Happy belated Halloween and happy early Thanksgiving! We are in the thick of it now, folks! It's almost the end of the year 2017!!!
Did you guys have fun trick or treating??
Last year at this time, I was hanging out in St. Petersburg with friends and handing out candy in the coolest little neighborhood near downtown. But for this year's Halloween? I went to my Social Foundations doctoral seminar at Florida State University and then sat in my reading and writing perch (my bed) the whole night daydreaming about my beautiful elephant friend Wanalee in Thailand and playing with Snapchat filters (the next best thing to being in costume)! This is the only way I can stay sane in between all of the reading and writing I am doing for my doctoral classes coupled with all of the driving and planning and teaching happening at Brookwood. It's a lot, you guys!
But just look at all of the fabulous Lower School faculty I get to see everyday at Brookwood!! I am sharing the photo below because I know my mom--a former school teacher--would love to see all of the people I work with . . . She totally gets into this stuff! Plus, I recently did an interview with her about all of her teaching experience that I will feature on this blog in December. So be on the look out for that very soon! It'll be fun! Anyhow, it's been awesome getting to know everyone at Brookwood over the past several months. Aren't we a rainbow-y bunch?
But I digress . . . On to the big show! Er, SHOWS! Since last you saw, our wonderfully creative young people have participated in two mostly schoolwide art shows.
Our first show was at the Deep South County Fair. In true fair spirit, I stopped by one evening to check out our students' work and take pictures during the event, and I got to enjoy a fabulous corndog! This is the first fair that I have been to in a long time where I didn't ride any of the rides. The last fair I went to was in Switzerland in 2015, and the rides had me grinning from ear to ear. Maybe next year there will be time for me to take a spin on the Ferris wheel! It was awesome to see my students' work being enjoyed by the fair-goers, though. We had quite a few honorarium winners. Congrats to all of our students for their hard work in putting on such a great show! Check out the winners below . . .
Julianne Richardson (Honorable Mention)
Ben Burrus (First Place)
Grant Green (Third Place)
John Flowers (Honorable Mention)
Colt Dunham (First Place)
Brennan White (Third Place)
Reagan Burrus (First Place)
Rhett Smith (Second Place)
Catherine Stewart (Third Place)
Ben Watts (First Place in Mixed Media)
Hannah Faith Hawkins (First Place in Watercolor)
Pearson Taylor (Second Place)
We also had our yearly exhibition at the Thomasville Center for the Arts. Our theme this year centered around German and Russian Expressionism, and the Blue Rider artists, so we called our show The Blue Rider Art Show. The students looked at and responded to artwork created by Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, and more. The work looked wonderful and exciting in the gallery space. If you were not able to attend our awesome opening reception (complete with German food and students--one of them from Germany--in traditional dress), I have made a short video of the show for you to see! Isn't it a marvelous exhibition?!
We are thinking about next year's exhibition to be inspired by Wayne Thiebaud!! Just imagine how wonderful that would be!! Cakes! Confections! Candy-colored goodness! Love, love! YES, PLEASE!!!
To learn more about The Blue Rider artist group, please see the video below. Fascinating!
And so here we are already prepping for Thanksgiving! My lovely kindergarteners and I went into a brief panic mode, everyone making the Home Alone face . . .
But seriously, folks. We've got the Thanksgiving feast under control! I promise! Our first order of business is outfitting a giant pair of wings for families to take pictures in front of pre-and-post feast. The set of wings pictured below was created by Cassie Stephen's wonderful students in Nashville.
But you can see how the feathers for our wings are starting to shape up, below. Each Lower School student designed and painted two feathers, one for the left and one for the right. I am putting the wings together now, and they are awesome! I can't wait for everyone to see them during our Thanksgiving feast on Friday!
And here's a quick breakdown by grade level of how things have been going during art classes . . .
Junior Kindergarten students analyzed concentric circles painted by Wassily Kandinsky before creating their own. Kandinsky (1866 - 1944) was a pioneer for abstract modern art. His paintings created an aesthetic experience that engaged the sight, sound, and emotions of the public. Junior Kindergarten students first drew circles in varying shapes and sizes with oil pastels. Then they filled in each of their circles with a different color of tempera paint.
