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!




5B: Texture Hunt!

Congratulations to the students in 5th B who have worked hard to earn their art party! This group of students voted to have an art activity outside as a reward.

At the beginning of class and in the classroom, students learned about textures and how to perform a successful texture rubbing. Then, we went outside as a class and explored the campus; we were on a texture hunt!

Students were encouraged to layer textures and colors to add visual interest to their compositions.


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.


4th & 5th: Pixel Self Portraits

Students in the 4th and 5th grades have been learning about self portraiture. During this lesson, students generated self portraits while drawing inspiration from digital media such as Minecraft.

Students learned about pixels, digital art, and how to apply math concepts to create a work of art representing themselves on a grid.


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!



6th: Sgraffito Self Portraits

As the capstone to their Personal Identity unit, students have been working on contour self portraits. Students learned about proportions in order to aid them in drawing their own face.

Each student was able to choose a photograph of themselves from their personal device then had to draw from observation. Each finished drawing was outlined in Sharpie, then filled completely with a thick coat of oil pastel.

Next week, students will finish these projects by adding layers of Sgraffito to the surface of their drawings to add texture and visual interest. (This will be done through a layer of black paint on top, which is then scratched in to.)


Community Watercolor Weavings

Students in the 4th and 5th grades were asked, “how can colors be used to say something about yourself?” In response, students created two paintings while reflecting on their color choices and how those choices can say something about who they are.

Students were then able to choose between their two paintings, keeping their favorite one to use as the base for their weaving. The other was cut into strips then shared with each other student in the class.

These weavings, while combining the artistic talents of every student, create colorful portraits of the classroom communities as a whole.


6th: Paper Self Portraits

What are self-portraits and why do artists create them?

6th graders are continuing to explore this question and ideas of self through the creation of symbolic self-portraits. Students must consider how symbols, shapes, and colors can give their artworks meaning and what it is they would like to say about themselves.

From preliminary sketches through the construction of their low-relief paper sculptures, students are encouraged to see the impact each creative decision has on their final works.



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!