The Beansprouts have been studying New York City artists. We recently learned about artist, Elizabeth Murray and looked at her painting: "Do the Dance." Through color mixing and creation of organic and geometric shapes in a variety of sizes and forms, the students each created a painting based on a real or imaginary subject.
The Coconuts and Strawberries have been involved in a 5-week partnership with MoMA. A museum educator has been visiting our art class to discuss how artists use shapes in nature and is making collaborative collage with both classes. The students visited the museum on April 10th. We saw artworks in the Tarsila do Amaral exhibition, as well as a Phillip Guston painting in the permanent collection. The students then participated in a studio workshop in the Education Center where they used polaroid cameras and took photos of each other while exploring the building.
The Snapdragons designed, built, and filmed a circus performance in art based on the work of artist Alexander Calder, who performed with his traveling circus sculptures throughout Paris. The students came up with a concept for their circus character (acrobat, ringmaster, stunt person, tightrope walker, juggler etc) and designed a costume on a wooden mannequin. We built sets from found objects and painted backgrounds depicting a big top and audience members. The Snapdragons then created a stop-motion film showing their circus in motion. It was a great project in collaboration, communication, and problem-solving. You can view the film on the Gillen Brewer website! Just scroll down to the bottom of the homepage: www.gillenbrewer.com
The Daisies started their color study yesterday in Art. First up: Black! The students entered the art room to find easels set up in the classroom. After putting on their smocks, the children found a spot to work and practiced making big, small, fast and slow marks with a paintbrush on large paper.
The Baseball Plants made paintings on canvas of a figure in motion. From soccer players to karate masters...the class depicted a character and then created a background for that character to do his/her activity.
The preschoolers are learning about about sculpture and their imaginative abilities to build, construct, and organize shapes to create a 3D sculpture.
Gillen Brewer had the honor of being invited to display our students' artwork in the Macy Gallery at Teachers College, Columbia University in November. Students from the Rita Gold Early Childhood Center and the School at Columbia University also participated in the show. Our students showed work in painting, collage, photography, and sculpture focusing on the different themes that they're learning about in Art (see descriptions below slideshow). It was a beautiful example focusing on the span on children's artistic development.
Lines and Shapes by the Daisies and Sunflowers
The Preschoolers engaged in explorations focusing on lines and shapes. Using both two- and three-dimensional art materials (e.g., oil pastels, paint, colored pencils, tape, wood, chalk, and paper), the children explored how lines can be manipulated to create new shapes and textures. The students explored pre-symbolic drawing and painting by experimenting with speed, direction, thickness, and big and small actions on paper. The children also learned about shapes by creating mixed media collages with torn subway maps, wooden block towers, and 3D objects. The classes enjoyed exploring the textural qualities of materials by touching paint with their hands and spilling or dumping objects and observing the cause and effect.
Transportation by the Coconut Trees and Strawberry Plants
At the beginning of the school year, the students were presented with the questions: “How do we travel?” “How do we get to school everyday?” “How do kids all over the world travel to school everyday?” Each child engaged in conversations regarding travel and New York City transportation and created their own “window” drawing on a class mural of a bus outside the art room. Students also created their own 3D vehicle, and then worked collaboratively to draw their own road map with oil sticks while incorporating collage materials in unique ways.
Dream Rooms, Important People, and Apartments by the Venus Fly Traps, Pepper Plants, and Beansprouts
The students in these classes created artworks based on experiences within their immediate world. The children created collages of their “dream rooms,” sculptures of people who are important to them, and city apartments. Working in both 2D and 3D media has allowed students to merge both objective and imaginative responses in their artwork as they gain an increased interest in the people and relationships in their families, and eventually, the community.
Photography by the Snapdragons
The students have been studying digital photography with iPads in art, which led to an uncovering of self-discovery and self-esteem. Students learned skills in choosing a subject, point of view, and editing in various apps that teach collage, toning, and special effects. These skills allowed the class to explore themes that were of interest to them and how digital photography can enhance or distort various objects. The group also explored several self-portrait assignments using hand-coloring techniques with paint pens to add text and pattern, which helped the students enhance the depth of their portraits with “surrealistic” characteristics to tell stories in regards to their emotions. The group also learned solar printing techniques, as well photomontage, which demonstrates expanding compositional and imagination skills, as well as humor.
Art in Motion by the Pitcher Plants and Baseball Plants
The students are working on a curriculum in art entitled “Art in Motion” which studies ways in which artists capture movement. The students in these classes participate in martial arts twice a week and made connections to art making through the physicality of sports and playing charades in class. The classes interpreted this experience by practicing figurative and gesture drawing with various drawing and painting materials, as well as drawing facial features and using their classmates as models. During our painting unit, students demonstrated an understanding that relationships between objects and their backgrounds in art elicit an emotional response.
The Pepper Plants explored familiar foods in art and discussed and how how artists can be inspired by food. The students have looked at artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, who made art about everyday lunch food like soup and sandwiches. They then made their own imaginative drawings of what they ate for lunch, using markers and oil sticks on large-format paper. The Pepper Plants drew everything from cookies, to hummus, Coca Cola, and pepperoni!
The Pitcher Plants are working on a curriculum in art entitled “Art in Motion” which studies ways in which artists capture movement. The classes interpreted this experience by practicing figurative and gesture drawing with various drawing and painting materials, as well as drawing facial features and using their classmates as models.
