made three-dimensional. Additionally, each letter (and the base) had to incorporate some part of the student’s identities through color, symbols, pictures, or patterns.