Archive | November, 2012

Poinsettia sponge paintings – Impressionism/Renoir

27 Nov

Impressionism is a style in which the artist paints an object as someone would see it if they just caught a glimpse of it. They use a lot of color and many of their pictures are outdoor scenes. Their pictures are also very bright and vibrant. The artists like to capture their images without outlines or detail but with bold colors. One of the most well-known impressionist artists was:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who lived a long time ago (1841-1919).
(show portraits)
Look at this comparison between a photograph of Renoir and an impressionist self-portrait he painted of himself.  Discuss differences between photograph and painting. He made many paintings in the Impressionist style and we will look at another one today:

Still Life with Roses
Does this look clear and precise like a photograph?
What do you notice about how it’s painted?
– he’s used color and strokes of his brush to give the idea of flowers and vase
– no outlines
Composition – the arrangement of parts in an image to form a pleasing whole

Our project
Poinsettia sponge paintings – holiday time is near and we see them around often this season
– we will use sponges to make paintings of poinsettia flowers in the impressionist style
– our sponge prints will suggest the shapes of the flowers without drawing lines and details

look at poinsettia (plant or photograph)
– what features do we notice?
*circular orientation of petals
* yellow center – clusters of dots
* red petals/green leaves

Get started
write your name in pencil on the back!
Use Q-tips to dip in yellow paint and make a few flower centers on your page.
– not too close to the edge or to each other so you have room for the petals
Use sponges dipped in paint to make petals all around your centers
– these flowers are traditionally red colored but you may use any color
– each flower should be a single color
– make a few green ones for leaves if you like (use sponge or paintbrush)
– don’t mix red and green!  It will turn muddy brown
Once you’re finished with your petal sponge prints choose one background color and carefully use a brush to fill in the white areas around your flowers
– select a different color than your flowers

– thick drawing paper
– sponges cut into petal shapes of varying size
– Q-tips
– paint brushes
– tempera paint (several colors thinned slightly)
– paint cups
– water cups
– desk protection paper
– drying rack
– wipes!  They will get messy 🙂

project inspired by:

Room 6 First Grade Ms. Wilson

Docent: Jen Clark
Assistants: Jen Dailey, Stephany Toche, Larcy Douglas


Art Elements Reviewed: composition, Renoir


The “Dot” and International Dot Day!

26 Nov

In September, Room 14 (Gaffney-3rd grd) students participated in International Dot Day.  This is a day to celebrate creativity and personal expression inspired by the well known book, “The Dot”.

The Learning Objectives of the lesson were to:

1.  Learn to explore their creativity and express themselves

2.  Have a chance to make their mark without worrying about getting it right.

3.  Develop a sense of pride in their abilities and enjoy a feeling of ownership over their creations.

We started the lesson by reading “the Dot”, by Peter Reynolds.  This is a story about a little girl who is unsure about her drawing abilities, and her teacher who encourages her to make her mark (a dot), and see where it takes her, building her confidence as an artist.

Then, Room 14 set to work on their own dots, using watercolor to create their masterpieces.  Each one of them really made their mark as no two were alike!

Lesson Materials:

Book:  The Dot, by Peter Reynolds




Resources:  This website has everything you will need for your International Dot Day Lesson

Docent:  Kimberly Albert

Pattern, Texture and Storytelling – Faith Ringgold

17 Nov


Pattern, Texture and Storytelling
Faith Ringgold (1930- )
Print used: Tar Beach

Faith Ringgold was born and raised in Harlem,New York. She was greatly influenced by the fabric she worked with at home with her mother, who was a fashion designer, and has used fabric in many of her artworks. She is especially well known for her painted “story quilts” which blur the line between “art” and “craft” by combining painting, quilted fabric, and storytelling. Her finished pieces are actual quilts. No paper. No painting. And are displayed in many museums across the country.

“Tar Beach” is one of her many “story quilts”. Read “Tar Beach” book.

Ask students to think about the sentence, “I would like to fly over… because…”

Pattern and Texture


When answering the question above, what is it about that place or image that makes you want to be there or explore it from above?

What would it look like? Does it have vibrant colors, sparkling lights? Is it bigger than you imagined?


Explain lesson and show example.

Like Faith, use fabric scraps to create a patterned border around your paper.

Use fabrics that inspire and enhance your drawing.

