It is here that you will find updates about what is going on in your child's art class. There will be photos, explanations, links to pinterest pages and artist websites and more! Make sure to check back here to keep up with us!
For a brief overview of 7th grade art, click on the home page!
9/7/16: The second day of school a.k.a. the first real day of classes!
Today is like the first real day of school as students are actually going to all of their classes and the class periods are the normal length of time. To start the year we are beginning with a one day project so students can get their hands moving and making!
The one day project is called "300 artists." For this project, we first began talking about the importance of letting go of control of our art -- meaning that sometimes we need to let go a little and see what happens with our art. Sometimes we need to make experiments, try new things and take risks and sometimes, those experiments or risks don't work out, but sometimes they do and sometimes they turn into the most amazing art! It is important for students to understand that making mistakes is ok in art - that sometimes we need to just go with it and turn it into something new.
So, with that said, we introduced the "300 artists" project in which students wouldn't have ANY control over the artwork. For this project, our first period classes were given a square piece of paper with a single mark on it. Students were then asked to respond to that mark by creating a response drawing that would be abstract. They were asked to only use abstract lines, shapes, patterns and nothing representational. They also were only allowed to use thin black sharpie, pencil and blue colored pencil...not to restrict them but to push them to see what they can do with limited materials. Following the first period classes, students would come in and choose one of the squares that now had a drawing on it from the first class, now these students would respond to their drawing with a new drawing on the same paper so as to build off of the last drawing. By the end of the day, we would have 30 squares covered in drawings by almost 300 artists and the artists all had no control over how the piece would turn out in the end.
Students really loosened up with this project and let themselves explore mark making, abstraction, positive and negative space, various kinds of lines, finding shapes within the previous drawings, creating patterns, mood, feeling, energy and movement. The results have been amazing and it was awesome to see the work travel throughout the day between so many different artist hands. It was also amazing to see how the art changed throughout the day, between different classes and grade levels and between different artistic styles. Check out some images of the final work below!
9/13/16: Beginning our first project!
7th Graders have begun art making with their first project! A common theme with 7th grade art this year is art as a process and specifically how one idea can lead into deeper explorations of that idea but those explorations can take different forms. And yet, despite taking different forms, there is always a connecting point to where we started, so we start to see a process happen where one idea leads to the next which leads to the next and so on. It becomes a natural process and students can then look back at their process and see the work they've done and how it all is threaded together.
So, to begin our process in art, we have started with abstract gesture drawing. 7th graders big project this year will be a sculpture project in which they will be designing and constructing a building or some form of architecture. I really wanted to emphasize that typically we wouldn't pair abstract gesture drawing with architecture or buildings, because when we think about architecture and blue prints and designs, we think about perfect renderings with perfect straight lines that are measured and drawn with a ruler and there is a scale and every detail is included....where as gesture drawing is so drastically different....it is loose, quick, responsive, intuitive, and certainly not a perfect rendering. However, what we realized was threading the two together, was that there are major artists and designers and architects out there that actually work in a more natural, loose, way similar to gesture drawing and with these loose drawings that they create, they are able to pull inspiration from those drawings and then design their building based off of them.
So for instance one of our big artists that we will talk about with this project is Frank Gehry (click his name to learn more about him). Frank Gehry is a perfect example of an architect or designer who doesn't necessarily fit into that perfect rendering, scaled drawing, sort of way of designing a building. In fact he is quite the opposite. Specifically with this example below of the Walt Disney Concert Hall that he designed in California.
In the example above, we can see that Frank Gehry has a very loose style of sketching his ideas. He was sitting having coffee one day when he got his idea and quickly sketched it out on a napkin! So, for 7th graders, we will be starting with abstract, gestural drawing. We will be doing all kinds of experimental drawing like blind contours, doing large scale drawings with our bodies, using alternative tools for mark making and more! Our hope is that once they have created a whole bunch of experimental drawings, that students will then go back into those drawings and look for things they find interesting, maybe a line, a shape or a moment of one of the drawings that they are inspired by. With those moments in mind, they will directly use that inspiration to then design their own building. We have not gotten to this part yet! However, we have begun our experimental drawing! Check out our pinterest board on gestural abstract experimental drawing!