And we are still working on our rainbow people, y'all! We added green to our persons and even drew turtles to help us grasp this secondary color! Blue and yellow makes whaaaaaaaaaaaat?! GREEN!
The grades that I saw on October 30th and 31st worked on Halloween inspired projects, and Junior Kindergarten was one of those grades. Using the perfectly round end of a hot glue stick, the eraser ends of brand new pencils, and thinned out black paint, we created polka dotted pumpkins inspired by Yayoi Kusama. You can learn more about her obsession with dots, below. She's amazing!
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Kindergarten students studied a variety of floral still life artworks by Gabriele Münter, a female expressionist painter. Münter (1877 – 1962) was a German artist who was at the forefront of the Munich avant-garde in the early 20th century. A student of the painter Wassily Kandinsky, she was a founding member of the expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter. My kindergarten artists began their works by drawing out their piece with pencil and black Sharpie, then they blocked in their color with woodless colored pencils and paint, and they finished off their pieces by outlining their still life artworks with black oil pastel.
Kindergarten also got to participate in a Halloween-inspired project. Our Spooky Starry Nights were created with Van Gogh's Starry Night in mind. We watched this video to learn how to make swirly, bright backgrounds out of oil pastels and tempera cakes and silhouettes of ghosts, haunted houses, cats, and pumpkins out of paper!
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Grade 1 students analyzed several paintings by Franz Marc before designing their own blue horse. Marc (1880 - 1916) was a German painter and printmaker who is known for the intense mysticism of his paintings of animals. He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (“The Blue Rider”), an association of German Expressionist artists. Grade 1 artists first drew out all of the parts and pieces of their horses with pencil and black Sharpie, then they blocked in color with watercolor and woodless colored pencils, and finally they cut and assembled their horses.
To get into the fall spirit, Grade 1 students drew hayrides and worked *for days* on letters for our Thanksgiving feast. I think our letters spell out, Happy! and Thanks! and Love! We shall see for sure next Friday! These kiddos were the first ones to finish their feathers for our wings! We also have some magical owls hanging in the hallway for all to see!
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Grade 2 students followed in the footsteps of the great expressionist Alexej von Jawlensky, a Russian painter and member of The Blue Rider group. Jawlensky (1864-1941) was one of the important contributors to the expressionist movement in painting, to which he added a meditative component of unique power. Each Grade 2 class modeled their work after one of Jawlensky's paintings. On large brown paper, the students first drew out their portrait with a large black crayon, then blocked in color with woodless colored pencils and paint, and finished off their work by outlining the portrait in black oil pastel.
We celebrated Halloween a bit early in the month, drawing Haunted Houses with Mr. Rob. And then I let Grade 2 choose their own adventure. My students love "Free Make" days. They can make anything they want using materials they can reach. Sometimes the students want to do drawing videos (like you see in the foreground of the image below), sometimes they work in groups to create something bigger (one group made a big plane out of a cardboard box), and sometimes they just want to draw and color and paint. It's their choice, which fully ignites their creative and critical thinking skills!
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Grade 3 students studied a variety of landscape artworks by Gabriele Münter, a female expressionist painter. Münter (1877 – 1962) was a German artist who was at the forefront of the Munich avant-garde in the early 20th century. A student of the painter Wassily Kandinsky, she was a founding member of the expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter. For this project, each Grade 3 class divided up sections of one landscape painting to collaborate on a larger finished work. They began their works by drawing out their individual piece with pencil, then they blocked in their color with woodless colored pencils and paint, they combined all of their paintings to assess the larger finished work, and then they finished off their pieces by outlining their landscape with black oil pastel before attaching the pieces as one large finished painting.
Grade 3 also did some magnificent peacock drawings to go with our owls in the hallway, just outside of my classroom. And, just wait until you see their little Thankful Hedgehog and Gratitude Squirrel banners that we will display for our Thanksgiving feast. Totally adorbs!
