Students learned how to draw trees in a more realistic way and discovered that by varying their size and position, they could create the illusion of depth in their landscape compositions. Concepts of foreground, middle ground, and background were illustrated by the three trees each student drew, and as they added more to their drawings, they needed to remember to size everything accordingly. The results proved that artists have “tricks” they use to make their art appear dimensional and more realistic. Now whenever they draw, these young kindergarten artists will be able to use their new-found knowledge and add depth to their work.
Students learned how to hold and use rulers as a tool for making straight lines. They found that by intersecting these lines, they created geometric shapes. Using bright colors, they worked at coloring each shape so that no two connecting shapes shared the same color. This required careful planning and concentration as students filled their beautiful compositions, reminiscent of stained glass windows.
Inspired by Van Gogh’s sunflower still life paintings, students learned to draw several kinds of realistic flowers. After adding watercolor, they cut wallpaper to create tablecloths, establishing foreground and background. They cut symmetrical vases by folding another piece of wallpaper and glued on their flowers, arranging them to form beautiful bouquets.
Under the Sea
As they learned new ways to draw fish and sea creatures, students composed underwater scenes by drawing on Styrofoam sheets. By rolling blue, green and purple ink over their drawings and putting them through a printing press, they were able to experience the “magic” of creating a block print of their images to look as if their characters were swimming “under the sea.”
Up, Up and Away…
Students learned to draw flying birds after examining real photographs to determine which type of bird they would draw. After coloring with markers, the birds were cut out and glued onto beautiful blue skies, made with a watercolor wash. They look as if they are soaring off into the wild blue yonder!
How Our Bodies Move
After a lesson on drawing well-proportioned bodies, students examined the way their own bodies bend at specific joints while moving. After cutting at these points, their figures were reassembled and glued onto a watercolor background, showing movement. When additional details were added in colored pencil, their drawings began dancing, walking, and playing just like real people!
Inspired by a presentation showing cityscapes of well-known cities, students saw how skyscrapers of various shapes and sizes overlap, windows and building details vary, and how the sky can be seen between the structures. Using black paper and white pencils, students designed cityscapes based on actual photographs of our own Los Angeles city skyline. They used various lines to delineate buildings from each other, as well as window details. Then, colorful radiating concentric circles in color families of oil pastel were added as sky, providing a striking contrast to the black cut paper cityscapes.
Look At That!
Inspired from a recent social studies unit, students learned how to draw their favorite U.S. monuments. Using glitter and metallic glues, they created explosive fireworks in the background, then posed as if they were watching the exciting scene!
After reading a wonderful book, The Dot, written by Peter H. Reynolds, about a young girl who comes to believe in her art skills, 2nd graders created their own artistic “dots” from stickers and paper. They proved to themselves, as the girl they had read about, that anything can be art and anyone can be an artist!
On the heels of the Summer 2016 Olympics, students were excited to create silhouettes from black paper showing Olympic contenders pushing themselves to extremes as they compete in their favorite sports. Inspiration came from actual photographs taken from newspapers showing athletes in moments of physical endurance, as they positioned their athletes to show their strength. What better background to contrast with the figures than an assortment of flags from all over the world! Don’t these Olympic athletes look as if they deserve a gold medal or two?
With an emotion in mind, students drew expressive faces over three pieces of paper. The color wheel is comprised of two spectrums of color – cool (blues, greens, violets) and warm (reds, yellows, oranges). After outlining in permanent marker, they chose two of their three pieces to paint using watercolors in either warm or cool colors. The third piece was then painted in the opposite color scheme. When the three pieces were put back together, the alternating color combinations made the faces more interesting and gave students an opportunity to make effective choices when working with color.
Chinese Rice Bowls
Chinese New Year was celebrated in style this year in 2nd grade. Students learned to make ceramic bowls using the pinch-pot method, and then decorated them in traditional Chinese blue and white designs. We had an exciting New Year’s party as we ate sticky steamed rice from our new rice bowls, complete with soy sauce and chopsticks. We learned about Chinese customs, food, art and traditional New Year preparations as we enjoyed our festive meal!
As students prepared for their Hero Museum, they explored the qualities that a hero might display. When they created these masks, they chose their materials based on the personality they envisioned for their hero. Considering color, texture and symbolism, these Hero Masks took shape. The resulting stories show how art and literary skills can come together, as students describe their imaginary heroes through words as well as their artistic choices.
Abstract Glue Designs
Following a TED talk shown to students about “How it takes courage to be creative”, they were given the opportunity to create abstract compositions using glue. As students were reminded that “There are no mistakes in art”, they courageously and creatively dripped the glue over black cardboard to form abstract designs. When the glue had dried, they added chalk pastel in order to create the effects they desired. Every student was amazed that their courage had paid off and every piece had turned out successfully.
Mandalas are examples of rotational symmetry and are found in many cultures to have healing qualities due to their structure. Students experimented with diagonal symmetry, whereby diagonal quarters had to be matched with mirroring designs, inverted towards the center of the mandala. Challenging their design skills, they created these magical mandalas by gluing colorful shapes onto bamboo (recycled) plates. The end results were worth all the planning that went into them, as you can see!
A tessellation is a puzzle-like pattern made up of a shape that is repeated over and over again without any gaps or overlaps. Students were introduced to the work of M.C. Escher, who used intricate tessellations in his artwork. They each chose an animal stencil and proceeded to twist and turn and fit each tracing together to form a tessellation. The thought process involved was challenging, but rewarding. When the tessellation was complete, students chose color patterns to fill them in. The results proved to all that their hard work was well rewarded.
