Friday, January 22, 2016

FIRST GRADE . . . A snowy scene

Landscape by Tyler
Our first grade landscapes feature watercolor birch trees, and just like the rest of New Jersey, they are covered in snow!

Birch trees have a very characteristic bark, very similar in appearance to the trees in Tyler's painting above. A birch is a medium sized tree that can reach up to 50 feet in height and can live to be 200 years old. The deep ridges in our trees are typical of an older birch tree. The seeds and the bark provide food for forest animals, such as rabbits, deer and birds. Wood from the birch tree can be used to make canoes, basketball courts, toys, furniture and paper!

Armaan's landscape with the tape removed
To create our landscapes, we used an old painter's trick. After drawing a ground line across the page, first graders placed strips of masking tape on their paper. These strips represented the trees and the tape protected the white bark of the trees from getting covered with watercolor paints. Then we painted a sky using brilliant blues, reds, greens and yellows.

When the paint set, the strips of tape were peeled off the paper. Using a Sharpie marker, students drew the deep ridges of the birch tree bark. With test paper and more watercolors, we "watered" down some black paint to create just the right shade for the shadow along the bark of each tree. With another color, we cast a shadow over the snowy ground.

Here are some more examples of our beautiful winter landscapes. To see all of our work, follow this link to our home page of Artsonia!

Landscape by Adella
Landscape by Brooks

Landscape by Lexi M.

Landscape by Kyra

FIRST GRADE . . . We are weavers!

Weaving by Joy

First Graders learned how to weave with yarn on a handmade loom. This is a project that celebrates the art and culture of the Native Americans and teaches us a wonderful technique using patterns. Our finished woven designs hang from twigs that students found outside.

Our handmade looms were created out of the cardboard base from water bottle trays and we recycle these looms every year. Six slits are cut into both ends of the cardboard and yarn is strung from top to bottom creating the warp (or vertical) strings of the loom.

Next students choose a color of yarn to weave with. We learned how to measure the yarn against a table edge by working in pairs with our friends. One student holds the end of the yarn against the end of the table and the other student unrolls the yarn to match the length of the table and cuts it off.

To weave with our colored yarns, we learned how to follow a pattern of "Over, Under, Over, Under, Over, Under." Not only is the process of weaving a pattern, but we can also create a pattern by alternating our colors of yarn.

Here are some examples of our completed woven designs. To see all of our work, follow this link to our home page of Artsonia!  

Weaving by Mia G.
Weaving by Vincent

Weaving by Claire

Weaving by Crystal

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

FIFTH GRADE . . . Designing a stamp

Fifth grade artists honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. by designing a postage stamp in his memory. In this video, you can see how we describe our drawings and offer an artist statement to our friends in class.