The Snapdragons have been learning about photography since the start of school. The students have been practicing differerent camera angles such as close-up, far away, birds-eye view, and worms-eye view. For this project, the students played two different roles: photographer and model. Each model came up with several emotions and facial expressions and posed, while the photographer captured each feeling. Students then received glossy prints of each picture and were given paint pens to show how color, lines, and shapes to enhance each emotion.
The Otters recently visited Urban Glass in Brooklyn. For more info on Urban Glass, click here. Students got to view a glass-blowing demonstration and then participate in a kiln forming workshop. Kilnforming refers to the spectrum of techniques that use the heat of the kiln to transform and shape glass, among them slumping, fusing and kiln casting. It will take a few days for our work to fuse in the kiln and then cool, so our pieces will be sent home in the next couple of weeks. Overall, the trip was an exciting opportunity to explore a public art and art-making space in our city, while providing meaningful experiences and practical opportunities for learning how to engage in new artistic processes.
The Pumpkins are currently working on a fiber arts unit. Most recently, we learned about embroidery. Students created a pattern of their choice and learned how yarn integrates line and shapes to result in pattern and repetition. The Pumpkins also made connections to people and objects in their own lives by looking at examples of weavings and textiles throughout the past and in contemporary art.
Several classes at GBS participated in the annual Student Teacher Exhibition in the Macy Gallery at Teachers College, Columbia University. The show featured work of students from over 30 elementary and high schools throughout New York City. Gillen Brewer students had their circus figures and sets on display, along with mosaics, backpack sculptures, and puppet theaters! The exhibiton is a great celebration of the accomplishments of our fantastic student teachers, Sam and Leying. We wish them the best of luck as they become art teachers at new schools! The show is up until May 18th. For more information visit: www.tc.edu/macygallery
The Crayons, Legos, Astronauts and Battleships are exploring paper making! Today we worked in small groups to rip up recycled paper to make our own paper pulp. Then, we soaked the paper in a water bin and blended the prepared pieces in a blender. The final step was to spread the paper pulp over a screen and flip it over onto a piece of felt to dry. The students learned about up-cycling materials, color mixing and texture. We can't wait to see what our homemade papers will look like once they're ready! Next class we will see what happens when we add new materials to our pulp mixture...
This week we are celebrating the last of the Color Days with Rainbow Week! Our first lesson of Rainbow Week was about mural painting with spray bottles filled with watercolors. Students worked collaboratively on a large painting that explored color mixing and a spraying and dripping technique. These large mural paintings are now on display on the wall outside of the art room.
The Legos and the Astronauts have been learning about Art & Movement through a partnership with the Museum of Modern Art. Kirstin, a school educator from MoMA, has engaged the students in the Legos and the Astronauts in a variety of art-making activities that explore movement with many different kinds of materials. First, Kirstin talked about drawing movement through mono-drawings using prismasticks, rubbing plates, and wikki sticks. Students created a background for their work using the rubbing plates by placing the plate underneath the paper and rubbing a prismastick over the surface, and then created a second layer of drawing by forming their own imagery using wikki sticks and repeated the rubbing process. Students learned that mono means one - and that although their drawing plates could be used again and again, each drawing they create will be unique from the previous, depending on the placement of the plate, the colors they choose and the pressure they put on their drawing utensil.
The Astronauts and Legos went on a field trip to MoMA to learn about artists that use movement to create their artwork. Students got to see artworks by Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, Jackson Pollock, Claude Monet and Umberto Boccioni. We discussed how our body's movement can change the look of our mark-making. We pretended what it would feel like to create a Pollock painting by splattering, spilling and throwing our imaginary paint using our whole bodies. Our museum educators passed out pieces of yarn, counted to three, and everyone dropped their string onto the ground. Students observed how the yarn pieces resembled the paint in Pollock's artwork. This activity inspired a lesson in the art room back at Gillen Brewer where students used yarn and sticky boards to create yarn drawings. Students decided if they wanted to make shapes, experiment with different lines, or create pictures while making their artworks.
The Legos and Astronauts continued to explore movement in art by creating action paintings. The Legos used oil sticks, and the Astronauts used watercolors to create all different kinds of marks that represented action words - like splat, pow, slither, swirl, creep, jump, boom and pop. The art and movement fun continued with Kirstin when students learned how to create marble paintings. Students placed a piece of paper inside a shoebox, dropped in some paint and a few marbles, and helped each other shake it up! Their dancing and shaking moved the marbles up, down, side to side and all around, which revealed interesting and active designs once we opened the boxes.
For our last session with Kirstin, students will explore movement and art by using their whole bodies to participate in a series of drawing challenges. Check back on our blog soon for footage of our large collaborative movement artworks! We can't wait to see what the students will create next.
The Lily Pads and Apples are well into their Color Day Curriculum. Each week we've been learning about a different color and exploring painting on easels on Tuesdays and working with mixed media collage or sculpture materials on Thursdays. The students have been having fun discovering what happens when you add white or mix different amount of each color to make new shades. We've also added oil sticks, crayons, do stickers and chalk to our paintings. Some students have been exploring making faces or figures. We also listened (and moved our brushes) to songs each week relating to colors including "Yellow Submarine," (Beatles) "Blue Suede Shoes," (Elvis) "Purple Rain" and "Raspberry Beret" (Prince) It's exciting to see what happens each week when a new color is introduced!