Friday, October 10, 2014

FIFTH GRADE . . . Learning how to appreciate art

Fifth graders have been bringing their sketchpads into art class. We took turns presenting our drawings with the class and we learned how to talk about each drawing. We were able to point out something specific about the sketch and we could ask the artist questions as well. How amazing would it be to go to a museum and actually ask Vincent van Gogh why he painted swirls in the sky of his "Starry Night!" To be able to ask an artist a question gives us an opportunity to learn and appreciate so much more about the art.

It is not enough just to say you like a picture; we want to know why you like it. When we discuss a drawing in class, these are some of the elements of art we can recognize or talk about:
1. Is the image realistic or abstract?
2. Can you talk about color...  Is it soft, bright, or bold?
3. How was the object shaded?
4. Is there an interesting design or composition on the page?
5. Is there a sense of movement?
6. How does the picture make you feel... Are you happy, sad, calm, nervous?
7. What can you say about the subject of the drawing or even the background?

Here are some of the sketches my students brought in when they were asked to draw their favorite thing in their bedroom.

Sketch by Emily
Emily's origami bird is not only beautifully drawn and recognizable, but the way she shaded the drawing makes us really see the delicate creases in the paper and we instantly understand that it is origami. I was impressed not only with the drawing, but with her ability to fold the paper so perfectly!

Sketch by Cynthia
Cynthia focused on her dresser top and vanity mirror, including her self-portrait in the mirror. I love how intently she is staring at her image as she made her drawing. Self portraits are rarely smiling... you draw what you see in your reflection and while you are working, you often have a very serious expression.

Sketch by Vincent
Vincent drew a sketch of his electric guitar. All the details that he included makes us realize just how well he knows his instrument and how much he was able to tell us about it through his drawing. It almost seems to be waiting for someone to pick it up and start playing music!

Emily, Cynthia and Vincent showed us three very different examples of how you could have completed your sketch and I hope they inspire everyone in 5th grade to draw!

These artists would love to hear from you! Please add your own thoughts and reflections about any of these three drawings in the comments box below...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Faculty Art Show!

How wonderful it must be to be a Ranney student, to travel up through the grades and the divisions, and discover what each of the art teachers can offer you on your creative journey. Ranney School is hosting a faculty art exhibit, now on display in Panther Hall Gallery. The exhibit highlights our own creative styles and reminds students that we are all working artists as well as your art teachers.

My paintings in this art exhibit reflect my own personal creative journey, how I learned how to observe and record my unique vision of reality. When I am immersed in a project, I always have to remind myself to step back every now and then and look at what I have been creating from a different perspective. It might simply be that I have to walk away from a painting and look at it with fresh eyes the next day. Sometimes I take a photo of the canvas with my phone or iPad and see how it looks on a small screen as opposed to real life. Does something need to be a different color? Do my eyes focus on what I want everyone else to notice?  I have learned something from each one that I not only bring as a skill to my next painting, but it becomes something I can share with my students at school. My art classes have never been taught out of a textbook, but out of my own experience as an artist. I am inspired by my students, and hopefully I inspire them. It is vital to me to be a working artist and so important for them.

Having my work on display at school also allows me see my work through the wide eyes of my students who could not believe I painted the adorable beagle or the larger-than-life tennis ball. This opportunity to observe my work from a different viewpoint is just like stepping away from the canvas and taking a look with fresh eyes on a new day. I am, once again, excited to begin a new canvas at home and see what creative ideas I can discover this time!

Please come to school and enjoy the work up in Panther Hall Gallery, now through the middle of next week. From the Middle School, you can also see the detailed architectural studies and wonderful ceramic pieces created by Mrs. McCarthy. In the Upper School, Mrs Shipley's intricate data drawings invite you to step up close and examine the beautiful designs that her visual path of information creates on her canvases. Mr. Sullivan, our new Upper School art teacher, has shared with us his expansive landscapes that seem to be as flat as the canvas they are painted on, but at the same time so full of dimension and space. Those students lucky to have Mrs. Greenberg can see her paper cast images. She gets you to notice the shape of objects in a new light, and her own analysis of her work is quite personal and inspiring. As artists, we complement each other in our department and we bring an amazing breath of knowledge and experience to our students.