Friday, April 29, 2011

Rock Me Amedeo

I thought a good way to start the new session of Under the Influence would be with self portraits. We've done portraits before, but this time we learned about Amedeo Modigliani. The elongated heads and necks he painted gave his portraits an "elegant" look. 

I like to start the class learning about an artist and doing a brief demonstration of the project, explaining the guidelines to help the students focus. However, not everyone always wants to do the project the way it is explained. I tell them this class is meant to be fun, and I'm not grading them. I want them to be influenced by what they see, but they don't have to (and shouldn't) copy.  They are the artists, so they are free to do what they want. Some students chose to do self portraits, some did portraits of friends or made up people, and some did animals. I think they are all "elegant."

Wild About Books (and Art)

The spring session has begun, and in PreK Art Lunch we got started with 4 great books, all about reading. We discussed them, picking our favorites, and then made (what else?) bookmarks! Here's to a great session and lots of reading....

Friday, April 15, 2011


In PreK Art Lunch, I asked the children to bring in a book from home that we could read. Before reading each one, we heard why that book was chosen.

Maggie picked the classic Runaway Bunny, Kaylee brought a Dora Easter book, Jimmie had a Star Wars book, and Teo chose Where the Wild Things Are. He was also kind enough to pass out Wild Things pencils to everyone in the class. And Jimmy brought paper from home in case anyone wanted to draw Star Wars characters. Beatrice didn’t have a book, but I had brought some from home, and she chose “Loopy,” but she did not want her picture taken.

Free to Be You & Me

This was our last week of classes this session, and it’s the week before Spring Break, so I wanted to do something a little different in my classes. 

In Tuesday’s Under the Influence class, we briefly reviewed some of the things we learned this session, and then the students were free to draw whatever they wanted, in whatever medium was available. Not having a lesson was a challenge to a few of them, as it was very difficult for them to decide what to draw, but eventually everyone came up with something.

Thursday I was planning to do the same thing. Before class I found out the Movie Making after school class was premiering their movie in the auditorium. So after drawing for a bit, we took a “field trip” to see “The Dark Side of the School....the story of the Fluffy Ruler”—or some such title I can’t seem to remember. It was a fun show and looks like a great clss. When we returned to the room, everyone was ready to finish up their pictures. I enjoyed seeing the variety of subjects drawn and processes used to complete them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Some Sweet Art

Wayne Thiebaud is the artist we learned about in Under the Influence this week. He's an American artist who is associated with the Pop art movement, repeating everyday objects, such as cakes, lipsticks and gumball machines. I showed the students some samples and had them point out some themes. They came up with "bright colors, repetition and food."

Then I showed them how to make a replica of an image by drawing it first and then turning the paper over onto a new sheet and drawing on the back so the pencil gets transferred to the new sheet. This was difficult for some of them, but when it worked, they were thrilled. I also gave them the option of cutting out a stencil and tracing it or cutting out a few of the repeated shapes and pasting them down. Most of them wanted to try the transfer technique.