,It seems like when things begin to calm down, the storm rises up again. We have had a rocky start to winter trying to navigate school in and out of the classroom, virtual learning, and limited supplies. Although it hasn't been easy , the students have soared to the occasion and shown once again that they can persevere.
In fourth grade we finished our bakery treat boxes and our animal habitat tunnel books. Both projects were put on display in the windows so we wouldn't need to have people coming into the building. The fifth graders created "positive graffiti" on cardboard and personal clay memories inside miniature boxes based on the series "baggage" by Syrian artist. Mohamed Hafez
At the beginning of November a contest was held to create a small mural design for the empty blue square in the front lobby. The chosen design was painted on the wall and has received so many compliments since! Thank you for brightening up the school!
So many of us recognize the colorful and tasty subjects of artist Wayne Thiebaud's work, I thought it would be fun to not only draw our favorite foods- but sculpt them as well. A pile of donated bakery boxes sparked the idea for this project. I thought we could sculpt a type of food that you may find in a bakery box- pie, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, even pizza, and we could paint them and place them inside the boxes just like a real bakery/restaurant would do. Photos of completed work to come! Below is a video of Wayne Thiebaud talking about his work and long career as an artist.
It is unbelievable that November is already here and pretty soon we will be switching trimester groups! Students have been hard at work creating graffiti style art on cardboard and clay food in bakery boxes (pictures coming soon), but I wanted to show off some of the completed black light artwork . In the fourth grade we created Inuksuk rock stacks with glowing galaxy skies and in the fifth grade we created Day of the Dead and Mexican folk art inspired pieces.
The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and the smell of apple cider donuts fills the air, but October in the art room means black-light art! In fourth grade we learned about the ancient Inuit practice of building Inuksuks to mark trails and help navigate travelers to safe villages. We painted a watercolor background and added glowing Inuksuk stacks using VALUE to show the shadows and highlights. Pops of yellow highlighter created the stars for the background.
In fifth grade we learned about the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) which is a holiday blending Catholic traditions brought over by the Spanish conquistadors with ancient Mayan and Aztec beliefs. We created Mexican folk-art inspired scenes with skeletons, marigolds and glowing papel picado (cut paper). Stay tuned for photos of the finished pieces!
I am loving the unique-ness and colors of these Dream-Catcher designs! The students really took their time to add personal details and to utilize the watercolor pencils in various ways. Each student was also required to write a reflection describing their work and process, which was a great way to get more background on each person's personal goals and interests.
The first couple of weeks have already flown by! In the fourth grade we learned about Mexican contemporary artist Indi Maverick and her animals wearing fancy clothes portraits:
We learned how she uses the element LINE to create detailed textures that mimic the fur of animals. Before we began our animal portraits we started practicing blind contour drawing, which is when you draw an object from observation without lifting your pencil off of the page, OR looking down at your paper. This exercise is helpful for learning how to draw and accurately depicting objects through observation. We used doilies to frame our fancy animals when they were done- simply stunning!
In the fifth grade we learned about Navajo artist Gilmore Scott and his use of PATTERN and SYMBOLS to show his heritage and reference the landscape he is surrounded by. We began work on our Name Hope and DreamCatchers by coming up with symbols that represent our own hopes/dreams and goals for the future. Every student is working on creating a dream-catcher design, using the letters of their first names to create a repeated pattern and including those symbols that represent individual goals. I am loving the creativity and unique designs I am seeing so far!
The first week of school went by in a whirlwind! After getting some "housekeeping" items out of the way like learning our ART-spectations and daily routines, we worked together to define who an artist is. After listing some recognizable famous artist names, we began to think beyond the "traditional" definition of an artist. We realized that everything in our lives from our clothes to our cars, furniture, and every form of entertainment imaginable has been created by an artist. As humans we use art to communicate a message and express our feelings. We learned that ANYONE can be an artist! We expanded our creativity using Ouisi cards (pronounced “we see”) https://shop.ouisi.co/products/connecting-photo-cards These cards are simple visual images of various things, sometimes zoomed in so close that it is difficult to tell what it is. These cards are great for making visual connections and learning to look at the world more artistically. The best part is there are no wrong answers! I am hoping the takeaway of the first week will be to understand that the art room is a safe place for mistakes and experimentation, and that sometimes the most beautiful results come from unexpected and unplanned happenings!
Although many restrictions are still in place due to Covid, and things may tighten up again in the coming months, I am choosing to stay positive and treat this year as a fresh start for all of us! My first step was finally getting the art room whipped into shape. I spent many days over the summer and in the last couple of weeks creating a welcoming environment so we can finally enjoy the art room as it was intended. I am looking forward to a great year!
Hello! My name is Erin Kulis and I am the 4th and 5th grade art teacher at Hampden Meadows in Barrington, RI. I have a BA in Fine art and a Masters of Art Education. I have been teaching art in various environments for over ten years from summer camps, to adult Paint Nite at local restaurants, and most recently a private special education school for students on the severe/profound autism spectrum. I am so happy to be at Hampden Meadows and to share my love of art with this wonderful community!