Yesterday, we tried blind contours (creating a drawing without looking at your paper while drawing - the point of this is to have the kids loosen up, stop worrying about creating a perfect rendering and instead focus on what they are trying to draw, often times when we are drawing from observation, we end up inventing information rather than really observing what we are trying to draw!), check out some images below of some of the results!
9/14: More experimental drawing....making our own drawing & painting tools!
Today, 7th graders talked briefly about how in history artists had to create their own tools and supplies in order to make art. We talked about how they might go outside and find a twig or piece of wood to carve down into a handle and then maybe they would go to the local farm and trim some horse hair to create bristles for their paintbrush. Or they might burn their own wood in order to make charcoal. We also talked about finding pigments and color in nature and how artists may have went out and scavenged for berries to then mash up into some kind of paint.
So, I took our 7th graders outside and we scavenged for our own materials to make tools, we also used objects from inside our classroom that they thought might make an interesting mark. The most amazing part was finding berries outside to actually mash up and make into our own ink and it produced a really beautiful color! Check out some photos of students making their tools and testing out their new found ink!
Today in class (9/15) we will be testing out all of our drawing tools and even trying each others! Check back to see what sorts of experiments we made with our tools!
More drawing experiments!
After trying out our own handmade tools, we moved on to try another kind of experimental drawing - reactive drawing! I gave each student a large piece of paper and a few choices of materials to use. I then played various kinds of music and had student create marks based off of the music. I asked students to pay attention to what kinds of marks they had made and why they were making certain marks. It created an interesting discussion and definitely an interesting day in class - students seemed to really enjoy it! Check out some images of students at work in the classroom!
7th graders have begun their first project - monoprinting! They will be continuing with the looseness of experimental drawing and carrying that into monoprinting. Monoprinting is a really fun process that the kids seem tor really enjoy - they get to paint directly on the tables! Students will be focusing on creating a monoprint of an environment / location, whether that place is real or imagined. Check out our pinterest board for inspiration on types of landscapes / environments!
Students have begun printing...check out some photos of students at work:
10/7/16: Final monoprints!
Check out some of the 7th graders final monoprints of locations / environments!
10/7/16: Beginning our building project!
Students have begun designing their buildings which they will be creating out of wire and paper ache! After sketching out our ideas, students have begun making paper models in order to start to envision their building in three-dimensions. First we watched a quick video of Frank Gehry in the studio with his design partner as they build a paper model for a future building. It was a great way to connect the students to a real contemporary artist / architect. The video is great because you see Gehry get frustrated at his model and sort of feel stuck, until he just tries something and he ends up liking it! Check it out here! Now, see some paper models in the works!
10/11/16: Almost ready to start building with wire!
Students have been working hard on their paper models of the buildings they have designed and they are almost ready to start building the final versions with wire and paper mache! Students first looked at a pinterest board about sculpting with wire so they could see what kinds of structures and shapes they could create to get the shape or design that they are envisioning. Check out the pinterest board, here, to see our inspiration! After looking at the pinterest board, students had a better idea of how they might actually build their buildings, some even ended up changing their ideas based on some of the images we saw and talked about on the pinterest board. Next we began our in progress art share - I felt it was important for students to talk about their idea, show the class their paper model, whether done or not, and then get feedback. This feedback is very important to an artist, it is a way to hear about what your viewers are thinking about your idea, it is an opportunity to get ideas or suggestions from peers about how to make the piece stronger! We haven't finished our art share yet, so on Thursday, we will finish that and then begin building with wire!! Check back for photos of students working with wire next!
11/9/16: We have been SO busy!
Jumping ahead to almost done and actually finished buildings -- check out what you're 7th graders have been making...amazing, unique buildings and public structures! Some are still in wire form while others have moved forward into paper mache and embellishing!