Write your sentence at the bottom, then your drawing above with YOU flying in the air!


14” x 14” square white paper with border lightly drawn
Fabric scraps, cut in 2″ strips
Pencil and fine-point Sharpie for writing sentence
Colored pencils & Glue sticks


  • Write name NICELY in pencil on back.
  • Choose fabric scraps and cut them into squares about 2” x 2”.
  • Glue your border of fabric scraps with glue stick
  • Draw with pencil your drawing AND sentence.
  • Make sure your sentence is complete and written nicely and not TOO BIG.
  • Double-check to make sure it is written correctly, then trace over with a Sharpie, write your name near the sentence
  • Make sure to include YOU in the picture flying.
  • Color in with colored pencil


2nd grade, Ms. Schroder, Room B3
Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Faith Ringgold


Symmetry – Tony Orrico

17 Nov

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We had another art docent visit today, this time focusing on symmetry. We looked at Inuit Art that is based on bilateral symmetry and discussed the ways that our bodies are basically symmetrical. We did some movement experiments, and then looked at the work of dancer/visual artist Tony Orrico, who makes drawings based on the limits of his own dimensions and the symmetry of the body (see the video, and show it to your kids if you’d like!).

Then, we worked on two projects: one was a collaboration in the hallway, based on Orrico’s gesture drawings. The other was an individual project where the kids experimented with cut paper, lining up the axis to make symmetrical designs. Hope you enjoy your kids’ work!

Room 3, Kinder, Ms. Lepse

Docent: Gala Bent and Heather Allen

Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Symmetry

Ilya Bolotowsky – Rotation and Balance (of Color & Line)

9 Nov

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I started my lesson with a news article.–abc-news-topstories.html


Rotation -to turn around a central point. Rotating an object does not change it, but does affect our perception of it. Understand the meaning and measure of a quarter rotation (90°), half rotation (180°) and so on. Observe how the visual relationship of the lines and shapes created affect the balance of the finished piece.

Balance – refers to the ways in which the elements (lines, shapes, colors, textures, etc.) of a piece are arranged. Balance can be symmetrical (“formal”), where elements are given equal “weight” from an imaginary line in the middle of a piece. Balance doesn’t necessarily mean symmetry, though. Asymmetrical (“informal”) balance occurs when elements are placed unevenly in a piece, but work together to produce harmony overall.

About the Artist and Print

Born in Russia, immigrated to US in 1923. Bolotowsky was a leading 20th Century painter in abstract styles in New York City. His work embraced cubism and was much influenced by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.He called his round paintings tondos.

In Tondo Variation in Red (1978) a few elements produce a powerful, dynamic impact. The weighty, dark red of the upper half of the painting is supported by horizontal whites that stabilize the composition. An even darker red, vertical plane below, bounded by a slim, straight, blue band, anchors the plane above and balances the composition.


What if I rotated the painting 90°, does it look as balanced? Why or why not? Another 90°?

Would different colors make a difference? Why or why not?

What about if there was no white? Does contrast help create balance?


10” x 10” square white paper
Larger black paper with 9” circle cut from center
Ruler and pencil/eraser
Colored pencils


  • Write name NICELY in pencil in lower right corner of black paper. And set aside.
  • Use ruler and pencil to create a design on white paper. Use horizontal and vertical lines.
  • Try to limit to no more than 15 lines.
  • Find balance with your lines. Vary the thicknesses.
  • Fill in shapes with color. Make sure to include some white lines.
  • Once finished. Place your drawing BEHIND your black paper. Rotate your drawing 90° until you find the composition that shows off the best feeling of balance in your piece. Keep rotating your piece a quarter turn if necessary.
  • Once you have found the best orientation, flip both pieces over and tape the drawing to the backside of the black paper.

Art Docent: Marcie Guthrie
Print/Painting: Tondo Variation in Red (1978)
Room#, Grade, Teacher: Rm. 9, 4th grade, Mrs. Choi
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: LINE and BALANCE

Book Art

6 Nov




this BOOK ART video:

In this lesson we talked about BOOK ART and looked at some examples by artist RYAN COLEMAN. We used cotton balls instead of paint brushes for our background. We used an old book found at the Thrift store. We focused on Line and Space.

Art Docent: Debi Boyette
Lesson Title: Book Art
Room#, Grade, Teacher: B4, Mrs. Vaagsland
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: LINE and SPACE