Museums in Our Community
We are fortunate to live in Los Angeles, a cultural community that is home to many world-class museums. Students each chose one museum to explore online and in many cases, in person, to familiarize themselves with the unique personality of each institution. These replicas represent three aspects of each museum: portrait, landscape and sculpture. Students were inspired by introductions to artists who worked in various media and created pieces that further represented their chosen museum.
Ceramic Kiddush Cups
These beautiful Kiddush cups were made using two different ceramic techniques. The pinch-pot method was used to make the bowl of the cup and the stem and base were hand-built and scored together. Each cup was glazed and fired, resulting in an original Judaic ceremonial object, which will be used each Friday night for many years to come. They can also be used at the Pesach Seder to fill with wine and wait for Elijah to come…L’chaim!
Following a TED talk shown to students about “How it takes courage to be creative”, they were given the opportunity to create compositions from circles and lines. Students were told that they would be the artists, so it would be up to them to decide when their compositions would be considered “finished.” Working with permanent markers, they proved to themselves that any “mistakes” could be “fixed” and should be considered as creative opportunities. By adding areas of black, they discovered that contrast could be used to heighten the interest of their compositions, creating balance, asymmetry, or rhythm. As every composition was hung on the art room wall, students were amazed at the variety and talent that they possessed. As they evaluated their work through a critical discussion, they started understanding why they were drawn to certain compositions, a pre-cursor to understanding the aesthetics of art.
The powerful mandala is found in many cultures and is a symbol of wholeness, well-being and good fortune. After following standard mathematical rotational symmetry, they tapped into their knowledge of cultural design, inspired by Native American Dream Catchers, Mexican Ojos de Dios, and Kaleidoscopes, creating these unique and colorful wooden multi-media mandalas. With so many exciting choices, no two came out the same – just like our special 4th graders!
Looking at the World from Above
Perspective allows an artist to look at the world from a different point of view. These drawings employ the technique of fore-shortening, which makes the figures appear to be falling. Students were asked to come up with imaginative scenarios and added details in the background, along with expressive qualities to tell their stories without relying on words or captions. Chalk pastel blurred backgrounds and sharper marker in the foreground added to the illusion.
Colonial Craft Combinations
As students studied about life in the colonies in social studies this year, they learned that colonial crafts were an important part of the culture and daily lives of the colonists. These tin punch frames were inspired by the intricate designs originally made by hammering nails into tin can pieces. The art of quilting started as a way to use leftover scraps of material to make blankets for needy families, providing a social event for women and children during the winter months. These unique compositions provided an opportunity for students to experiment with both of these traditional colonial crafts.
Design Unit – Technology & Art
Our beautiful Tyberg Innovation Lab provides the unique opportunity to teach units that combine both Technology and Art. This year, 5th grade students had the opportunity to become Innovative Designers as Ms. Hoffman and Mrs. Navah introduced them to the World of Design. The Five Phases of Design Thinking (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test) guided the course, in which students designed backpack, desk, and locker organizational systems. Students conducted Empathy Interviews with their classmates to get ideas about what they needed to be organized. After writing down important points on post-it notes, they used iPads to take pictures that can be organized into categories. They used this information to come up with individual ideas for their product. They then developed slide show presentations that included an executive summary, a graph showing projected sales over time, an organizational chart showing how who will be running their company and the chain of command, and a slogan for their product. After presenting their slide shows, they were grouped into “companies” to pool their ideas and come up with their product. They made thumbnail sketches in their design notebooks, consolidated ideas through group discussions, and created prototypes to test out and pitch to “investors.” Finally, they designed a story board and created a short video presentation to show to “The Sharks.”
These beautiful Hanukkiot were made using two different ceramic techniques. Students used the slab method to roll out the body, and then decorative pieces were scored on to the Hanukkiot. Some students turned their Hannukiot into unusual animals and objects. Each Hanukkia was glazed and fired, and will now be sent home to be lit each night of Hanukkah together with their families…may they bring years of enjoyment on this special holiday!
Everyone has their own personality traits which make them the unique individuals that they are proud to be. Sixth graders were asked to show their personalities through expressive poses. The resulting photographs were hidden underneath a sheet of vellum, showing through just enough so that they could enhance their portraits using colors, lines, and images in marker and colored pencil, reflecting the personality trait they had chosen to identify. The words inside their mouths give a clue to the students disguised in these unusual self-portraits.
Etch-a-Sketch portrait artist Christophe Brown visited 6th graders to talk about their recent portrait project. Referring to aspects of drawing a portrait, such as likeness, proportion, and color as ways to convey personality, students watched a slide show featuring many portraits done on the Etch-a-Sketch. After the “Etch-man’s” informative presentation, they got a chance to try it out, finding that it was a challenging art form! A few lucky students were chosen as models while Christophe displayed his unique talents. This real-life experience made their exciting portrait unit even more meaningful!
These days, a t-shirt is much more than an article of clothing; it serves as a walking billboard for the wearer’s likes and dislikes, personal thoughts, and says something about who they are. Sixth graders designed t-shirts around themes of “Respect” by looking at real t-shirt designs, considering font style, scale, color, contrast and slogans that expressed their own personal feelings. Some students are considering submitting their designs to online websites that will actually print their ideas on real t-shirts so they can wear them with pride!
Inspired by the work of Wayne Thiebaud, who paints from his childhood memories of time spent longingly staring through bakery windows, each student fashioned a slice of cake, cookie, doughnut or cupcake from clay. After glazing and firing, they decorated plates to complement their pieces. Finally, they set up and drew still life renditions of their yummy creations.