Monday, December 5, 2016

The Ratner School Art Program

I hope you all enjoyed seeing a small sample of the art work our students created at the annual book fair this past week. I am sorry to have missed the fair, I was setting up for an art fair. Many thanks to Stacey Souther and all the parents who helped set up the art work, I truly appreciate your support of the art program! I have place the 7th and 8th grade bird houses in the lobby this week so everyone can see the work from the upper school students. New work will be hung in the lobby for the band concert on Thursday and I hope you will all take the time to talk to the students about their work if you have the opportunity. I will be at the concert Thursday and look forward to seeing the students perform. Please note that all 1st - 8th grade students will be going to MOCA next week as part of our on going partnership. 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th grade students will visit on Wednesday, December 14th, 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th will visit Thursday, December 15th. The bus will leave promptly at 9:00, so please make sure your child is to school on time. Thank you!

Kindergarten Art

We began our unit on Walt Disney with a new project. Although personally I am not a huge Disney fan, I have always appreciated the inventiveness and skill shown in the cell animation through the Disney studios. I developed a project where the students could try to create their own animation cell. A watercolor background scene was created using a lighter value watercolor wash on thick paper. The students were given a clear acetate sheet and a sample drawing of some main Disney characters to trace with sharpie markers. We talked about scale and placement on the cell and how the characters were made to show movement. A second layer could be created to show details in the environment like trees or bushes. The students could quickly make their character "move" through the scene by moving the acetate layer. They were very captivated with their work and enjoyed the effect. 

1st and 2nd Grade Art

We began a new unit based on the work of Piet Mondrian. The students went into the Maker Space to watch a couple of animations about the transformation of Mondrian's work and then began to build a "Mondrian Sculpture" using LEGOS! They had a fantastic time and created several wonderful Mondrian inspired sculptures. I wanted to continue the unit, but did not want to do a painting project. I came up with a crazy notion to do a wood project based on Mondrian. The students (of course) loved the idea of working in the Maker Space, so we ran with the idea! The pieces began with sawing and sanding a thinner piece of wood and prepping the surface to take a layer of white paint. The next phase involved choosing several blocks of wood to construct the composition. Each block was painted with either red, blue or yellow paint to emulate the work of Mondrian. We will begin construction of the pieces this week in the Maker Space. I love the way this project is coming together and I am so glad we have a space to build in!

Mondrian LEGOS!

The painted Mondrian pieces waiting for assembly

3rd and 4th Grade Art

The students are putting the finishing touches on their illustrations for their stories. The stories were written in their homeroom class and the subject matter was set as a personal narrative. Each student chose one part of their narrative they wanted to illustrate. We looked at different methods and materials to express their story in a visual way and the students began working on their illustrations. Drawing, painting and collage methods were all used in the illustrations with extra attention paid to adding some details to their illustrations to add to the telling of the personal narrative. The project will be completed this week and will be "premiered" at the movie release party in their homeroom class.


5th and 6th Grade Art

We have begun a new drawing unit in art this week. I have introduced advanced shading exercises to the class and they have been practicing the techniques. The students are improving with each class and we will begin a longer term still-life project this week using the newly learned technique. Shading takes some patience and a lot of practice to improve, but starting the students at this grade level will accelerate the skills and they show great pride when they can transform a simple line drawing to show dimension in forms. 

6th grade shading exercise

7th and 8th Grade Art

Now that the bird house construction project is complete, we have switched gears to a drawing unit. I have re-presented shading to the students and they have been practicing the skills with shading exercises. I love to shade with graphite and find the process completely relaxing and enjoyable. The students are improving with practice and love to see a simple circle transform into a sphere with the application of shading. I am encouraging practice to strengthen their techniques and have seen several students improve dramatically within the time of 2 classes.


Shading exercises