Monday, January 26, 2015

Installation Art- Rethinking the Classics

I think we've all done the classic Giacometti project where students create a wire armature in some sort of pose. We do these projects because a.) there a good stand-by that we know work and b.) because we understand the importance of the lesson! If you're like me, however, you get a little tired of the same old projects and want a good way to keep the lesson intact but boost the complexity a little bit. Here's what I did to try and re-invent the wheel...

I started with the classic inspiration, Giacometti, then through a little this and a little that to get this really fun installation project.

We started our lesson learning about installation art and how artist often use the "idea" of the human body as a way of representing a collective of everyone. 

Artist Nele Azebedo 

I also tied in this great sculpture by Do-Ho Suh to show students the power of an installation project and how we all needed to work together to be successful. 

Along with the classic lessons of armature, we focused on how installation art expresses a message. The message, "What does the 8th grade class want to work toward before high school?"

We had a really great discussion and came up with five words we all could agree on; Identity, Wisdom, Independence, Success and Creativity. 

Students were allowed to work alone or in groups on their sculptures. We talked about how the words/images they added to their sculptures should reflect what they could add to help the 8th grade class reach their goal. We also discussed how the position of their sculpture could suggest how they feel their journey is going so far. 

This student is "falling" from the installation.

These two students saw the power in help each other reach the goal

These lovely sculptures are climbing the wall for a really fun 3-Dimensional quality. 

Hope you enjoyed our project and perhaps have some new ideas to spice up some of the classic projects we all find ourselves doing over and over again

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Liebster Award: Discover New Blogs!

I am so honored to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by my very best friend Kelsey from The Artsy Fartsy Art Room.  For those of you not familiar with with Liebster Award, it is a blogging award for blogs that are up and coming and have potential for more amazingness then they already have!

Here are my answers to the 10 questions ask of each nominee.

1.  Why did you start your blog?
I started blogging last year after the NAEA conference. I had the most wonderful time with my lovely Kelsey and when she suggested we attend Mr. E's session on blogging I thought, "let's do it"! During the presentation, Mr. E mentioned that there was a lack of middle school blogs. With a little push from my nominator, I jumped on the bandwagon. 

2.  What excites you about being an art educator?
Is everything an acceptable answer? I am convinced, as most art educators are, that I have THE best job in the entire world. Each day comes with new challenges and that is precisely what I enjoy. My students are what keep me going. They inspire me everyday and working with them has brought such life back into my own art creating. 

3.  What do you talk about on your blog?
I designed my blog to talk about two things; art and theater (since I teach both). I haven't quite found the best way to blog about theater, so right now I am focusing on my forte which is art. I mostly share project lessons that I have created or been inspired by. I feel my projects are a twist on some of the classics. 

4.  Why do you think connecting with other bloggers is important?
Bloggers are the most generous people in the art community. They are already sharing their daily lives as art educators and at the drop of a hat they are willing to answer questions and give suggestions. 

5.  Have you met any other bloggers in person?
My bestie is a blogger and a killer one at that! I've also shook hands with a few of the big names at the AOE booth at last years NAEA convention. I was naive to who I was meeting but I know Kelsey was freaking out, so I know they rock!

6.  Where do you think your blog will be in 2 years?
Hopefully in 2 years I will have figured out the theater piece. I have so many idea, I just need to start sorting them out! I also hope to have reached more people. I still small in the world of blogging and that okay for me right now.

7.  What do you do best?
I feel what I do best is push my students. I expect a VERY high quality product out of my students. I know what each of them is capable of and they know I know when they are not doing not only just their best but better than before. Growth! I want growth!

8.  How much time do you devote to your blog?
I don't post every week as of now, but I am always thinking of my blog. I take tons of pictures that sometimes it takes too long to sort through them all. I like every step of the project so there's lots to do. I would say at least an hour a week is spent blogging in some way or another.

9.  How do you create your posts?
I create my post centered around examples. I find myself browsing through blogs looking mostly at pictures. If my readers are like me they like the element of surprise. I find it most fun to just use an image as an inspiration and then find the process of making the project through deconstruction/creativity. I steal inspiration but not lesson plans. This is why I don't post full lesson plans too often. 

10.  What wishes do you have for your readers?
I just hope my readers are inspired by my post. Cliche sounding I know, but I think that's what all blogger want. We want to share our ideas because we think there is something to gain not only in the process of reflecting through blog writing but also for the readers. I hope the reaction my readers have is, "MUST TRY!" or "Hmm I'd change this or that". Either way inspiration is happening and it's a beautiful thing. 

Here's the part of the post where I am suppose to nominate some new blogs but I think the boat stops here a little bit. Most of the blogs I follow are well established or already have this award. I would like to take a little time to thank some of my the blogs that inspire me the most. 

Of course I must start with the lady this all started with... Ms. Kelsey Lapin. Thank you for being the monkey on my back that keeps me alive in the blogisphere. You are the best pal a gal could have and I'm so blessed to have you in my life. 

Thank you Apex High School for keeping it so real. Your blog inspires me to prepare my students for this level of amazingness in high school! 

Thank you Becker Middle School. You're fighting the good fight with the rest of us middle school teachers and still your students are producing beautiful art! Plus we're state neighbors!

Thank you ART side! You've got so many fantastic project and I'll be honest...I steal from you regularly. I just love your quick lessons that get the students out of their seats and into the hallways. You are bold beyond belief...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Realism to Abstract

We've all been there...a fresh group of students and a desire to find out what their skill level is. Sometimes I'll go right for clay, but most of the time I find starting with a drawing project really let's me see just where all my student's capabilities falls. Composition, shading, line quality, etc. All important parts of creating and a good foundation for moving into more complicated materials. 

My 6th graders come fresh from the elementary schools ready to create and full of energy. This project is not necessarily innovative but the students really enjoyed showing off their skills both observational and creative. 

We started by learning how to draw from reference (NO GRIDS ALLOWED!!!). I teach measuring, finding angles and part-to-whole contour for drawing. We also learned how to use a reference as inspiration for graphic/abstract artworks. Finally a little shading demo in both pencil and colored pencil made for this fantastic project. 

I present realism to abstract....

Students also studied various artists that work in different levels or realism. The three biggest were Chuck Close, Picasso and Kandinsky. 

I was very happy with how most of these projects turned out. It definitely posed a challenge for my students in time management. I discussed each techniques every few days as a reminder but students were able to bounce from drawing to drawing as they chose. 

Hope you enjoyed!

Another Year in Sketches

It's my new year's resolution to get back into blogging. I feel like this school year is really kicking my butt, but my spirits are high and I am ready to blog.

At the beginning of my blog I posted the first year of my daily sketches. I am so proud of myself for keeping with it and completing another year. With 2014, I challenged myself to do larger sketches instead of putting a whole month on a two page spread.

Here is my year through sketches...

I'm very happy that I have inspired a few people to start doing this. It is incredibly rewarding and a great way to keep you sane in the hectic life of being a teacher. There are even a few gen-ed teachers who are giving it a try at my school. Now that December is finished, I have completed the ENTIRE sketchbook. Luckily I got a new one for Christmas. The before and after is quite dramatic!