Pinewood Artists at Work

I am excited to share with you some of this week’s happenings in the art room. I love seeing students engage in creating artwork, as well as the abundance of creative problem solving, materials exploration, and aesthetic development that happens along the way!

Here is a description of what Mrs. Derusha’s art classes have been working on this week.

Kindergarten students just began a fiber unit. They learned where fiber products come from, as well as what the characterizes fiber materials. Students explored fiber materials and made keen observations about their visual and textural qualities. I challenged them to create faces, houses, and the crown they would wear if they were a king or queen! They also sorted through a variety of objects categorizing them as either fiber or not fiber. This was a great process week of learning, exploring, and experiencing fiber! Next week they will begin a formal project with fiber.

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First grade students just completed a collage unit with owls as the subject matter. They learned about neutral colors and the art of collage. They were excited that the collage technique created a feathery texture. This unit demanded a lot of fine motor skill to tear the paper and cut out tiny eyes, beaks, and feet. These owls have so much personality!

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Second grade is in the midst of an abstract painting unit. They learned about abstract art and how to decipher whether or not an artwork is abstract. Next they learned how to compose the elements of art– line, shape, color, texture, space, value, and form– in order to create an interesting and balanced artwork. I have been very impressed with these paintings and the student’s ability to balance the elements in their compositions. Additionally these paintings have demanded an incredible level of craftsmanship, particularly when students outline their composition with black paint. I have been thrilled to see second grade artists pushing themselves with both their design and craftsmanship skills!

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Third grade students are completing an Aboriginal Art unit. They learned about Aboriginal artists– where they are from, the subject matter of their paintings, the materials used, and most exciting, the x-ray design! Students drew an animal of their choice and then imagined what the inside of the animal would look like. Some students chose a very realistic approach to drawing the bones, organs, and muscles, while others chose a more stylized representation. These were an excellent combination of science, imagination, and artistic style!

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Fourth grade students are in the midst of a painting unit. First they learned a scraping technique that produces a very real likeness to birch trees. Next I taught them five watercolor techniques, which they were then challenged to use in addition to the birch trees to complete their landscape. In the past I have guided students more directly in how to use the techniques, but this year I am pushing students to make more of these decisions independently. To prepare them we first had a class critique using completed paintings from a different class. Students discussed and debated how the watercolor techniques were used and what made the paintings successful or what they would change themselves. This was a great open ended discussion and I was very impressed with the careful observation, analysis, and thoughtful dialogue. With our current class mantra in mind– “Imagine. Think. Plan.” –students took their analysis and watercolor knowledge and began their paintings. I know they will be successful because I am seeing both a high level of technical skill and an incredible variety of results. Students have mastered both the skills and concepts that are needed for stunning final products!

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Fifth grade students just wrapped up a printmaking unit. They created prints with portraiture as the subject matter. Students critiqued a variety of prints observing the way facial features, expression, clothing, and backgrounds come together to communicate a narrative. Printmaking involves many materials, tools, and process steps, and I am proud that the students learned how to successfully complete the printmaking process!

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Sixth grade students just completed very challenging and complex clay sculptures. I challenged them to create a sculpture using only the coil technique, building it at least six inches in height and adding a sculptural element. This was a long process of designing, planning, and of course sculpting! Students had to engage in a great deal of problem solving to see their plans through and adjust as needed along the way. I am proud of their perseverance and I will be excited to see these glazed in the future!

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The field trip came to us!

The field trip came to us!

Our fourth graders recently enjoyed a presentation to enrich our
learning about Michigan’s Native Americans and French explorers that came to Michigan long ago. We were all able to fit into a traditional Native American home and try out many tools from nature that they used to survive. Inside, we re-enacted what it was like to be a brave French voyageur exploring an unknown land and got to feel many of the types of furs that were traded at the time. A big thank you goes out to our Pinewood Parent Club for your support in making this happen!