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Grade 4 students analyzed several paintings by Franz Marc before designing a collaborative blue horse sculpture. Marc (1880 - 1916) was a German painter and printmaker who is known for the intense mysticism of his paintings of animals. He was a founding member of Der Blaue Reiter (“The Blue Rider”), an association of German Expressionist artists. Built in collaboration with the Upper School art students, Grade 4 artists drew out a horse design with a partner before traveling over to the Upper School to add finishing touches to the large paper mache horses.
Needless to say, my lovely Grade 4's may have come home looking like members of the Blue Man Group after finishing this project. It was an exciting experience to say the least!
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Grade 5 students studied a variety of landscape artworks by Gabriele Münter, a female expressionist painter. Münter (1877 – 1962) was a German artist who was at the forefront of the Munich avant-garde in the early 20th century. A student of the painter Wassily Kandinsky, she was a founding member of the expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter. For this project, Grade 5 students deconstructed and enlarged one of her artworks and painted it in parts before installing it as a finished mural in the gallery.
Parents, teachers, humans on the planet: this was my favorite project displayed in the gallery. I know I probably shouldn't have favorites, but the conceptual and process-oriented nature of this piece just excited me right down to my bones! I can't wait to try another one of these deconstructed and puzzle-y type projects. Yeehaw!
I also received two personalized pieces for the classroom from my Grade 5's. Pearson made me a Declaration of Art for the classroom. It really is the best thing on the planet!! And Ms. Diya painted a dolphin picture and let me display it in the classroom for a short while. Isn't it wonderful??
To go with the peacocks and owls in the hallways, my lovely Grade 5's drew toucans. We watched lots and lots of toucan videos for inspiration!!
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Grade 6 students studied a variety of artworks by Gabriele Münter, a female expressionist painter. Münter (1877 – 1962) was a German artist who was at the forefront of the Munich avant-garde in the early 20th century. A student of the painter Wassily Kandinsky, she was a founding member of the expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter. For this project, Grade 6 students riffed on the word expressionism to think about contemporary forms of expression. Each student created a flat vase out of low fire clay featuring their emoji of choice. Emojis are any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communication (as in text messages, e-mail, and social media) to express the emotional attitude.
There has been a lot of work being done by my Grade 6 students over the past 6 or so weeks. Machines, I tell you! They thoroughly studied ancient armor and created inspired costuming in teams. I loved this project so much and was thrilled when the end result of their outfits looked more like the 80's movie version of Tron.
We worked with our IT guru Mrs. Burrus and the green screen to create pictures of the students in their finished armor for them to digitally place in a background of their choosing.
The students also showed their finished works to the Junior Kindergarten classrooms and spoke to them about their process.
Below are a few of the finished digital images. Aren't they awesome??
Since I only see Grade 6 students for three, 12-week rotations, our last day was filled with cookie cakes, ice cream, and playground time. Art party for the win!!
Then, almost magically, I got a whole new batch of Grade 6 students on October 31st. Our first day was filled with Halloween fun and mask making. And every day since then, they have been cranking out the work! I love these new students!
Their first assignment was to decorate the cover of their sketchbooks and create a double-page spread inside their sketchbook themed in identity. We watched two videos, like the one above, by my professor at FSU to wrap our heads around visual journaling.
Then, they started on their self-portrait projects. They had to choose a movie to put themselves in. I am sharing two works-in-progress here: Yoda and Elliot from ET. These are really turning out amazingly. I can't wait to see them finished!!
They also made about 25 Native American Talking Sticks for our Thanksgiving feast. I am keeping these a surprise, as I am completely in love with them and can't wait for you to see them! You can learn more about Talking Sticks below.
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I also wanted to let everyone know that I will be moving to Thomasville in early December (insert crazy face emoji). I am very excited about this move!! I will have a studio space where I will be making art and sewing fun banners like the ones pictured here and below.
Sir Rigby is also very excited about this move as he is extremely tired of being woken up every morning at 5:15am so that I can get ready to make the hour-long drive to Thomasville. Regardless of the face he is making below, he is an extremely friendly cat and can't wait to meet you guys!! Stop over for a visit in the new year!
Look for another update on our art class making in early February! In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and winter holiday season! To a happy and joyous 2018!!